Today's guest is MuseItUp Publishing's author, Pat Dale. Pat is discussing his January release The Evil Within.
AUTHOR: Pat Dale
BOOK TITLE: THE EVIL WITHIN
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing
BUY LINK: www.tinyurl.com/7z9m97c
Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?
If you asked my wife about me, she’d probably respond with one word: intense. When I pursue something, I do it with passion. I was a musician, composer, and teacher for decades, and had a very satisfying career. I’d always written short stories and poems, and had an itch to become a novelist. After I retired from teaching, I had time to pursue it, and here I am.
Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.
THE EVIL WITHIN comes out in January, 2012. It is a mainstream saga that follows the path of war-weary Adam Watson after he suffers from PTSD and comes back to his Ozark home to recover. Thinking he’s found refuge from the evil he’d seen in Iraq, he learns that the same kind of evil exists in his home town, his family, and even in himself. It is an engaging book but not for the faint of heart.
How long have you been writing?
I began my first novel in the spring of 1996. Interestingly, it is still being revised and polished. After that 100K+ monster was completed, I turned to a more romantic style, one that follows my work to the present time, though Evil is a real departure. Not remotely romantic, though there are love scenes in the book!
What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
While in undergraduate college, my English profs tried to convince me to become a novelist; said my writing was spectacular. I was a musician, first and foremost, so I pursued a music career with that intensity I mentioned earlier. As for what inspired me in that first novel effort, it was sunbeams reflecting off the gorgeous hair of a waitress in my favorite café. Wacky, eh? I watched her flirting with her boyfriend who’d come in for coffee, and thought up a ‘what-if’, and three months later, I had a huge manuscript all but done. And it’s still all but done. Go figure…
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?
I do not. Tried that once and the novel never got off the ground. One of my failings, but after I write about a character in action, my brain tells me I’ve already written it, so leave it alone. Now you know I’m wacky.
As I said with the first effort, I imagine a character and a storyline that puts the character into a situation, and off I go. I’m blessed with a wild imagination, and for whatever reason can develop subplots, foretelling, planting, and all the other writer devices as I go. Blessing or curse? I’m not sure which.
What comes first: the plot or the characters?
One character comes to life in my brain, and soon after that a plot.
Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?
Let me start with pity. In The Evil Within, I have a supporting girl, Kelly, for whom I feel guilt for writing her into the outcome she suffered. I can’t give it away since nobody has read the book yet, but she is a truly tragic figure.
As for fear, I’d say that would be Jane Rivers, the protagonist from my recently published psychological suspense novel, Crossed Lines. She is warped from early life by unfortunate circumstances, dysfunctional, and a schemer, but brilliant. And she treats her enemies with no measure of compassion. Yes, I’d fear that woman.
Now for hate, I’d have to say that would be Win Biscayne, the antagonist in my to-be-released in April mystery novel, Toccata. He preys on young girls and does unspeakably evil things to them. Yes, in his case, hate and revulsion.
As to love, this is the hard part. I have many characters I enjoyed bringing to life, but if I had to choose one, it have to would be Hayward Lazarus/Rick Diamond from A Girl’s Best Friend. Laz shows heroic drive, desperate cunning, and a heart of gold when he sets up his own death to thwart a national security crisis. And lives to tell about it.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I tend to have strong empathy for my characters, even ones such as Jane whom I mentioned above. The hardest part for me is writing any of them into death scenes. I love killing off bad guys, but confess to shedding tears when the good guys die.
Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?
Some do and some don’t. I tend to follow the old saw of ‘write what you know’, but sometimes I have to do a measure of research to get my facts straight. For Best Friend, I had to go to some lengths to make sure the scenes from Amsterdam were accurate enough, that folks in Holland will believe I’ve been there. It helped that one of my daughters had been there and could verify what I’d researched.
The Evil Within was originally a NaNoWriMo project and took 30 days to complete the rough draft. Thinking I’d dropped a bomb, imagine my surprise when I went back to it two months later and found a very solid basis for the finished novel. All I had in the beginning was an idea about a soldier, damaged by war, and seeking solitude in his home. I used my own childhood setting for the story because the culture there is not much changed from the middle of the last century.
What are some of the challenges in your writing process?
Thankfully, I’ve been able to sidestep many of the problems writers face. My biggest challenge now is physical. My eyesight is starting to fail, and my right pinkie collapses when I reach for the shift tab. Things like that frustrate me, but I have to take it in stride. I continually remind myself of what it would be like to tap out my enormous books on an old typewriter, and have to use whiteout for the mistakes, not to mention the drudgery of constantly having to type out revisions and the like. Writing in the olden times was torturous under any other circumstances. Thank to powers that be for computers and word processors!
What books or authors have influenced your writing?
I grew up reading John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway. They and many of the classic American writers have been a huge influence. John Grisham for dramatic prose, and Nora Roberts for romance, are also in the mix. Now that I’m writing mysteries, I love Lisa Jackson’s work.
What do you see for the future of publishing and e-books?
We’re in a real maelstrom of change at the moment. EBooks have not only become legitimate, but are swiftly overtaking paper books in sales. I still love having a printed book with my name emblazoned on it, though. Probably after the turmoil has died down, we’ll see that print on demand has revolutionized the book world. In the old days, a book was on store shelves for a few weeks or months, and then found a dusty spot on the publishers warehouse until it either caught fire again or was dropped from the list. With POD, a book wastes no paper, and is available potentially forever.
What are your current books out right now and what books are coming up for
I have three romantic comedies out with Red Rose Publishing, For the Love of Hattie, Goldie’s Bear, and Don’t Bet on It. Whimsical Publications has published two, A Girl’s Best Friend and Crossed Lines. Awe-struck/Mundania released four to date, Sleeping with her Enemy, Dance with the Devil, Zach’s Amazing Dream Machine, and Blue Streaks, with two more on their way, The Evil Within in January and Toccata in April. I currently have four more manuscripts not yet published, and several others in the works.
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Above all else, approach the fiction world with patience, and only then after you’ve written more than one book, preferably more. There are maybe 30 million word processors and because you’ve written a novel on one does not mean it is ready for prime time. If your writing is good, it’ll be even better when you’ve honed it to within an inch of its life. Good in this business is not good enough. Better is marginal, but if you want to catch the eye of folks who can advance your budding career, go for nothing but the best you can do. Excellence rises as cream from milk. Give it a little time and its ready to flavor your coffee. Stir it too much or too soon and you only weaken the flavor.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
I have a website: http://www.patdale.net
a blog: www.patdalesblog.blogspot.com
http://www.mundania.com click on Awe-Struck titles
Blending into dense foliage, Adam focused on his target. Sensing danger, the rabbit stopped foraging. Adam’s eagle vision locked on his prey, his finger tightening on the trigger as beads of sweat dribbled into his eyes. He blinked. And blinked again.
Before he could squeeze off a round the sounds and smells of battle echoed in his brain—warning cries from his buddies, the hard metallic thump of an RPG hitting their Bradley. And then their screams!
The eyes of the rabbit had changed; green, advancing on him. He wanted to pull the trigger but frozen in panic, he couldn’t.
“Adam! Don’t shoot! It’s me!”
Adam blinked again. How the hell did Uncle Ernie get here?