Name Will Patching
Age Too old!I will soon enter my sixth decade but inside I am still in my twenties!
Where are you from
UK – South London
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am a working class lad who went to university in the days when we had student grants and no fees to pay. Thanks to that I have had a successful career, but feel sad for modern youth who will be burdened with debt if they choose to follow my path.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
During the last quarter of 2015 I decided to create an audiobook edition of my crime thriller novel Remorseless, and that hit the online stores just before New Year’s Day. This was a labour of love for me and took well over three hundred manhours on my part, plus my pro sound engineer’s time, to create just 13 hours of audio. Remorseless is quite a long novel at 122,000 words and I opted to create an unabridged audiobook.
I have tried to emulate the characters’ voices as they sound in my mind. It turns out that my quirky approach to narration has rather polarized the listeners: some think the voices are ‘Amazing!’, but one US citizen asserted that I should stick to writing as the narration is simply ‘Bad’ – understandable, as he found one character in one scene unintelligible! It seems that audiobooks add another dimension to ‘reader’ feedback as the author/narrator’s relationship with the listener is even more personal than writing.
Incidentally, I still have some free review copies available for keen audiophiles who are not put off by my approach, or booklovers who don’t normally select an audio edition but are intrigued enough to listen. Anyone interested can contact me through my website where they will find several audioclips to help them decide.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I first attempted writing a novel at age 16 or thereabouts. I had won a tri-county essay competition for my school and immediately decided I should take up my rightful place alongside Agatha Christie and other crime writers in the adult section of my local library! I had been corrupted as a youth by my mother when she asked me to pick books for her from our local library when I was about 12 years old, so my interest in crime fiction
started at an early age. That first ‘great work’ fizzled and died before I hit 10,000 words and the entire mess has been lost somewhere in the mists of time – thankfully!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I wrote ‘The End’ for the first time on the final page of my first full length crime thriller, The Hack. I had over 100,000 words and a story I believed in. At that point I considered myself a writer, but not yet a pukka novelist: ‘they’ say everyone has one good novel inside them, so until I wrote my second I did not feel worthy of the title ‘novelist’.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Both novels have been described by readers as ‘dark’ as I deliberately choose difficult subjects that are uncomfortable but – in my mind – very important. There is nothing cosy about my mysteries!
‘The Hack’ is a fast paced thriller that spans three continents that explores the masks people wear in public, as it exposes the darker side of ‘respectable people’. The vehicle I use to expand on this theme is decidedly uncomfortable for many readers: a VIP paedophile ring operating with impunity – until my heroine and her nerd brother uncover their activities.
I wrote this novel years before the Savile paedophile scandal hit the UK, so in some ways it was prescient, exposing the black heart of the British Establishment in a work of fiction that sadly reflects current reality. I believe there is more to the Savile story than has yet come to light and the powers-that-be are involved in a cover up – they desperately do not want to reveal the true extent of this malignancy, as it reaches into Parliament and could expose previous ministers, possibly even an ex-Prime Minister, as child molesters.
I have always been fascinated by the abuse of power and the hypocrisy of those that wield it. The Hack was inspired by this fascination, with the opening pages reflecting the first scenes of a documentary I had seen on sex tourism in Thailand. This true life account opened with an obese American caught on film enticing young boys with gifts, then walking away, hand in hand with one of them, clearly planning to abuse the young lad in his hotel room.
The documentary team prevented this by tipping off the police. In The Hack my renegade CIA agent does so, in a rather more grisly fashion!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Sparse! For me personally, too much description of characters’ appearances and their surroundings bogs things down, so I leave much of that to the reader’s imagination.
I do however, focus on the psychological aspects and delve deeply into the minds of my key characters. This is particularly evident in Remorseless, a novel described by one Amazon reviewer/blogger as ‘a deep, dark look inside the minds of killers and psychologists alike’.
Although The Hack reflects a similar approach, it was written to be more of an out and out thriller, so has a faster pace from the outset, with shorter scenes and more point of view characters. I am rather pleased that both have been described by reviewers as ‘intelligent thrillers’.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I had to change The Hack’s original title – The Death of Innocence – as a rather unsavoury website popped up a few years after the paperback had first appeared in Asia in 2007. I rewrote the book to produce the current edition and chose the new title to reflect several aspects of the novel: a computer genius hacks into the CIA’s secure system to uncover Establishment misdeeds; the female protagonist is a ‘hack’ journalist touting her exclusive story to a downmarket tabloid; and my renegade CIA agent, on a personal mission driven by vengeance, uses a large hunting knife to hack his victims to death…
Fiona: Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. The theme of The Hack revolves around dissembling, and the masks people wear in public. The abuse of power results from this masquerade, enabling the evil deeds of some to be hidden from view, covered up and denied. This truly fascinates me.
Remorseless is a novel about guilt, following on from The Hack’s theme of masks. The main characters all suffer from remorse in one form or another, except my psychopathic serial killer who, by definition, is not hampered by a guilty conscience.
I believe that more people should inform themselves about how psychopaths have permeated our institutions and are the true source of much distress in the world today, from endless wars to financial crashes, from bullying managers to polluting corporations, from paedophile politicians in our own Parliament to US town ‘worthies’ knowingly poisoning their citizens’ water supply…
Fiona: How much of your books are realistic ?
Please see my comments about Savile and let your readers make up their own minds!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think all writers have to draw on their own experiences, but there is no single character or event in any of my writing that is a description reflecting true to life people or situations. My characters are generally an amalgamation of various traits garnered from
people I know combined with others I have read about or seen in films etc, to create composite characters I can visualise as I write.
