Nadine Brandes interviews Patrick Carr

Nadine Brandes, author of A Time to Die and the upcoming A Time to Speak, interviews Patrick W. Carr, the author of the Staff and the Sword series and the upcoming Darkwater Saga. The action is taking place in the comments. ;o)

Patrick will be giving away a copy of The Shock of Night to one lucky commenter! Squarespace keeps no record of the email of commenters, so to be eligible for a prize, either leave your email address (in spambot-proof format: yourname at whatever dot com) or safer still, subscribe to the comments by email, just above the comment box to the right.

Patrick W. Carr

Patrick W. Carr

Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes

Amazon links to Patrick's books:

Nadine's first question:

Why are you passionate about writing fantasy instead of some other genre?

I've pulled the comments up into the text again for easier reading. I left out a couple because they weren't entirely on-topic but you're free to scroll down to read them if you like. ;o)

Nadine Brandes
Hi Patrick! The above question has already been touched upon in some of the questions asked during your Q&A, but is there anything you’d like to add or go deeper about?

Patrick Carr
I think it's because it allows me the opportunity to really let my imagination fly. In school my teachers used to yell at me a lot for daydreaming. Ha! The joke's on them. I get paid to do it now.

Nadine Brandes
I'm assuming you don't tell that to all the daydreaming students you have in your math classes... ;-)

Patrick Carr
Actually, I have quite a few math students who really struggle. I remember one in particular who worked very hard and just barely passed. She came to me crying and apologizing. She credits me with giving her a very good piece of advice which was, "Find something you love and be really good at it."
Every now and then being a teacher has some amazing moments.

Nadine Brandes
That sounds very rewarding as well.

Nadine Brandes
You are a father, a high school math teacher, AND you were recently student, correct? I know you said in the Q&A that you write for an hour each morning (your commitment inspires me!), but do you ever have a chance to read and keep up on what’s happening in your genre? What do you tend to pick up if you have time to read?

Patrick Carr
I don't get to read nearly as much as I'd like. I'm so looking forward to retirement. Ha! When I do get the chance to read, I will read whatever's got a lot of buzz in the fantasy world. I want to see what the fuss is about and plus it's fun to see the masters at work. I've been meaning to read "The Way of Kings" forever and just haven't been able to block out the time. It's massive!

Nadine Brandes
Ah yes, Brandon Sanderson. I've heard his name over and over this past year so he's made it to my TBR list, but I haven't found the time to crack open one of his books yet. Do you have a favorite book he's written that you'd recommend?

Patrick Carr
He did a masterful job completing The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. A shorter work that won't dent your schedule too much would be "The Alloy of Law." I really enjoyed it. Flawless world-building.

Faith Song     
Brandon Sanderson did a very good job on Steelheart. I just read that, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Nadine Brandes
I've heard a lot about Steelheart. Haven't heard of "The Alloy of Law." Now I want to go read...

 Katie Grace
Ooh. My favorite book by Brandon Sanderson would have to be "The Rithmatist." I've also read "The Way of the Kings" (which was good, but became rather long and drawn out in parts) and "Steelheart." I just got Mistborn from the library and am excited to read it. I've heard SO many good things about it.

Nadine Brandes
Speaking of flawless world building...let's talk a bit about your writing and books. ;-)
I’ve heard you say a few times that The Hero’s Lot (book 2) is your favorite book from the Staff and Sword trilogy. Was it simply the plot that made it your favorite? Was it easier to write? Can you give us some insight on this?

Patrick Carr
That's is one of the nicest compliments I've ever gotten. I think The Hero's Lot is my favorite because I had a lot of the world-building settled and I could just let my characters and story lines run wild. I still had the third book to rein everything in so the second book was mostly about going deeper with the characters. Plus, there were scenes i'd been planning ever since starting the first book and now I was finally getting to write them! The whole book was one long adrenaline rush during the first draft.

Nadine Brandes
That sounds awesome! Following this same vein of thinking: Which book has been the hardest for you to write? Not just out of the Staff and Sword series, but in general?

