Today we sit down with author Patrick Parker. Patrick brings a very interesting background to his writing which greatly contributes to his chosen genre. Please enjoy this installment of 20 Questions where we will learn about Patrick’s work, inspiration and background.
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It was by accident really. I picked up a suspense book to read on the plane for a trip. This particular book, by one of the large publishing houses, was hyped as a “must read” and had several endorsements. I thought I couldn’t go wrong. However, I found numerous errors and holes in the plot. In some instances, the story line was not believable. When I returned home, in a conversation, my wife asked how I liked the book. I told her about it, and that I was disappointed. I made an offhanded comment that I could write a better book. She said flat out, “Why don’t you?”
Time passed and I began thinking of her comment, but doubt filled my head. A few travel excursions later, I bought another suspense book and it too, disappointed me. Then I was sent to Panama on a classified assignment. I stopped in at an art gallery hoping to buy a painting as a memento. The owner of the shop was active in the resistance against Manuel Noriega and looked to the United States to rescue her country. She told me at length, about the situation in the country. I found her fascinating. My trip to the isthmus did have many tense and exhilarating moments.
Soon after I returned, in one conversation, my wife asked me again if I was going to write a book. “It is harder than you think,” she said. I think she was just tired of me complaining of the quality of some books. Her comment was all it took. Panama was still fresh in my head and I thought the art dealer would make a very interesting character in a book. The idea took shape and Treasures of the Fourth Reich was born. I enjoyed writing that book.
After retiring from the Army, I worked in the defense industry and developed the concept of War Merchant, which was taken from my corporate and military background. I had a lot of fun writing that novel and bringing it to life.
Almost immediately after I published War Merchant, I started on my next book. It is another suspense novel involving a drug cartel, which aids ISIS in a plan to attack the heartland of the United States. A former Special Operations officer, forced to resign from the Army, leads the planning and attack. I have captured the current political climate in Washington, DC and have used some current events to make a relevant and believable story. This book promises to be another fast-paced, suspense-filled book that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
My writers group keeps telling me they’ll miss me when I’m carted away and placed in the witness protection program. I certainly hope they are wrong and I don’t disappear!
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
I think it takes me about eighteen months. I get the concept down very fast then start doing research. I want to be accurate with the details. I am always checking and double-checking. I submit my work to my writers group and then to my beta readers. After that, the wicked editor will have his or her way with it. Then another close look before it is published. I don’t want to have a book out there that has errors like the ones I complained to my wife about.
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Generally, I do my marketing first thing in the morning while I’m drinking coffee. The majority of the day is at the computer working on my book. I generally write five days a week. My writers group meets on Saturdays and I do need to have time for my chores.
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to write at my desk while listening to classical music and I usually kick off my shoes. Yes, my desk is a disaster area. Is that a quirk?
Q5) How are your books published? (traditional, indie, etc.)
My first book, Treasures of the Fourth Reich, was published by a traditional publisher. When my contract expired, I self-published it. I self-published War Merchant as well.
Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
There is a lot going on in the world now and one just can’t make it up. So, I take from current events or, like in Treasures of the Fourth Reich, from history. I then draw on my military and corporate experience to bring the story to life. I want my readers to ask themselves, which is real and which is fiction? I want the reader to be thrilled and on the edge of their seat all the time, wondering what is going to happen next.
Q7) If you don’t mind sharing, when did you write your first book?
I first published Treasures of the Fourth Reich in 2005.
Q8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I have been focused on my next book for a while and have had little free time, except for a few short vacation trips and the obligatory yard and house chores. I do enjoy scuba diving, sailing, and I try to find time to go to the pistol range.
Q9) What is your favorite book?
I’m not sure if I have just one. Authors like Ken Follett, Robert Ludlum, John le Carré, and, of course, Tom Clancy, inspired me. I think I read most of them. I do like To Kill a Mockingbird and love that dialogue.
Q10) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
My wife is proud of my accomplishments. My daughters are very proud of me as well. My friends are surprised to learn about my writing success and are impressed.
Q11) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
It is a lot of work! You can have the greatest story in your head, but it is something else to get it on paper. Then not everyone will take away from the story the same thing. The slightest error in the plot or detail can throw the reader off; cause them to stop reading; or rate it poorly. The tiniest details count.
Q12) What do you hate most about the writing process?
It takes a long time, and writing is a solitary venture.
Q13) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have two published and will have my third out soon. That’s like asking a parent which is the favorite child. They are different. I have spent the last year or so, nurturing my soon to be released book, for now, it is my favorite.
