About the Author
At the age of 12, author Graham Sharpe regularly danced around the lounge to Kate Bush's “Wuthering Heights.” Today, he still hasn't decided what he'll do when he grows up. So far, the East Sussex, England-based writer has worked in an ice cream shop, trained as a hairdresser, studied sociology and psychology, written for and performed with a touring theatre company, and backpacked across far-flung countries with loose change in his pocket. Graham now combines travelling with writing and he completed his first novel, Purple, during the sleepless, jet-lagged hours spent in hotel rooms around the world.
by Graham J. Sharpe
Any good author knows that a successful book begins and ends with well-developed characters. While writing Purple and creating the different personalities, I hoped each of them would, in some way, represent the major themes in the book. It took me five years to write Purple and by the end I really felt as if each character reflected myself in some way.
Underneath our own colour and our own skin we’re all the same. When I was young I was bullied because I’m gay, and it’s an experience I’ve never forgotten. I incorporated bullying into Purple through one of the main teenage characters. His name is Marty and he’s made fun of because he’s black and has
an American accent.
Being bullied is an embarrassing thing to talk about, because no one wants categorize themselves as a victim. Unfortunately, whether it’s physical, verbal, or mental, bullying happens to a lot of people, and I thought it would be easier for readers to identify with a character in a similar situation. Marty represents an important element of the story and I definitely feel an affinity with his struggles.
Another major theme I wanted to touch on in the book was the generation gap between the young and the old. My personal opinion is that we’re very bad at looking after our elderly, especially in the western world. Thanks to my job as a flight attendant, I’ve traveled to more countries than I can count and I’m impressed with the way other cultures value their senior citizens. My partner’s mom lives with us and I always try to remind myself to sit down and take time to talk to her. Every time I do I learn something different. It’s inevitable that these conversations help to shape some of the characters I write.
In the novel, a purple storm circles the planet in minutes and steals everyone between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five. Having a society with just the young and the old created an opportunity for some unexpected relationships to develop, and they were great fun to write. There’s an elderly character in the book called Mr. Rupert, he works as a hairdresser, and he’s survived unimaginably difficult times. Eventually, he and Marty become great friends because they can relate to each other’s bad life experiences. You’ll hear a lot of people say, “Oh, old people don’t know anything,” but I hope those who read Purple will begin to see our senior citizens in a different light.
I don’t think that I could pick a favorite character in Purple. They’re all so unique with their own stories to share and lessons to teach. I wanted each character to be real, down to earth and accessible, and I think that I’ve achieved that. In the next book, I’m looking forward to developing the characters even further and I can’t wait to discover what happens to them next.
About the Book
Purple is a fantasy adventure set in modern-day London. After a purple storm sweeps around planet Earth, stealing millions of people, four teenagers struggle to make it alone. Drawn together by a series of bizarre coincidences they soon find themselves entangled with a bunch of interfering pensioners. Among the cast of players are flamboyant hairdresser Mr. Rupert, Pearl the loud-mouthed tea lady, and June, a psychic, who travels the world on her motorbike.