About JW Patrick:
I have written documentaries for television broadcast in both the USA and UK. I mostly write corporate materials but have recently ghost written several biographies. I blog about family life as well as family travel and each year we undertake a 4000 mile road trip somewhere in Europe. I have also renovated and let properties. I recently wrote a non-fiction book called Why have Adventures? for parents. While researching this book, I managed to tip my daughter out of the kayak and into the river. On her third birthday.
What inspires you to write?
I’m a ‘what if’ daydreamer. Whenever I’m in a situation I can’t help imagining how things could go horribly, if such and such was about to walk in now or how much more exciting things could be if XYZ suddenly happened. (I’m not very good at all in genuinely exciting situations!) I love watching people, in airports say and imagining all their darkest secrets, loves and fears. I’d love to know what people are really thinking. People arguing in public are utterly fascinating to me.
Tell us about your writing process.
Generally I keep notepads everywhere, car bedside, by the TV. I’m always jotting down ideas for situations, plot points, characters…arguments. They all just go in any notebook, anywhere. Once I have one great story idea I then start to coalesce the fragments. So I assemble all the notepads together and start transferring the ideas into a brand new, fresh notepad, just for that story or book. It goes everywhere with me. I fold down pages, indexing particular characters, places, sequences of events. I also keep the back half completely clear for writing out in longhand full scenes such as favourite or pivotal moments – preferably with a fountain pen. It doesn’t matter too much about their order at this stage but I do set a few pages aside to start inserting one liner plot points, roughly ordering key events. These remain fluid, of course, as once I start writing longhand and all those key characters who have never met before start interacting – then it can all change. Only once that notepad is more or less full, do I start typing.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I wouldn’t say I talked to my characters but I often do become like them. Particularly if i’m bored, say painting and decorating, which is when I start doing accents and adopting certain…attitudes. Which my wife doesn’t always appreciate.
I do hear my characters arguing a lot though. I can get quite upset listening to my favourite people hurt each other!
What advice would you give other writers?
Never send anything to industry professionals until you’ve had some independent feedback i.e. not friends and family. It’s just too easy to miss obvious basics because we all got hung up on other issues. Everyone’s itching to say NO, so give them as few excuses as possible.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I found a literary agent for The Invincibles quite quickly but ultimately it wasn’t picked up by any publishers. Three separate editors at well-known publishers really liked it and agreed to take forward (and gave great feedback) but ultimately none of them could get it past third base. So I had it subbed and put it out via CreateSpace. I’ll definitely be pursuing both simultaneously next time (quite soon actually).
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It sometimes seems as if there are as many writers as there are readers out there! I had one publisher reject the Invincibles because marketing decided the concept was too similar to other books out there. But for many businesses this is a plus: “you like that? …well you might like this too!” As so few books make money it seems a sensible strategy to me. Indie publishing could also do with some more badge schemes to weed out those first drafts that are published too soon and clutter it all up.
What do you use?: Beta Readers, Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Tween and YA adventures
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print