Q14) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
Keep writing. Join a good writers group and listen to what they tell you. Have your book edited by a professional editor that has experience in your genre.
Q15) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
Some want to see some of the characters return while other just say how much they liked the books. However, I did have one reader that thought Treasures of the Fourth Reich would have been a much better book if I had only focused on one piece of art. However, that was not the point of the book. That was the only comment like that I have received.
Q16) What is your preferred reading audience?
I think male and females alike enjoy my books from about age seventeen and older. I have had several comments from female readers on how much they liked Dydre Rowyn in War Merchant—“She still exudes femininity through all the very male oriented trials and tribulations.”
Q17) What do you think makes a good story?
One that is believable and takes you for a ride. I like stories that paint a picture I can see in my mind. However, poor editing can destroy a good story.
Q18) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be in the Army. I’ve done that but don’t think I have grown up yet.
Q19) Where can we find your books?
My books can be ordered from your favorite bookstore or from Amazon and Createspace.
Q20) Will you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite works?
Yes, an excerpt from War Merchant.
Handing over $5 million for something that didn’t work warranted no second chance, and forgiveness was a bullet. Dydre suspected she was being watched as she approached the café. Her senses strained to hear, see, smell, or touch the danger in time to react.
Just as she rounded the corner of the café, she felt a dull pain as something pressed firmly against her back. Jamaal’s welcoming committee, she thought without turning around. It’s probably the same young scraggly bearded Arab that I worked over before and that’s no doubt the muzzle of his Kalashnikov assault rifle poking me in the back. Dydre froze. “Well, cockroach,” she said. “What’ll it be, you shoot me, or you take me inside to show Jamaal how to operate Ranger?”
“Shut up! Put you hands up.”
“We went through this last time, remember? You aren’t going to feel me up.”
“Shut up! Put you hands up and lean against wall.”
At that moment another man appeared, the same taller and older Arab as before. He shoved Dydre against the wall and stepped behind her. Placing both of his arms around her, he grasped her breasts to check for weapons, then stopped. He slid his hands to her padded waist, then stopped, not feeling her P5. Reaching up, Tall Arab grabbed her hair and pulled it back. The wig came off in his hand. His face registered a combination of surprise and bewilderment as he realized she was in disguise.
Dydre, who had sensed his surprise when he felt her padded bra, took advantage of the split second when the man hesitated. She sprang, kicking up and to the rear, catching him in the groin. With a hard push off the wall, she crashed into the groaning man, knocking him into the younger one. She drew the Walther and fired twice as the two men stumbled backwards. Her first shot hit Tall Arab between the eyes and killed him instantly. Her second shot hit Short Arab in the heart. Although he would be dead by the time he hit the ground, a look of shock covered his face as he struggled to take a half step forward before collapsing.
“Well, shit! This unraveled real quick,” she said to herself. “I’ve got to get the hell out of here! There’ll be no talking done today.”
Dydre bent over to retrieve her wig as two bullets struck the wall behind her. Immediately she hit the ground and rolled into the shadow of the building. Springing to her feet, she darted behind the hulk of a burned-out car ten feet from her. She crouched down and scanned the area in an attempt to locate the shooter. Her heart raced. No one in sight, no movement, she thought. Her mouth was bitter with adrenaline and death seemed nearby. Another scan of the area revealed movement two blocks away—a person in black, then another. Shit! Soldiers. That’s why the shooter stopped. It’s now or never.
About Patrick Parker:
Patrick accepted the challenge from his wife and wrote Treasures of the Fourth Reich. He and his family lived in Italy for five years of his Army career and traveled extensively during his off duty time. Many hours were spent visiting museums, castles, cathedrals, churches and historical sites in Europe. The history of the Nazi lootings became the catalyst for his first novel. He met a fascinating art dealer in Panama just prior to the invasion who helped form the basis for his character Maria in that story.
After retiring from the Army, Patrick worked in the defense industry for fifteen years. While pursuing his writing, he developed the concept of War Merchant, which is taken from his corporate experience and coupled with his military background. After retiring a second time, War Merchant came to life.
Patrick, now settled in Texas, enjoys writing, scuba diving, sailing, and is well into his next suspense filled novel.
Buy Patrick’s Books:
War Merchant available at Amazon: http://bitly.com/1MrIw51
War Merchant available at Createspace: http://bit.ly/1DHuJSI
Treasures of the Fourth Reich at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Nr7f9L
Treasures of the Fourth Reich available at Createspace: http://bit.ly/1WXd8WF
Connect with Patrick:
Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/1izsnBH
Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1pnfAoM
Goodreads Profile page: http://bit.ly/1pnLth0