Interview with Patrick Heffernan

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a little town called LaPorte, Texas, and two of my novels are centered on Texans in the general Houston area. But those who are Texan will understand what I mean when I say Texas is at least as much a state of mind as it is one of geography. I don't know how much LaPorte itself influenced me, though. I think the entirety of anyone's life influences who he is, and in the case of authors, what he writes. I was a paramedic for a long while and worked in a hospital doing ECG telemetry, but while some of that medical knowledge has seeped into my writing, I've never written an EMS-based novel, and certainly never one about working telemetry (although that would be a verbal equivalent of an overdose on Valium, probably) and I've never considered writing about growing up in LaPorte.
When did you first start writing?
I tinkered about with it, nothing serious, as a teenager with a ballpoint pen and a spiral notebook. Many years ago (I never transcribed it nor published it) I wrote a novel entirely in spiral notebooks at a couple Denny's locations after getting off work. Until ten years or so ago I never really considered trying to publish. It's an evolutionary process from penning the tale to ... well ... to growing the balls to publish it and see how it does.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Nothing Left to Lose is a novel about a man whose wife and son are killed when terrorists set off a bomb on their plane home from a Spring Break trip to Disneyworld in Florida, and about his resulting fury and reaction to the situation. In a lot of ways, I kicked around Nothing Left to Lose in my head for a couple years before sitting down and writing it. I think current events certainly influenced it, but I think I also have changed how I see things since my son was born. The novel also explores perhaps a glance into what the terrorists really want. Would I react as did the hero of the novel, Kevin Sullivan? Probably not as well, but I'd certainly want revenge because, like Kevin, I'd have nothing left to lose at that point.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love to write. Downright and completely, I love to write. Traditional publishing, however, is much like ... say ... major league baseball. Many are called, many have the dream, even the talent, but few are chosen for "the show" or even the farm teams. But whether or not I publish I'm going to write anyway, and hopefully they'll take off and make me rich and famous. Eh, fuck famous (I really don't want fame) but I certainly deserve the opportunity to prove to God that being filthy rich won't spoil me, huh?
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I write, I get to be God. I get to create a whole world, I get to create everyone in that world, and I get to direct all that happens in that world and to the people and places there. Who doesn't love to get to be God? But what I also love is when someone tells me "Patrick, I loved that book!" ... it's something I love hearing and yeah, I guess it feeds my muses.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are the entire reason I publish. Their love of what I write is one of those things that keeps me going, and as I said, feeds the muses.
What are you working on next?
I have three novels bubbling up from "Nothing Left to Lose" ... two are liable to be more like companion-piece novellas, but one (near to completion) is Kevin Sullivan's second story. I'm also working on one about a man in Witness Protection and his new life, but that's probably further down the pike.
Who are your favorite authors?
Patrick Heffernan is my absolute favorite author, which is why I spend so much time on that pursuit! But ... the first author whose work I downright loved was Stephen King. When I was 13 years old, the movie "The Shining" came out and my mom flat refused to let me see it, thought it was inappropriate, I guess. But she never really made the leap then (thank God) that ... well, I saw a meme a couple days ago with two burgers. One was lame and sad, really, and captioned "the movie," while the other was a juicy robust bacon cheeseburger that made ya gain weight just looking at it, and was captioned "the book." Books are, with only the rarest exceptions, ten times more intense than the movies, which was a lesson I was soon to learn when I read the book. So I bought "The Shining" at B&J's Bookworm in LaPorte, which was in the same shopping strip as Minimax and Ben Franklin, as well as a Sears outlet (I grew up in a small town, alright?) and took it home to read it. I swear it's like that book reached out, grabbed me by the throat, hauled me in and said "let's party, Bubba!" and I was an addicted reader from that point on.

Since then I've had a number of authors whose work I love. King, of course. WEB Griffin. Vince Flynn, God rest his soul. Tom Clancy. Steve Berry. Recently I've gone wild over Kevin Hearne's "Iron Druid" novels as well as Lisa Lutz's "Spellman" series. I've also enjoyed Dan Brown's Robert Langdon books. I also really enjoy Jacqueline Carey, whose "Kushiel" series were one of the inspirations for my first published novel "Gospel of the Keeper" ... Yeah, my tastes are eclectic.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My young son poking me and demanding breakfast. Otherwise I'd sleep a lot more than I do. By a combination of nature and experience I'm a nightowl and seldom go to bed before 0100, and left to my own items and devices I would sleep until noon or so every damn day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to read. I like movies. I spend too much fucking time on Facebook, but don't we all? And when he's home from day care, I spend a lot of time with my kid, who genuinely fascinates me.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Fortunately my wife is a librarian and knows my tastes well. And sometimes I just roll the dice and grab something and see if I like it. I look at a new author like trying a new restaurant. If I like it, I'm delighted and have a new place to visit. If it sucks, that's okay, I'm better for having tried it, yes?
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yeah I do.
What is your writing process?
A lot of the time, I only spend a week or two actually sitting at my computer and writing a book. But I might spend years kicking it around in my head as an epic mind movie until I finally put pen to paper.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Cat in the Hat? Seriously?
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I had a Nook HD briefly but was dissatisfied with it (sorry, Barnes & Noble, but you're still my favorite place to by paper books!) and now I have an iPad and really like it.
Published 2013-08-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Greywalker
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 65,500. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Spiritual & metaphysical
(5.00)
By day, Amos Garr is a regular guy, a hotshot truck driver running freight hither and yon. But by night, he is a warrior for the Light, a Greywalker fighting for the side of Light and good, and an assassin in Michael’s army.
Rebellion: The Gospel of the Keeper
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 72,540. Language: English. Published: August 21, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00)
Princess Elinia has reached womanhood. The gods have anointed the stable-hand Artolo to be her Keeper and Protector. Soon, a rebellion is fomented in a duchy and Elinia and Artolo discover love and passion, and experience war and bravery and all the cruel kindnesses of the gods as they become legends in the Realm.