In an original take on romantic comedy, combined with crime and action, Patrick Fox takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride through surreal scenarios in the company of original characters, including an imaginary friend with multiple personalities . . .
Who are the authors that have most influenced your writing?
Raymond Chandler, Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, and Greg Iles are an inspiration to me because they all write books about strong characters and reading them makes me want to do the same. John Locke’s Donovan Creed books for featuring a lead character who shouldn’t be likeable but is, and for the great sense of humour evident throughout the stories. And I suppose any writer I’ve read and enjoyed, from Lewis Carroll when I was child, to Issac Asimov and Tom Sharpe when I was a teen, through to Nick Hornby, Tony Parsons, Patricia Cornwell, Marian Keyes (yes, you read the last one correctly) and the authors already mentioned. I have read their books, so they must have influenced me in one way or another.
How did writing begin for you?
Like a lot of people, I’ve always thought I could write a novel, and like a lot of people, I never did anything about it. That is until late 2004 when I decided to give it a try during a two week break from work. Three months later I had a completed 87,000-word manuscript. The novel was my attempt at a thriller, and it was awful, but it showed me I could write to novel length, albeit a novel that no one would want to read. I decided then that writing probably wasn’t for me, and decided to concentrate on my day job, which was making video games. However, writing and me weren’t done yet.
What inspired you to write Trinity?
Like most things in my life, it all started in a bar. Way back in the late eighties, when I was working for a small video games development studio, I was out one Friday night in a pub called The Sir Colin Campbell in Coventry, when the idea that would become the game, Krusty’s Super Fun House, arrived out of nowhere in my head. Fast forward to 2005, and I’m in another pub called The Hungry Bear, deep in the south Wales valleys and the same thing happens again, only this time it wasn’t a game that popped into my head, it was the complete storyline and characters for a novel. I told my wife about it and she said I had to write it. So, if you want to blame anyone, blame her, I was just doing what I was told.
What can you tell us about Trinity?
The protagonist is the managing director of a video games development studio (well, they do say to write what you know) called Ben Rider, who wakes up one morning to find Trinity, the imaginary friend from his childhood, in his kitchen. Trinity claims he is back to help Ben find his destiny.
From this point on, Ben’s world is turned upside down. Whether Trinity is in his guise of mischievous but kindly cowboy, chickenhearted pirate or straight-talking private eye, things are either exciting or downright alarming. Within months, thanks to Trinity, Ben will have a restaurant collapse on top of him, be seduced and later shot at by a Welsh femme fatale, meet someone else’s imaginary friend, lose both a wife and an ex-wife, and eventually discover Trinity’s real reason for returning.
The story deals with fate and consequences, learning to trust yourself, accidentally finding perfection once you give up looking for it and, last but not least, the unexpected advantages of unstable scaffolding.
Is there a sequel? / What other projects are in the pipeline?
I’m not planning on writing a sequel, but I have worked out a way to make a sequel be believable to the reader should I ever write one. Sorry if that sounds a bit cryptic, but anyone who has read the book will understand.
As for other projects, I have a partially written work in progress that is set in an alternative 1940s America, where crime is rife, thanks to a strike by the police department, mambo music is everywhere, and a mysterious figure known as The Raven is killing gangland bosses. The main characters are Sam, an ex-reporter and his friends: Frankie, female owner of a roadside diner; Red McNeil, the world’s ugliest man; Candy, Red’s girlfriend and cigarette girl at The Blue Flamingo nightclub; Punch-bag and Pretty-boy, two nightclub bouncers; and Lulu Ventura, a transsexual Mambo singer.
I’ve also got a couple of ideas I am quite excited about, so which one will make it as the next book remains to be seen.
Do you have a writing schedule?
Not at the moment. Most of my time is being taken up with promoting Trinity. Actually, it has come as quite a shock just how much time and effort has to go into it. However, when I am writing, I do it everyday for as long as I can.
Do you write directly onto a computer, or do you lay out in notebooks first?
I write directly onto my computer. My handwriting looks like a Parkinson’s sufferer with the DTs has done it, so I wouldn’t be able to decipher anything I wrote in a notebook.
Where is your favourite place to write in?
I have a room in my house that I’ve converted into an office. It houses my computers and Wacom graphic tablets. That is where I do my writing, as well as my graphics work.
What is your creative process like?
With writing, I don’t have a creative process as such; I just wait for the idea to strike. With the graphics work, I’m usually working from a brief, so I take that as the starting point and go from there.
What, for you, are the basic ingredients of a good story?
Writing that becomes invisible, and characters I care about. For me, characters are everything. Good characters, written well, will drive a story. I much prefer to read stories like those than ones where the plot is king.
How do you create your characters?
Up until now, all my characters have arrived fully formed and complete with their names, in my head. I know everything about them from the start. What they like and dislike. Their hopes, dreams and aspirations, and what they look like. All I do is tell their stories.
Do you prefer first or third person narrative?
As a reader, I don’t mind if the narrative is first person or third person, past tense or present tense, as long as it’s written well and tells a good story. As a writer, I seem to default to first person, mainly because it’s easier to write, and I’ve always been a sucker for the easy option.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don’t stop writing until you have finished the first draft. Don’t keep going back to edit and fiddle with bits. It is so important to get the first draft written, and the sense of achievement you’ll feel is like nothing else. But if you constantly go over the previous day’s work, editing and changing bits over and over, you’ll never move on and will probably end up ditching it. When the first draft is complete, that is the time to go back and rewrite and correct things.
What has your experience as an indie author been like so far?
Enjoyable, I have met a lot of very supportive and friendly people since publishing, and I feel like I’m part of a community. It has also, as I mentioned before, been very time consuming.
Which would you recommend: traditional publishing or indie?
My experience of traditional publishing is very small. The one and only short story I’ve ever written was published by Twisted Tongue magazine, and it was republished in a couple of anthologies. And a small independent publisher offered me a contract for Trinity, but they went out of business before printing a single copy.
With indie publishing, I am in control, and that is a good feeling. And even though the promotion and marketing is a lot of work, I would be expected to do it if I was traditionally published. So, indie publishing is right for me, but I know it won’t be right for every writer.
Where can readers find your work and connect with you?
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/7fq8rzt
Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/7ecvkom
My blog: http://oneloosecannon.wordpress.com/
Are there any online author/reader communities you would like to recommend?
Authonomy can be a useful resource if you can sort the genuine advice and feedback from the rest.
YouWriteOn is good for getting feedback on your work, or at least it was when I was active on the site.
http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php is a good hangout for writers of all experience levels. Drop by and say hello, I go by the screen name Foxy on there.