Hey all! As promised, here is the long-promised reboot of my “Introducing…” series, which focuses on putting new Canadian authors in the spotlight.
Fantasy novels are hot these days. Not only have they gotten young people reading again, they have allowed authors to explore those dark corners of their souls and share them with the world. John W. Patten is one such author, and he spoke to us about his debut novel, Darker Than.
1) Congratulations on publishing your first book, Darker Than! What inspired you to write it?
Thanks, Richard, and thank you for this opportunity! The inspiration for the story behind, Darker Than, came from my knowledge of myths and legends that go beyond werewolves and vampires. I had always been fascinated by the unknown and the supernatural, even as a kid, and it was a lot of fun bringing a few of those mythologies to life in a unique way with Darker Than.
2) Did you have a specific audience in mind for your book?
I didn’t know who my readership would be until I finished the first rough draft and did a read through. After that, I knew I wanted Darker Than to be for a Young Adult audience. My style of writing, mixed with the type of story I wanted to tell, helped to point the way for me. It was a great experience in self-discovery.
3) What, would you say, separates your novel from other titles in this genre?
Just as the title implies, Darker Than delves into characters darker and more mysterious than your average vampire and werewolf. And while you will find vampires and werewolves in my book, it’s established early on that they are working as a team, as opposed to being natural enemies. Other twists and turns I have written definitely warrant the reader to give the book a worthy look.
4) How was the self-publishing experience?
Self-publishing was new to me. I did as much research as I could before diving in, and I still felt it required a leap of faith on my part. Happily, for what it was, the experience went well. So far, there have been little to no surprises with the self-publishing company I chose, and I have been genuinely impressed with their book-crafting abilities. It also helped that I was able to see the quality of their product beforehand, so I knew what to expect.
5) What kind of promotional activities have you been doing to spread the word?
Social Media has been very effective for me to broadcast my first published novel; from Facebook to Twitter, and several other websites in between. I have also just completed my first public book signing, which took place on July 21st, 2013, at my local Chapters store. They like to support local authors and they were fantastic to work with. They helped greatly with promoting Darker Than to their fans and followers. I’m hoping to do the same with other bookstores in the future.
6) Who are your favourite authors? Why do you like them?
I tend to like an eclectic mix of authors; from Stephen King to Patrick deWitt, to Erin Morgenstern and Neil Gaiman. I also enjoy a wide variety of comics authors, as comic books were the reason I became a reader at a young age. The authors I like best are the ones who can pull me into their stories right away, and keep me guessing as to what will happen next. I feel this is a style I have adopted in my writing as a result.
7) Describe your ideal writing environment.
My private office! I’ve only just in the past year been able to carve out an ideal space for myself to relax in and think, and the results to my writing have been fantastic. With my office, I’m able to surround myself with my personal library, my notes, and assorted memorabilia from my childhood, all which help to make me comfortable while writing. Strangely, I find I can also write in complete chaos, such as my workplace’s crowded lunchroom, which is always full of conversations.
8) Do you have another life, career, hobbies, etc?
Well, in another life, I’d like to think I was someone like Batman…but then, who hasn’t? As I mentioned above, I still work full-time. I enjoy reading when I can, and collecting old toys when I shouldn’t. Spending time with friends is also a must, as I feel every writer needs some time away from their craft in order to recharge and gain fresh perspectives.
9) What can we expect next from John Patten?
Currently, I’m working on Book Two of my Witch Key Trilogy, which I hope to release sometime late next year. I’m also in collaboration with a couple different websites to help launch awareness of local literature by providing some original content. Networking and marketing my first novel almost takes as much time writing my second, and it keeps me fairly busy.
10) Where can readers get a copy of Darker Than?
Darker Than is available through many online book retailers, including Chapters Indigo. You can order it through their website or in store at their ordering kiosk. Visiting my website will take you to several links for ordering Darker Than, depending on your format preferences.
I’d like to thank John for speaking with us today, and for enriching Canadian culture by releasing his book.
See you out there!
If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!
Richard Todd is a novelist, screenplay writer, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.