Author Patrick Redmond Answers all our Questions
- Latest Book: The Night Visitor
- Can you give us the ‘elevator pitch’ version of your latest book.
The Night Visitor is a ghost story set in Cornwall. The heroine, Meg, is psychic and has spent most of her life trying to escape her gift, only to discover that the dead are too strong to be silenced. If you like a (hopefully) creepy read with a mystery to solve and some romance too then this is the book for you. Oh, and the descriptions of the Cornish scenery are very nice!
- Tell us something about yourself that we likely don’t know! The more obscure the better!
I am addicted to stories about decadent European Royalty and read every book on the subject I can find! My favourite dynasty is The Romanovs. What went on in Eighteenth-century Imperial Russia was insane! It makes Henry VIII and his six wives look very dull.
- Do you write in silence, or with music? If you write to music, give us the top three songs on your writers’ playlist this week.
I always write with music. It’s great for helping to create the right mood. My top three songs at the moment are –Tori Amos – Raining BloodRobyn – Missing UM83- Outro (theme song from the TV series Versailles)
- Are you a Plotter or Pantser?
I’ve never head the expression “pantser” so I guess I’m a plotter! I do always plot my novels before writing them, though it’s more a question of creating a skeleton which may change as the writing process develops, which leads us on to your next question…
- Have your characters ever ‘gone off script’ – hijacked your story and taken it in a direction you didn’t expect?
YES!!! This has happened a few times but most noticeably with my first book, “The Wishing Game” which is about the friendship between two teenage boys at a repressive English boarding school in the 1950s. Originally it was intended to be a straight forward horror novel but the character of the dominant boy in the friendship, Richard Rokeby, just took over the story and it ended up becoming a much more psychological novel dealing with the dangers of charisma and the power that a strong personality can exert over a weak one.I always think it’s like your characters are actors. At the start of the novel they are desperate wannabees who will do anything just to get the part, but by the time you’re a third of the way through they’ve become A-list stars who have a very clear sense of who they are and what they will and will not do!
- If you could spend time with any character from any of your books, who would it be and what would you do?
Either Meg Parker from “The Night Visitor” or Susie Sparkle from “Apple of My Eye”. I just really like them as people. Also, Jonathan Palmer (the weaker of the two boys in “The Wishing Game”). I’d want to tell him to keep clear of Richard Rokeby, but then again if I did that there wouldn’t be a story so maybe I’d better not meet him after all!!!
- Which of your characters can you say you would least get along with in real life
There are loads, but one, in particular, would be Max Somerton – the landlord in my second book, “The Puppet Show”. He is the textbook definition of a control freak, and a very dangerous one too!
- Do you read your reviews?
Sometimes, yes. Most of mine have been positive – thank God! – but there have been some negative ones too. The first few hurt, but the more books you write the thicker your skin becomes. You realise that not everyone is going to like your work and as long as enough people do that’s all that matters. Also, some of the criticisms will be valid and help you keep improving as an author.
- What has been the toughest criticism you have been given since becoming a published author?
I can’t think of anything specific, though it’s always tough when someone dismisses with a single sentence a book you’ve spent a year or more slaving over. I do remember one Amazon review for “The Wishing Game” which said it was clear I had never set foot in a boarding school in my life. Apart from the seven years I attended one in Essex the reviewer was absolutely right!!
- What is the best compliment you have received?
A publisher once compared me to Patricia Highsmith – one of my idols. If only it were true!
- Do you have a day job when you are not writing? If so, what do you do?
I don’t at the moment, though I was once a City Solicitor specialising in EU Law.
- Can you name three authors who have inspired your writing?
Patricia Highsmith, Ira Levin and Stephen King. All are absolute masters of their craft.
- What was your favourite book as a child?
Fiction wiseI’m not sure. There were so many. My non-fiction favourite was a book called “Kings and Queens in History” that my Dad gave me when I was eight. It covered the lives of people like Mary Queen of Scots, Peter the Great and Marie Antoinette and I read it so many times I knew much of it by heart. I still love history today and that book was definitely one of the reasons why.
- What scene in your latest book was the hardest scene to write (without giving away too many spoilers!)
There’s a bereavement scene that was difficult. We have all experienced bereavement at some point and writing about it from the point of view of someone else can often trigger vivid memories of our own lost loved ones.
- Do you have any other author friends? If so, can you name a few and have any of them given you a piece of advice you would consider invaluable on your publishing journey?
I’m friends with the lovely Lisa Hall, and have just finished reading her latest book, “The Party” which is terrific. I’m also friendly with Mark Hill, Darren O’Sullivan, Paddy Magrane, Alan Williams, David Videcette and Mark Billingham with whom I recently had a fascinating conversation, discussing the virtues of 1970s Prog Rock!
For Bonus Brownie Reader Points – Answer our four fabulous frivolous questions:
- What is your biggest fear?
Losing loved ones.
- If you could have any superhero power, what would it be?
Flying. I’ve done it in my dreams and would love to be able to do it for real!
- If you could write one line to be etched into your tombstone, what would it read?
A genius when it came to recognizing good pizza.
- If you could give your younger self ONE piece of advice, what would it be?
Never lose faith in yourself. Just because something seems impossible doesn’t mean that it can’t still be done.
You can purchase Patrick’s latest book: The Night Visior here on Amazon.
You can read our full review of The Night Visitor here.