Thanks for taking time out to answer a few questions Grant. I lived in your beautiful New Zealand for about six months, where in the country are you from?
I grew up in an impoverished city neighbourhood located on the east coast of Gisborne. I then moved to a rural community, deep inland. The good thing about living in financial hardship is that it teaches you how to be self-sufficient. Worrying about the means to live is not healthy for a developing child though, but it did help me to see that life requires constant planning for the future. The bad side of such an upbringing is the developmental consequences. Growing up without security has made me more of an anxious person, when compared with my peers.
Were there things growing up that still influences your writing now?
Of course. I have been clinically diagnosed with anxiety and depression as a result of my turbulent upbringing. This is why most of my stories are rooted in the mental realities of my characters. I create a situation where the character must reconcile their inner psychological life with their societal adversaries. Battling insecurity and discovering solutions is what I attempt to do with my fiction.
Can you remember writing down your first structured words at school?
Yes. The first story I ever structured in high school was called, The Glasgow Chronicle. It was about a farm I used to live on; Glasgow Station. The story was a cameo about how I was involved in the euthanasing of a pet dog we had on the farm. The dog's name was Bow. He was a sociable Labrador that had succumbed to a parasitic infection. Because he was terminally ill, I killed him to end the suffering. I love animals, but the fact that I disobeyed my conscience for the sake of an animal bond truly affected me; it made me question myself morally. Was I a good person? Did I do the right thing? Is there a God that will punish me for what I've done? Will some form of karma be exacted upon me in the future? These questions baffled me as a high-school student, and it made me realise just how unexplored humans can be internally.
Did you have a love of words back then?
Absolutely. I have always loved language. Especially words. Learning new words, and ways of structuring sentences is an ongoing passion which has developed to the point that I am now writing all the time. I don't write fiction constantly though; I mostly dabble in social media, blogging and political commentaries. I work an office job that requires thousands of words a day, so writing is quickly becoming my life. I only write fiction when I want to channel all that I have learnt into one coherent idea. Or I write to express a point of view that I feel is neglected by much of humanity.
Did you go to University?
Yes. I graduated at the University of Otago, in 2016. I had studied anatomy for several years, but my passion for human consciousness encouraged me to pursue a career in psychology instead. I have a degree in psychology, and a minor qualification in criminology. I intend to complete postgraduate study in the near future.
Tell me about the projects you are working on at the moment.
At the moment, I am just gathering material. I'm trying immerse myself in different experiences, so that I can actually have something to write about. My current project is to learn, research, and observe the world around me.
What really inspires you?
I love writing about the human mind, and how sophisticated human consciousness truly is. Much of what I write touches on psycho-philosophical themes; writing helps me to discover, it helps me to see the weaknesses of my own personality, and the absurdities of reality that humans take for granted. I write because I want to know if there is an underlying truth to life, and if so. I want to find out what it is.
Do you have a particular writing location?
My room. Being isolated from the world is a productive location for me.
Name your THREE most favourite books and why.
1. After Dark, by Haruki Murakami. I loved how simple and fluent this book was.
2. The Critique Of Reason, by Immanuel Kant. Absolutely mind-blowing concepts.
3. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, by Phillip K. Dick. Poses troubling questions about the human condition.
Lastly... what does writing MEAN to you?
Writing is a necessity for me, personally. It's almost an addiction. If I can't let out these ideas that circulate around my mind, I find that I get neurotic. My anxiety worsens, and my moods can deteriorate to the point that I am utterly anti social. Without writing, my entire brain would dissolve in the acids of contemplation.
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