Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Patrick Moffett. My nickname is Pat and I am now seventy years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and spent formative years in Salisbury (now Harare) Zimbabwe, and Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I matriculated from Jeppe Boys High School in Johannesburg and spent three years at the University of Witwatersrand also in Johannesburg. I married Judy in 1970 and we have recently celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary. We have four children and eleven wonderful grandchildren. Family is our rock.
I worked in computers for many years – I joined Burroughs Machines in 1969 during the company’s early years, when the American giant was on its way from being an office equipment company to becoming a major computer company. I was lucky enough to enjoy a remarkably successful career as a computer salesman.
I was on the senior management team that orchestrated the merger between Burroughs and the Sperry Corporation in South Africa in 1986. I was on the board of directors who managed the transition of the American company to a South African company in 1988 when the merged entity, Unisys, withdrew from South Africa.
I attended Harvard Business School in Boston in 1992 for their three month advanced management programme and on my return created my own Management Consulting practice.
In 1995, together with a group of like-minded individuals, I co-founded a Computer Software company which successfully listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
In 2004the family relocated to Port Elizabeth and designed, built and launched a wedding and function venue, “The Plantation”, which has since won numerous awards. We have added ‘The Boma’ venue and Boutique Hotel, “39 on Church”.
I have long wanted to embark on a fifth career and the option to create works of fiction is an area where Inow enjoy total “freedom”.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have just finished final editing of my third book “About Face” and the initial edits on book number four “Upside Down.”. Book number five “The Other” is well underway – plot completed and characters finalised.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always wanted to write. The old adage that everyone has a book in them has always spurred e on. I probably started writing a book about eight times and got to about fifty to eighty pages and then stopped. Funny enough my first almost completed book was a western! Finally I said, about two yearsago, around 2016, that I needed to finish one and after a lot of effort I finished ‘Inside Out’ and plucked up the courage to submit it for publication.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When the second novel ‘Join The Dots’ was published and I then considered it as a career. The first novel was an important breakthrough and proved to myself that I could deliver, but the second and subsequent novels have proved to myself that I can repeat the process and enjoy the experience.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
As I said, I have always wanted to write but lacked the conviction that I could deliver something that would bring pleasure to others. After crossing the threshold of self-belief and confidence, I finished the first book. Now I wish I had kept the eight or so others that I had started!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
In each book I wanted to find a title that reflected the several events in the story – For example in ‘Inside Out’ the hero is in prison and then out, events are seen and experienced by the characters, and interpreted differently by the press and there areseveral different ways of looking at the same things. Things are not always what they seem or how they appear at first sight. In “Join The Dots” the plot moves from event to event and place to place and the reader is invited to share in the synchronicity and knock-ons of happenings as they unfold and how they interrelate.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I try to describe and explain the settings and the environment and share interesting information about each location with the reader. I like to show how the characters think and act and seek a reality of expression and actions. I try and introduce realism and credibility of plot and events. It is important I think to get the reader to want to turn the next page to find out what is going to happen and how events are related and how the story develops.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A lot of content in my books is based on my personal experience and thinking and many of the supporting events in the books are loosely based on actual events. Each plot is unique however.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I have been fortunate to travel the world extensively and many of the characters, events and locations reflect this. I kid myself that life experience enables me to write.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Pegasus Publishers have a production and design team who interpret your thoughts and add ideas. I wanted the covers to be striking and to stimulate an interest in the contents and also indicate a series. A cover should invite a browser to pick up the book and discover its contents.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The fundamental premise is good triumphing over evil. There is pain and suffering and evil along the way and there is not always good news. The world can be an evil and dangerous place and there is much danger and many bad people.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I have always been a voracious reader and started as a young child. I have too many favourites to list but if pressed would mention Ed McBain, Dick Francis, Ian Fleming, Leslie Charteris, Donald Westlake, Peter Robinson, Robert Crais, John Grisham, John Sandford and possibly Wilbur Smith amongst many favourites. I haven’t found any new authors yet but keep looking.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
The first outside influence was Pegasus Publishers, who from first submission have been incredibly supportive.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I have enjoyed several careers and am now delighted to find a creative career – one in which I am solely responsible to create and share something with an audience. So I think it is more a calling than a career probably.Maybe giving something back.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Since the first unfinished attempts and finally the realisation that there comes a time when revisions, additions and changes are probably unending, I have learnt to finish each book and to move on to the next. So no, once I feel it is finished, I would not change anything.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
My latest book ”Upside Down” concerns rhino poaching and many scenes are set in the Kruger Park – my favourite place to visit. My research taught me many things about this despicable activity.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
There are several key characters and personalities. The main hero, Bataleur, brings to mind someone like Matt Damon or possibly Leonardo DiCaprio.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Believe in yourself. Be hypercritical but keep trying. Concentrate and plan. Don’t be afraid to explore events and to let the story lead you. Do your research. Remember a book needs a beginning, a middle and an end. Craft characters and chapters and tell your story.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
There are things that one can learn from books but most importantly books are a window into the world, an escape from reality and a chance to relax and enjoy leisure time. A good read should always be an escape.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Peter Robinson – latest Alan Banks novel.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Enid Blyton – Secret Seven series. I read voraciously as a child and continued that throughout my life. Encouraging children to read is important I think, particularly in the electronic age in which we live.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A good joke and English humour. Shared experiences and funny moments in real-time. Good friends and a good sense of humour. A good joke is like a breath of fresh air.
Cruelty to children and animals.Inability of some people to emote.A good sad story or film.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Dean Martin – My favourite singer, actor and performer of all time. Multi-talented individual and self-deprecating, he always appeared to be a fun person.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I collect movies and series. I love travelling. Am a nature lover, birds and animals.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Eclectic tastes. Enjoy any movie or series that is well crafted and realistic. Favourite genre is Westerns! Not keen on Fantasy and Sci-fi needs to be very good to draw me in. Crime and suspense are always worth watching. Like a good human interest, drama and tear-jerker. Love a good comedy.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Good lamb curry and the great South Africa Braai (Barbecue). Black and Red. Good pop music through the ages. Beatles and Rolling Stones forever!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Find a good movie or series to watch.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Enjoyed the ‘Dash” 1948 – XXXX
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Pegasus Publishers: http://www.patrick-moffett.pegasuspublishers.com/
Armen Pogharian said:
Very interesting life. I suspect that if you ever wanted to branch out of fiction that you could write a great non-fiction business book. Best of luck to you.