Can you believe the year is almost over? Crazy, right? This will be our last week posting until the new year, so lets dive in and enjoy. Today we're talking with author TR Patrick about the award winning YA Dystopian novel, PLATFORM 21.
Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, I do write as well – so it seems I found the right place! As for me, I’ve been a sailor, politician, engineer, writer, and a ghost hunter. Don’t ask me how I managed to get it all done, it just sort of happened. As a military brat, I traveled all around the United States, and as a Navy Sailor, I’ve crossed every single latitude line this earth has to offer. In my travels I found some incredible stories that demand to be told. So, I gave in to those voices in my head and penned together a few novels. Platform 21 was the first one worthy of publication.
How long have you been writing?
Not long enough, but I started when I was nine years old. I hope to be writing for the next fifty years or so. It all depends on my health I guess. Sanity helps as well.
Tell us about PLATFORM 21. What’s the story about?
Platform 21 follows Luke Gibson, a High School Sophomore, in the year 2052. His life is suddenly turned upside down after he inexplicably survives what should have been his untimely death. He and his entire family were murdered in a devastating terrorist attack which claimed the lives of 80,000. Afterwards, he finds himself in some kind of alternate reality. His family, home town, and just about everything else is different – except the event that brought him to his new world. He watches as history repeats itself, all while reeling from the realization his sister, Laura, was the victim of a brutal homicide years before.
Luke sets his sight on discovering the truth about his sister. He uses her death as motivation to push on through life, a life that didn’t belong to him. Along the way, he meets a mysterious girl named Angela. She was there with him when he should have died. Angela was with him in his dreams. She is the only one besides Luke who recalls what happened in their previous life and together they investigate what happened to Laura. The closer Luke and Angela get to the truth, the more they begin to realize Laura’s death is connected to the global conspiracy that consumes the world.
How did the idea of the story come to you?
I have no idea. I’m still trying to figure this one out myself . . .
It all began with such an obscure concept, I’m not really sure I want to reveal the idea that started it all. However, I could envision a beginning and an end. From there, I needed characters, a strong supporting cast, sub-plots; etc. In the end, the characters and their stories ended up changing most everything. Beyond the Veil – as a series – has had its direction changed considerably throughout my time writing Platform 21. In a way, my characters drove the story, and how it ended up being shaped.
This is perhaps the easiest way to describe it: “The voices in my head told me what to write.”
Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?
Yes. All of the above. I also have a professional editor. Her name is Victoria Rae Schmitz and she is the owner of Crimson Tide Editorial. Her efforts made the flow of the writing superior. To me, there simply isn’t a better choice for editing.
Every writer should enlist the help of test readers. The question is, “When does Test Reading begin?” Well, that answer is simple. It begins before anything else in the writing process. You need a group of individuals to bounce ideas off of. Talk about your characters to them, where the book is going, etc. It’s a difficult balancing act because you don’t want to spoil the book (you want to get as much honest feedback as possible, and spoiling something takes the edge off their initial reactions to reading it).
The next question, “When does test reading end?” Never! Even after publication, listen to everyone who has the time to read your book. There is no feedback more valuable than that of a paying customer.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Yes – though I’m not sure what these terms are suggesting exactly. I’m going to take a wild guess and assume a plotter is someone who thoroughly outlines their book prior to writing, whereas a pantser is flying by the seat of their pants.
Yes, that's it exactly.
Yes, that's it exactly.
I’m a plotter in that I spend a lot of time building my world. I have a thorough understanding of what’s happening throughout the world, and beyond. I have an entire encyclopedia of characters (most of whom weren’t introduced in Platform 21) who are ready to act at a moment’s notice. I know the beginning and the end, and how/where the important plot points come to be. However, I do not outline anything.
I introduce the characters to their setting, and let them go from there. My writing style requires an awful lot of role playing. It is my opinion that just like in real life, everyone in this world thinks they are the main character of their own story. They each have their motivations, and flaws. They all have a breaking point, they all have a vice. I engineered the characters in a way that they would cross lines, create drifts, and expose one another to their weaknesses.
Everything in Beyond the Veil is Character Driven. My characters have surprised me, changed the entire course of the series, and left me in shock and awe. There are some parts of this book that blew me away, and in all honesty – there were some things that I didn’t even see coming. My writing is at its best when my characters are in control of their own destiny. As a result, I write from the beginning to the end, and I do not jump around. How can I write page 257 if I don’t know what happened on page 132?
I could tell you, but then I'd be giving away my secrets. ;) What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
Getting into character, and maintaining my ‘groove’. I can’t write while distracted, and I am distracted easily. I love writing, but sometimes getting started is a lot harder than it should be. I never write a line unless I can get into character. Considering how many characters I write, it is a very difficult process to begin. I’m both an actor and author when I’m at the writing desk. It’s much harder than it seems.
What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?
As a Young Adult author, I feel it necessary to maintain a clean image – however I must admit that an Irish Coffee goes a long way in helping me find my writer’s groove. A good set of noise canceling headphones and a keyboard are also absolutely necessary as well. A good working computer with a word processor . . . and the right music mix.
What are you reading right now?
I don’t read when I’m actively engaged in writing. However, I did just finish “Like Ice” by Sherry Torgent and I began Divergent by Veronica Roth. Unfortunately, my Kindle Paperwhite is put away for now. It’ll be a few more months before I take a stab at another book.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Infinite Energy. I don’t want to sleep unless I want to. My mind will never tire, and my muscles will never break. I just want to have the ability to use all 24-hours as it seems I never have enough time to work my full time job, spend time with my family, and write.
What's the weirdest thing you've googled?
I’m tempted to answer this question with, “What does the fox say?” – But I feel that would be taking an easy way out. The weirdest google search I’ve probably run over the years would have to be . . . hmm . . . there are quite a few options here . . . So there was this one particular grave stone in Riverview Cemetery that caught my interest. It is a giant cube, and it sits right across from the main entrance of the cemetery. I wanted to know everything about the marker, who created it – why, and how. It led me down the strangest bit of history I’ve encountered. To go any further would reveal a potential spoiler for my future books, so I’ll leave it at that.
I'm very tempted to embed the video of What Does the Fox Say? into this post. Hehehe. But I digress. Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: platform, formation, and animated.
The raving rhinos roamed through plains of the valley in formation, as the necromancer animated the remains of their ancestors on the platform of the plateau above.
Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...
If I’m not writing, I’m probably working, or sleeping; there isn’t much time for anything else.
Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
So many to list – if I forget anyone, it was not intentional!
My test readers, who shall not be named in case people want to hound them for what happens in the books to come.
Regina Wamba, an amazing cover artist and brilliant mind behind the cover of Platform 21.
Victoria Rae Schmitz, of Crimson Tide Editorial, the book would not be what it is without your help.
The people who make those chocolate covered espresso beans.
Tia Souders – Simply one of the best book promoters in the business!
Murk Patrick, the incredibly talented photographer who captured my author photos.
Farmers everywhere! I do like to eat …
My lovely family!
And that yellow lab who sits next to me at my writing desk.
And finally, where can people find you and your books online?