Name Patrick James Ryan
Where are you from Columbus, Ohio
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am a graduate of Ohio State University and work in the Financial Services industry by day, and write by night! I am very blessed to have my wife, Molly and our three children, Colleen, Michael and Patrick, Jr. We spend a lot of our personal time living vicariously through their activities of Baseball, Football, Basketball, Martial Arts, Volleyball, Softball, Irish Step Dancing and Cheerleading! I love music; reading, and I have been in Martial Arts for over 25 years and hold a Second Degree Black Belt in a Shaolin Tiger Style of Kung Fu. I am a huge fan and disciple of Bruce Lee, and very devoted to my one of a kind teacher, the great Greg Greene! Our family is also VERY Irish and proud of our heritage!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I was very honored that my novel, “The Night It Got Out” was the bestselling book at Black Bed Sheet Books in 2015. My first book, “Blood Verse,” a collection of short stories was just re-released in May of 2016 with additional edits and expansions of some of the stories. A novella, “The Maggots Underneath The Porch” will be released this summer, and a second collection of short stories in late Fall. I am currently expanding from the horror/suspense genre and working on a mainstream detective thriller that will ideally have mass appeal.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began to write in earnest in high school when I qualified to take advanced placement courses that were actually sophomore level college curriculums. We had to read deep philosophical works by authors like Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Albert Camus, Aldous Huxley, Joseph Conrad, George Orwell, Shirley Jackson and Charles Dickens, and write a thesis on the meaning of their stories. A misplaced comma cost you a letter grade, plus we were heavily graded on content too! I recognized back then that I had a knack for prose and enjoyed writing. I’ve always loved thrillers and horror/suspense stories and began dabbling with stories in college.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I shared some of my work with an old English Professor from college several years back and she was very impressed with my scribbling’s and encouraged me to pursue writing on the side. I think when my publisher, Nicholas Grabowksy selected me and nine other writers out of 376 submissions back in 2012, I felt like I had made it!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
After college, marriage and having children, I set my writing aside for several years in lieu of the kid’s activities and the day job. A few years back, I lost my father, who was always a huge fan of my writing, to cancer and I sought solace in writing. Magically, I began to crank out story after story until “Blood Verse” was completed. I’d like to think he somehow influenced me through divine intervention as the story ideas just seemed to pop into my head!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Horror/Suspense/Thriller/Science Fiction, although I am seeking to expand beyond a specific genre and have mass appeal.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I deliberated very carefully on all of the titles (Blood Verse, The Night It Got Out, The Maggots Underneath The Porch, Out Of The Shadows) with the expressed intent of catching/hooking prospective readers. I often ran titles by family and friends, and of course, my publisher played a key role by weighing in on the merits of various titles from his plethora of knowledge and experience in the industry.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, many of the stories have a social, or moral message. For example, in “Blood Verse,” one of the stories is about a chubby bigot who dies in a car accident and goes to hell. Lucifer assigns him the task of torturing the very people he despised on earth until he has an epiphany and realizes that not only is the torture in hell wrong, but his bigotry on earth was also morally wrong. He experiences the ultimate redemption by defying Lucifer at the risk of eternal suffering. In “The Night It Got Out” I attempted to write the classic B-Movie, Action Thriller with a monstrous creature with amazing killing prowess that was enhanced by science and man-made concoctions. The obvious message in addition to the carnage and action goes back to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein: Don’t mess with science and Mother Nature!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Whew! That is a tough one! Off the cuff, I would say a lot! I will offer one example that is somewhat of a spoiler. In “Blood Verse,” I wrote a story called “Pain and the Boxer.” The Boxer was under tremendous financial and emotional pressure to fight his next championship bout, but tore a rotator cuff tendon in his shoulder that was causing all kinds of problems. He was so distraught, that he went on a tirade, wishing he could fight the pain like a boxing opponent. Well, he got his wish and some very nefarious things happened! Similarly, a few years back I injured my shoulder in Martial Arts using Nunchucks. It sidelined me for a long time and I wished I could physically fight the pain. I’d like to think this is one my most original stories as I’ve never read anything else like it.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
