2023 Best of the Best Winner Interview - Graham Keet

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2023 Best of the Best Winner Interview - Graham Keet

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Best of the Best Interview 2023 - Graham Keet

Shari: First, congratulations again on winning Best of the Best for your entry, "Talking to Cynthia” for the topic Odd. What was your first thought when you found out you had won?

Graham: Firstly, I was pleasantly surprised that my entry was chosen as a Quarterly winner and I didn’t even think of being selected for Best of the Best. It was, therefore, a huge surprise to receive notification of winning the top honor.

Shari: How did you come up with the idea for the story?

Graham: I wrote Talking to Cynthia soon after seeing a TV report of a case where the ‘man’ of the house continually abused his partner and her young daughter. This is a subject I feel very strongly about and I cannot understand how a man can abuse any woman and child in this fashion. Unfortunately, such behavior is all too prevalent in spite of the efforts of various action groups, and even governmental concerns.

Shari: It is truly a tragic thing that happens all too often. Hopefully, your story can reach some hearts, to both heal and convict.
How/when did you first start writing? What is your favorite genre to write?

Graham: I have always enjoyed the challenge of expressing myself in writing. In primary school, I won the prize for an English essay and as a young adult, I had a few short stories printed in local newspapers. While working in my company’s regulatory section my writing was confined to legal documentation which, although challenging, did not permit a free flow of ideas.
After my retirement, I decided to study the book of Revelation, which I had always found difficult to understand. This led to a growing interest in end-time prophecy resulting in my publishing two novels on this subject.

Shari: And now you have won another prize for writing. Most people find Revelation both challenging and fascinating. I did notice that both of your novels are available in eBook form through your FaithWriters' profile. From the excerpts found on FaithWriters, both of your novels sound very interesting.
Do you have a favorite piece you have written, for FaithWriters or elsewhere?

Graham: A few years ago I submitted a Challenge entry called Mr. Fix It. This was a light-hearted piece about two robots falling in love without the one knowing the other was a robot. Sounds a bit like what’s happening today with AI.

Shari: Being a science fiction fan, I had to go check out that entry (as I hadn't read it before). It was a lot of fun. And you're right, it does sound a bit like the direction AI could be headed in the not-so-distant future. Which authors have been your writing inspirations?

Graham: For relaxation, I enjoy reading thrillers—books written by authors like David Baldacci, Jack Higgins, and Lee Child (who wrote the Jack Reacher series). This is probably why my two novels, while being Bible-based, are written as thrillers. In many ways, world events unfolding at the moment read like extracts from an action novel.

Shari: How did you find FaithWriters? How has it helped in your writing journey?

Graham: FaithWriters is like a breath of fresh air. I stumbled across the website some years ago while doing research. I was fascinated that writers were invited to submit articles for others to read and so I submitted my first story (The Vow). Faithwriters Challenge has taught me so much about writing technique that when I read my early entries now I think “how on earth could I have submitted this?”

Shari: Oh I, know that feeling of "How could I have written that?" all too well. There are even some I forgot I wrote. I'd taken a bit of a sabbatical from FaithWriters until I was asked to set up to become the Challenge Coordinator (and ironically, our former Challenge Coordinator, Deb Porter, used the name Breath of Fresh Air on the forums for years and was the name of her publishing company). So, I’d like to get to know you a bit better, as I’m sure would our members. Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

Graham: I am a South African living in Pretoria, which is about 40 miles north of Johannesburg. My wife (Astrid) and I have been married 53 years and we have two sons. Our elder son, Gary, was killed in a light aircraft accident in 2004, while our younger son, Ryan, lives close by. Ryan and his Japanese wife Ayako have six children, three boys and three girls, aged between 4 and 17. As you can guess Astrid and I are kept busy, especially helping with transport between school and sport activities. Ryan worked in Japan for 11 years, where he met and married Ayako, who is a wonderful Christian woman. It brings us much joy to see the grandchildren growing up to honor God and for the older children to be outspoken in their Christian beliefs among their peers.

We belong to the Hatfield Christian Church, which is a charismatic, spirit-filled church. In our younger days, we both taught Sunday School and then went on to hosting a young adults group in our home for 20 years. We used to regularly have 50+ young people on a Thursday evening and were privileged to have been invited to about 40 weddings, where either the boy or the girl, and often both, were in our young adults' group.
Astrid and I have been involved in sport all our lives and we still enjoy long walks, running, and gym. We look forward to experiencing God’s love and His blessing for a long time to come.

Shari: What advice would you give to our other FaithWriters members?

Graham: Firstly, write from your passion. Your excitement and involvement in the subject will be obvious to your readers. It is possible to write a technically sound piece without your personal emotional involvement, but the final product could fail to attract any interest by the readers.
Learn to write clearly and concisely—the weekly Challenge will teach you to cut out all unnecessary wording. When I started I would end up with more than a thousand words and would have to trim down to 750. Nowadays I am usually spot on regarding the word limit, and this conciseness has helped me with writing in general.

Shari: Thank you for your time in letting us get a little peek into your life and writing. Congratulations once again. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future!
FW 500 Member

"...hunt like a spider..." Cori - FW Con '07
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