My psychopathic serial killer is largely based on one very devious character I had the misfortune to invite into my life and home. That experience did spur the creation of my villain in Remorseless but happily, as far as I know, the chap in question has never murdered anyone! He certainly exhibited many psychopathic traits, but not all psychos are axe murderers. I have an entire website dedicated to psychopaths as part of my ongoing quest to inform the public at large about these highly destructive souls.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Stephen King, a man I doubt I will ever meet, gave me the inspiration to start my first novel in earnest. Although I am not a big fan of horror, I have always enjoyed King’s other work. Misery in particular is my type of novel, being a psychological thriller, but this ‘mentoring’ by King is available to anyone who buys his book entitled ‘On Writing’. This treatise is part autobiography and part writers’ guide. I highly recommend it to any aspiring author or anyone else with an interest in good writing.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Maggie James wrote ‘Sister, Psychopath’ which is on my ‘to read’ list. I am too busy at the moment to read anything, but hope to get to this one very soon!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am in the process of finishing a short ebook on psychopaths, my first true crime venture. I also have the sequel to Remorseless in hand, with plans to compete that, and the follow up to The Hack, later this year. My websites are being revamped, and I have big plans to extend the psychopath site’s fiction content to include novels from authors like Maggie.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I am approaching retirement age as I enter my sixth decade on this planet and writing is now my entire ‘career’ focus. I tend to think of it as my first love, one I have ignored for too long, rather than thinking of it as a career!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. However, I drafted both works over ten years ago, and have substantially rewritten them in the intervening years, partly to update them but also to reflect reader feedback.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Not really! I am sorry, but I am one of those authors who hug their work closely to themselves until it is ready for the world to see, fearing that premature exposure might scare the muse away!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Overcoming the self-doubt that accompanies any creative enterprise. You put a great deal of yourself into something and then invite criticism by launching it onto the unsuspecting public. Other people’s criticism can hurt if you take it personally but I find my own inner critic is my harshest judge!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Strange as it may seem, I don’t have a favourite author. I find that many fellow scribes write truly brilliant novels, creating fascinating characters that I want to hear more about after I’ve finished reading. The problem – and this is a very personal viewpoint – is that some writers create too many derivatives from their ‘first in series’ books, and as time goes by they stretch their readers’ suspension of disbelief too far.
I have a list of authors whose works I have enjoyed, including early James Patterson, Jeffrey Deaver, Karen Slaughter, Patricia Cornwell, Mo Hayder, Nicci French, and a whole host of others, not forgetting Stephen King of course!
Because I find many series go off the boil I have decided both my novels will spawn trilogies and end there. After that, I will create new and literally ‘novel’ characters and themes to explore. This is a purely personal preference.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t have too, but I like to travel! I’ve attended America’s prestigious Harvard Business School, lived in Spain for four years and then moved to Thailand, where I have been for ten years, so I already have plenty to draw on. I am not sure where I’ll head next!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I have just upgraded the Remorseless cover to give it a splash of colour – blood red – as I plan to advertise on Facebook, so the thumbnail needs to ‘pop’. The shotgun design was my own idea but my designer, Brian Krespan, created the new look and is also revamping
The Hack cover as I write this. I ‘met’ Brian on the web just recently as he has a book blog site and agreed to listen to the new Remorseless audiobook and then write an honest review. He really enjoyed the novel so offered to create a cover more in keeping with the story. You can find out more here.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your books?
Deciding when I had finished! It is so tempting to continually tweak the writing, especially with ebooks that can be changed with the press of a button.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I am now something of an ‘expert’ when it comes to psychopaths. I did not set out with this in mind but having spent over a decade reading and writing about them I realise I know rather more than the average psychologist!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Learn about self-publishing. Become an authorpreneur. Don’t rely on traditional publishing houses or agents to bring you an audience: learn about the internet and how to create your own.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Please leave reviews and ratings for all the books you enjoy! Even a one word review (‘Great!’ or ‘Rubbish!’ even) will help the author gain credibility and also helps potential readers to decide whether to buy.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I vaguely remember my first trip to the library and being thrilled when I could take home a Dr Seuss book!
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Jesus. I am an atheist, but I accept that someone named Jesus existed and spawned Christianity. I believe he was a radical, a socialist, bordering on anarchist, and would love to be able to question him about these things. There is a great, but somewhat controversial book detailing his exploits that accurately reflects my beliefs about the man they now call Christ: ‘Zealot’ by Reza Aslan.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I don’t! I want to be cremated and sprinkled on the sea. Hopefully I won’t need a headstone if my written works live on for decades more, assuming the internet continues forever!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I play electric blues guitar. I taught myself to play over the last few years and now have a selection of tracks on Soundcloud that listeners can freely download.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a sucker for pretty much any hard nosed crime drama. I loved Luther, especially Alice, the psychopathic female, but often get disappointed by Hollywood-isation that distorts these rather evil beings. A case in point: Dexter. A psychopath with a conscience is an oxymoron. The two things cannot coexist.
Unfortunately the demands of Hollywood, and many large publishing houses, mean the most despicable characters usually have to display some redeeming features to add ‘entertainment value’, offering viewers/readers something they can empathise with. In real life, the most heinous psychopaths have no truly redeeming features and even their superficial charm is merely a ploy to help them manipulate others. They are not like the rest of us…
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My idea of heaven: sharing some Nando’s peri-peri chicken with B. B. King after we’ve been jamming together on a tropical beach surrounded by turquoise sea!
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I had a successful career in business but if I could rewind my life I would definitely spend more time on creative writing in my younger years.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have three websites – one for each novel/trilogy-to-be, and one focussed on psychopaths in fact and fiction.
Amazon Authors Page USA http://www.amazon.com/Will-Patching/e/B007NVGJ7W/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1
***NB Remorseless is currently free from Amazon, iTunes, Kobo and Nook – but not for long!