Interview with an Author: Patrick Donovan

I met Patrick earlier this year through a writing project he orchestrated with students at our university. He organized a group of writers to contribute short stories for an anthology book. The writers were fellow students at SNHU, both graduate and undergraduate, and all profits made from the book upon its release will be given to charity. Shortly after getting involved with the project, Patrick’s book Demon Jack was published. Today, he took the time to answer a few questions and share writing his experiences.

DT: First, tell us about your book. What is it about?

PD: Demon Jack’s about a lot of things. I usually joke it’s about an asshole who beats things up, but there’s more to it than that. It’s the first in a series, the series itself focusing on this idea of redemption. Jack, the main character, has a lot of flaws. He’s selfish, he’s violent, but he’s on his way back to being something better. I think that as the series progresses we’ll really get to see him grow into that role of hero, where as he’s more anti-hero right now. The first book sort of focused on his problems catching up with him, on him realizing that he can’t keep going like he’s going. The rest of the books will explore him growing from that.

DT: You write Urban Fantasy. How would you define your genre? Is there anything that annoys you about how Urban Fantasy is perceived or described?

PD: I’d define my genre as Tolkien set in New York, essentially. I mean there’s more to it than that, it’s vampires, werewolves, fae, all of that fun mythological and folklorish stuff, dropped right into the middle of some kind of city and the dynamic that comes with that. As far as something that annoys me, my biggest pet peeve is that a lot of people expect Urban Fantasy to be all about some kick ass heroine and her cadre of supernatural boyfriends, which is fine, but that’s not Urban Fantasy, that’s Paranormal Romance because most stories like that, the romance aspect tends to take the center stage. In that same regard though, there’s nothing wrong with said kick ass heroine, or her vampire were dolphin boyfriend, but I wanna read more about the ass kicking than I do the love triangles.

DT: What’s a typical writing day look like for you? Do you have a set schedule or make personal goals to reach?

PD: I usually start either late night or early afternoon, and depending on what I have going on set a goal of 2000 words. Sometimes that works out pretty well and I hammer it out in an hour or two, sometimes it takes me all day. I try to take days off too, let the story simmer in my noodle for a while.

DT: How do you overcome writer’s block or getting stuck?

PD: I ascribe pretty firmly to something Jim Butcher said: “I don’t have writer’s block, I have a mortgage”. Granted, some days are better than others writing wise, and everything just clicks, but in my head writer’s block is just an excuse.

DT: Is there any advice you wish you’d been given when you were first starting out or that you would go back and tell yourself now that you’re published?

PD: Maybe not when I was first starting out, but I had a college professor who would attempt to beat into my head the importance of editing. At the time, I sort of wrote in a bubble. I thought it was good. My friends thought it was good. Even if I didn’t edit, they’d tell me it was awesome. Granted, it may have been good, but it wasn’t publishable by any stretch of the imagination.

DT: Can you tell us about the publishing process and how your publishing deal eventually came about?

PD: The process itself was pretty rough. I have about 50 or so rejections that I saved. I started out querying agents, which I wish I hadn’t done now, just because I realize how fickle and subjective they can be. It’s pretty rough just getting form letter after form letter from folks saying you’re not good enough. Granted, once you do get that letter of interest saying you are good enough, that changes the game. After I got tired of the form letters, I went looking at small presses and found my current publisher Fable Press. They made me a deal and it’s been rolling since then.

DT: When did you officially decide writing was what you wanted to do?  

PD: When I was a wee lad and read my first Stephen King novel. I knew right then and there, that that was the road I was gonna go down. It only took me around….25 years to get here, and it’s still an uphill fight, but I’m getting there.

DT: Why do you write? What pushes you through this long, stressful process time and again?

PD: Honestly, it’s because there needs to be a little more magic in the world. If I can create that, even in a story, then I think I’m doing something good. Even if it only reaches one person, and my stories make that one person’s day better, then I’ve achieved what I set out to accomplish.

DT: Anything you’d like to add?

PD: Han shot first.

*Lightning Round!*

DT: What is your writing soundtrack?

PD: It really varies. Lately I’ve been listening to authors give convention talks. I think it’s because I can just tune out into background noise. Outside of that, I listen to a lot of classical or instrumental, Lindsey Stirling being one I’m really digging lately, her and Apocalyptica. Eminem’s new CD, Yelawolf too. A lot of 80’s and 90’s stuff. Motley Crue, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Type O Negative.

DT: What do you do for a “break” from writing?

PD: I’m a pipe smoker, so if I take a break it’s usually for a pipe (tobacco only people!) and coffee. I think it makes me feel all author like.

DT: If you could be any literary character or visit another written world, who would you be and where would you go?

PD: I’m gonna cheat a little here, because TV shows and movies are written before they are made, so they count. I’d either be The Doctor or Han Solo, one of the two.

DT: Can you name some book recommendations?

PD: The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, Anything by Neil Gaiman. Stephen King of course.

There you go! I want to thank Patrick for taking the time to answer these questions and share with us. Are there any follow-up questions you would like asked? Post below! And if you read Patrick’s book be sure to give him a review or shoot him a fan letter!

You can follow him on his author Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pdonovanauthor and subscribe to his blog at www.pdonovanauthor.wordpress.com

Demon Jack is currently on sale for Kindle devices over at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Jack-ebook/dp/B00EYG2YIM

More information about Patrick and Demon Jack can be found on the publisher’s site at

http://www.fablepress.com/

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