Bruce Graham shares a little of the novel he is currently writing.
Bruce Graham wears many hats.
He’s from Parrsboro, he was a journalist and anchorman for 40 years, he writes fiction and nonfiction, he currently lives in Amherst, and he’s also an all-around good guy.
“I asked him to come in and read because people like Bruce Graham,” said Denise Corey, chief librarian with Cumberland Public Libraries.
Graham was at the Four Fathers Library in Amherst on Oct. 25, where he read from an untitled novel he’s currently writing, and, also, to provide insights into the novel-writing process.
The novel is about a young man, Liam, who went AWOL from the Confederate army after killing a man in the civil war, and his sister, Meredith, who seeks his whereabouts.
“It’s about a Christian Confederate family. They’re a first-generation family out of Ireland,” said Graham. “They don’t have any slaves but they believe in slavery. They believe in everything the Confederacy stands for.”
Graham visited a library in Gettysburg, PA, a few years ago where he read a book about Fredericksburg. That book inspired him to write a novel about the civil war.
“There’s a lot too it, and it’s a massive history that I’ve researched.”
Graham has worked on the novel for three years and is still fleshing out many of the characters, including Liam.
“Liam doesn’t communicate with his family, leaving his sister to try to find him,” said Graham. “I’m still working on his character, and figuring out what kind of a guy would do that.”
Besides Liam and Meredith, the novel is filled with many other characters.
“There’s a sergeant from Bath, Maine, there’s a soldier from Mississippi with a wooden foot, there’s a prostitute in Nashville, there’s a Hungarian doctor, and then there’s Meredith’s mother and father, and brothers and sisters,” said Graham. “There’s a lot of characters, and that’s why the novel taking a while to do.”
Graham has written several novels, and says many of his characters come from 1950s Parrsboro.
“People ask, ‘where do you get your characters?’ I say, ‘I knew them,’” said Graham. “They’re all based on people I grew up with. Real characters in the 1950s.
Graham’s father was a lumberman who employed many people. He was also a judge.
“I still get people who come up to me today and say, ‘I was up in front of your old man three times,’” said Graham with a laugh.
He says there were a lot of lively characters in Parrsboro when he was growing up.
“They were idiosyncratic characters that you don’t see nowadays. Everybody now seems to be cut from a cookie-cutter,” said Graham. “We don’t seem to have the wild variance of personalities we had in the 1950s. At least that’s what I see.”
He hopes to publish his new novel sometime next year.
“I’m, basically, working on the third draft now. What I’m doing is I’m going in and I’m plumbing what I’ve already written to make it better, to make it fuller,” said Graham. “I just added a new character today by the name of Lucy Fitzpatrick, she’s a minor character, but I filled her out a bit more.”
Bruce Graham reads from a novel he is currently writing, and answered questions, during a visit to the Four Fathers Library on Oct. 25.