Q: Welcome! I’d like to kick things off, if possible, with you sharing a little bit about yourself and what types of stories you enjoy writing as well as which genres you write in?
A: Hello. My name is Patrick. I’m 28 years old and I’m a recovering ginger. I’m a cheese-loving, cancer-fighting, bad-pun-sharing metalhead that’s trying his best to make stuff up for a living. I primarily write short, dark fiction—Horror of all styles and sub-genres. But recently, I’ve been expanding my horizons, trying my hand at children’s fiction, romance, and anything else that tickles my fancy. The weird and the strange will always be my bread and butter, but when all is said and done, I would like to say I had a variety to my work.
Q: I’d love to share a bit about your most recent work, if you could let our readers know about it?
A: I’ve had a few things popping up here and there lately, but a newer publication I’m rather proud of would be “Taffy & Toffee,” a short story featured in the Candy Capers anthology from Raven & Drake Publishing (which has since closed its doors, I’m sorry to say, though the anthology is still available). It’s a book of family-friendly, candy-themed stories, and I was very anxious trying to write for it. The style and tone was a real step out of my comfort zone, but I’m incredibly glad that I gave it a shot. “Taffy & Toffee” is a rather special story in my eyes, being so different, and I think it reveals another side of me—one that I don’t show as often, and that I hope to express more of in future works.
Q: I’ve seen that you write both drabble and short stories, how do you prepare to tackle each style when writing them?
A: I always use my iPad to write the rough drafts to any given piece. If I’m handling a drabble, I go straight into Word Counter and work on it there. That way I always know where I’m at with it, and I have to know, because I’m a wordy and detail-oriented writer when I don’t have any restrictions. That makes a drabble a fun challenge—seeing what I can accomplish with such a brief story. It’s a punch with words, and you’re trying to put as much force into that punch as you can, especially if it’s a Horror drabble. I use my Notes app for short stories, and I always write under the assumption that I can—and likely will—go at least 1,000 words over my word limit, if I’m writing for a specific call with specific restrictions. And with that in mind, I do a lot of in-the-moment editing when I’m writing. I’ll put down a paragraph—or sometimes just a sentence—and reread and rework it until I think it works just right before going onto the next bit. Then, when I’ve reached the end, I’ll see what the length is and add or cut whatever I can afford to.
Q: How long have you been writing for?
A: Technically, I’ve been scribbling things down since my wee youth. My first taste of writing success was in the fifth grade, when a story of mine placed in a school-wide contest. “Kugi and the Kappa” was more than a little rough, but it set me on my path. I started writing “seriously” in my freshman year of college. That’s when I finally started sending things out for consideration with publishers. The first story I ever submitted was rejected twice, before “the third time’s the charm” proved true and got me my first publication. I’ve been trying my best to motor along ever since then.
Q: Where were you born (and/or are you from) and how has that affected your work?
A: I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Illinois, and that’s where I can still be found. It’s a pretty small place and it doesn’t offer up very many thrills or activities. Sitting in the local McDonald’s parking lot come nightfall is a time-honored tradition for the younger crowds, so that gives you an idea of what I’ve been working with. But I’ve always been a shut-in, keeping to my home, my books, and my wandering thoughts, and that has definitely helped to fuel my writing. Read enough stories, and you’ll start to think up your own; think up enough stories, and you’ll want to write them down.
Q: Much like a few other authors who come from Illinois, I need to make this personal and I will be judging you on your answer – Cubs or White Sox?
A: Neither! The Miami Heat are my favorite NFL team, and I don’t care what anybody else says—they’ll be taking home the Stanley Cup next season! No one handles 7-10 splits better than them! Okay, honestly? I’ve never been big into sports. I’ll indulge in some football now and then, but that’s about it. I have just enough working knowledge to make terrible jokes like that, when it comes to sports.
Q: What kind of music do you listen to while writing?
A: As I mentioned, I’m more of a metalhead than anything. I’ll put my iPad on shuffle and listen to a number of bands when I feel the words are upon me. Bring Me the Horizon, Deep Purple, Parkway Drive, Machine Head, Metallica, Trivium, Dio, Architects, BLACKPINK—just to give a few examples.
Q: When not writing, what type of books do you read to keep your mind sharp? Who is your go-to author?
A: Horror is my go-to genre when it comes to reading. My shelves are filled with Clive Barker, Brian Keene, Bentley Little, and many other masters of the macabre. And, of course, I bow to the King—Stephen King, that is. I think Insomnia was the first adult novel that I ever read from beginning to end. A particular bell rang in my head after that, and it hasn’t stopped ringing. King’s work has continued to be a huge influence on my tastes—as a writer and reader, alike.
Q: Being from the midwest, we get a range of seasonal fluctuation with the weather. Do you feel that helps or hinders your creative side?
A: I can ignore the world (and make up some of my own) through any season. But when the weather reaches some rough extremes, dealing out wild winters or smoldering summers, that just gives me extra reason to stay inside. And hopefully, that’ll give me some extra opportunities to write.
Q: Thanks again, do you have any teases of what you’re working on next?
A: I have some projects in the pipeline that I’m incredibly excited for, but I can’t give particulars at this time. The most I can say is this: I’ll be contributing stories to multiple shared-world anthologies that are shaping up to be incredible books. But there are some other big things I can discuss, like a novelette of mine which will be coming out this November from Black Hare Press. “Seeing” is already available for pre-order across a few different platforms, and it deals with a team of paranormal investigators and their night in an old, infamous mansion in the Southern United States. Then, there’s another sizable project I’ll be heading that’s just been announced. I’ll be the project-leader/editor for Odd Playthings: Tales of Toys and Terror, coming from Black Ink Fiction. It’ll be an anthology of toy-themed horror stories, and submissions have just opened up! Details can be found on the Black Ink website: https://www.blackinkfiction.com/situationalhorror
Finally, if there is anything else you would love to share with our readers, please do so here!
Be good to each other, don’t eat the yellow snow, and stay weird!