When I read Stephen King’s short story collection, Night Shift, I was hooked and wanted to get into writing. I read JAWS by Peter Benchley as a kid and loved it. I have been blessed with many mentors, like the previously mentioned English Professor, my publisher ~ Nicholas Grabowsky, and fellow authors at Black Bed Sheet Books.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Brian Keene is writing fantastic thrillers in the horror genre. So are Joe McKinney, Craig Dilouie, Jack Ketchum and my fellow Black Bed Sheet Book authors along with Nicholas Grabowsky. As for my favorite, it would be either Stephen King or John D. MacDonald. King is so eclectic and can write extraordinarily memorable characters and story lines. John D. MacDonald is one the greatest writers who ever lived. If you have not read some of his Travis McGee mystery book series, you are missing out on of the best writers who wrote brilliantly drawn characters, terrific action and superb plots all within the context of outstanding word economy.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have been blessed with the previously mentioned English Professor, but so many work colleagues have been extremely encouraging as well as my fellow authors at Black Bed Sheet Books!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, that is what I am aiming for. When I can earn as much writing as I earn with the day job, that would be a dream come true! I would also love to see some of my stories make it to the Silver Screen because lately Hollywood seems to be mired with remakes and a pervasive lack of originality. I really think many of my stories would do very well at the Box Office!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Many fans who read “The Night It Got Out” wished it had been longer, and that I had developed the characters in more depth. Some have even requested a sequel, so there may be more to say in that story. My original intent, and the way the book came out, was to have the monster drive the story and compose a good, old fashioned action thriller that would make readers flip the pages quickly. I never anticipated the story would touch readers on so many other levels!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I may have answered this earlier when sharing experiences in high school advanced placement English courses.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I think every writer gets writers block from time to time. When that happens to me I sometimes toggle back and forth between projects. (E.g. at present I am working on polishing a second short story collection and a new mainstream detective thriller). When Writer’s Block hits, I choose to take a break from the current work and pivot over to something I wrote a while back, but is not yet published to edit it. Not only do I get the writing juices flowing again, but I find sentences and paragraphs in the older work that need to be tweaked and improved. For me, that usually helps!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet, although it would nice to get invites to large city book signings!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My multi-talented publisher, Nicholas Grabowsky. His artistic acumen and ability to draw what I envision in my mind is truly amazing! It is almost like Nick has telepathy!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
By far, editing. It is never fun, but is a necessary evil to polish your story, sometimes several times!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I never anticipated what the industry calls “Trolls,” or what is defined as a writer who did not quite make it and will routinely go into book review forums and slam other authors without offering any substantive criticism. So, growing thick skin is important for new authors. Having said that, if the feedback is relevant and will help improve prose and future work, I am all ears!
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film that would you like to play the lead
That is a great question! Off the top of my head, some of the actors that come to mind for some of the stories would be: Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Mark Wahlberg, Christopher Meloni, and Will Smith. Actresses: Rachel McAdams, Jodie Foster, Meryl Streep, and Amy Adams.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write with passion. Believe in yourself. Be committed to working hard. Don’t pay attention to naysayers and harsh phony critics. However, do listen to sound advice as we all have blind sides and sometimes constructive criticism can be a great learning tool to help you continue to hone your craft. I personally believe school is never out in this industry, and I am always open to input, feedback, and opinions from both readers and fellow authors. Finally, find a good editor (still something I am seeking) because we are our own worst editors and proofreaders, and an objective reviewer/editor will finds things we miss! Good luck!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Without a loyal, interested body of readers, I would not exist as a writer! It is for your personal enjoyment and escapism from the stresses of the day that I toil each night to write a story that will provide enjoyment and pleasure. Finally, thanks to each and every one of you who has read my work and said so many kind things! You are very much appreciated!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Scarlet Ruse by John D. Macdonald and I just finished Stephen King’s Finders Keepers.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
JAWS as a kid.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I don’t cry often, but some triggers about my dad will get me sometimes. A lot of things make me laugh from good comedy movies, to a good joke, to watching someone do something peculiar and funny.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Bruce Lee! I think he was the most accomplished person physically and mentally of the 20th Century.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“He loved and accepted people unconditionally and lived life with a servant’s heart.” I once heard the motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar say that the key to success in life is to help enough people get what they want first, and then you will achieve what you want. I truly believe that.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Reading a diverse spectrum of fiction. Martial Arts, Sports
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Horror/suspense/science fiction of course, but also great dramas weaved in with the occasional comedy. Some of my all-time favorite movies include: JAWS, Ben-Hur, Braveheart, Enter the Dragon, First Blood, The Graduate, The Sting, Animal House, Caddy Shack, and most good Sports movies.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Pizza, Black/Green, Classic Rock and Roll like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Kansas, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Boston, Van Halen, AC/DC, Rush, Styx, Def Leppard, etc..
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Teach Martial Arts.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? Not yet, but it is in the works!