Graeme Hall is the author of 'The Goddess of Macau', out in August 2020 with Fly on the Wall Press. The short story collection paints complex characters, myths, medicine and magic, all set in the former Portuguese colony of Macau. Macau was the first European settlement in Asia (founded in 1557) and over some 450 years a unique Macanese culture developed, one that fused Europe and China to create an individual identity that sadly is in decline in the twenty-first century. Graeme's stories have won competitions and been published in English, Portuguese and Chinese.
Isabelle: Do you feel your work has been inspired by your influences in any way? To what extent do writers inspire your own stories?
Graeme: I’ve been thinking about this and struggling slightly as I’m not sure to what extent my writing has been influenced by other writers. Not consciously anyway. Perhaps readers might pick up on things that I wasn’t aware of!
I didn’t start out by wanting to be a short story writer at all. While I did read a lot of science fiction short stories when I was younger (Clarke, Wyndham, JG Ballard), like most fiction writers I wanted to write novels (and still do), but it was my first creative writing teacher who pushed me to the shorter form. Through her, I read a lot of the classic short story writers - Tolstoy, Mansfield, Carver - and some more contemporary, but, with the exception of one story that overtly tried to be a Raymond Carver, there were no direct influences.
Thinking on the subject some more, it’s probably novelists who influence me the most. My “idols” are those who pull off the trick of being both acclaimed by the literary critics and are very popular with readers. Not many do both but I’m thinking of people like William Boyd, Kate Atkinson, Sarah Waters, David Mitchell and Haruki Murakami.
Drilling down further, I can identify possible connections. With David Mitchell it was his use of repeating characters in different stories (something I quite deliberately chose to follow in my Macau stories, though with one I somewhat relaxed this requirement), and with Murakami, it might be the inclusion of the magical into the everyday. With William Boyd, I love the way he writes strong narratives - page-turners really - set in times and places throughout the Twentieth Century that are full of interest and potential material. One of my Macau stories was inspired by the "Orison of Sonmi-451” in David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas”!
Graeme Hall's 'The Goddess of Macau' is now available for pre-order here.
This short story collection paints complex characters, Macau myths and magic, all set in the former Portuguese colony of Macau. Macau was one of the first European settlements in Asia (founded in 1557) and over some 450 years a unique Macanese culture developed, one that fused Europe and China to create an individual identity which, sadly, is in decline in the twenty-first century.