Patrick Carr
That's probably a toss-up between A Draw of Kings and the one I'm working on now, The Shattered Vigil. There are times, way more than I'd admit to, when my creativity well just dries up for a while. There's nothing to do for it, but keep writing. This summer I was 40,000 words into The Shattered Vigil and realized I was going to have to do a complete rewrite. The way I'd chosen to write about the plot line, was just NOT going to work. I think I moped around the house for 4 days doing nothing because I was so depressed by the prospect. But I'm feeling much better now. :-)

Nadine Brandes
Glad to hear you're doing better! I'm learning the pain of writing when uninspired, too. Ick.
Sometimes we need those four days of moping to recover and return further inspired. :-)

Do you ever notice a recurring theme or message throughout your writing, especially as you’re starting a new series? If so, what is it? What’s that one message/feeling/question you hope your reader takes away from the books?

Patrick Carr
It's something I keep coming back to because it's so important to me. Everybody's broken and our brokenness is often our greatest strength. A lot of times I have to rewrite scenes because I feel like I'm getting too heavy-handed with it, but there's no denying it's important to me. I'm not sure I can write a book without it in there.

Nadine Brandes
That's beautiful, and a great reminder for all of us. Watching Errol master his own struggles was very inspirational. I'm sure it resonates with every reader since we are all broken and have our own struggles to fight daily.

Kristine     
I loved your Staff and the Sword series, and am very much looking forward to this new series. This is the first I've heard about it, so can you give a brief synopsis of it? Does it tie in at all to the last series?

Patrick Carr
Kristine,
Thanks for dropping by. The new series is called "The Darkwater Saga." It has no connection to The Staff and the Sword. Think of Darkwater as a blend of Sherlock and The Screwtape Letters in a medieval setting. Along with that, my main character is suffering from PTSD. Tagline: "What if the clues to a crime that could destroy your world were hidden in your mind?"

Nadine Brandes
I'm SO excited for the Darkwater Saga!

Patrick Carr
Hopefully it won't stink up the joint. I'm in the middle of the final galleys now. Not my favorite part of the writing process.

Faith Song     
That sounds fascinating! I went to the page for The Shock of Night, and it sounds pretty epic.

Patrick Carr
Yes! Detective-suspense-epic-medieval-fantasy. Why write one genre when you can write them all?

Kristine den Boon
Thanks! Sounds intriguing!
Also, will By Divine Right be available in any other formats? Ie. book or from other ebook vendors such as Kobo?

Patrick Carr     
Kristine,
I don't know. I'm assuming it will be in other formats such as Nook. One thing I don know is that it's e-book only and perma-free. So that's a good thing.

Kristine den Boon
:-)

Nadine Brandes
Aside from Errol, who was your favorite character to write or get to know in your books? I’ve only read the first book so far (can’t wait to get to the next ones), but I really liked the side character Liam a lot.

Patrick Carr     
Hands down, Rokha is my favorite character. I hadn't really planned on using her for more than the first book, but she was too good not to. Aside from that I really enjoyed writing those scenes with Cruk and Waterson (3rd book). The cynical look at life makes them so much fun to write.
Liam was probably the toughest character to write: period. And I still try to figure out how I could have done him better. So far, I haven't come up with anything. I can't tell you why without giving away the rest of the story, but suffice to say, his characterization gave me a lot of trouble. I'm glad you like him; that makes me feel a little better.

Nadine Brandes
I think tonight might be a reading night for me when we're done. I've been aching to continue reading your series for months! And yes, Rokha was fantastic. She was one of those characters that became instantly in-depth the moment we met her. I love where you took her in book one.
This might be a trivial question but…what made you choose to have Errol master the staff? I can’t BEGIN to express how refreshing it was not to have to trudge through pages and pages of sword fight training!

Patrick Carr
Theology. The series is called The Staff and the Sword. Read the rest of the series with this in mind. When Jesus came the first time, he came as the shepherd. When he comes next, he comes as the conqueror. I always laugh when people say they like the series because it's not preachy. Beneath the surface, it's one of the most preachy things I've ever read.

Nadine Brandes
I love that your answer goes deeper than "I just like staffs more than swords." Very intentional...and eye opening. :-)

Athelas Hale
I really, really loved Waterson. Something about his quiet cynicism about everything, and yet he was also brave - even loyal, though it could take a little digging from what you first see to know that. I enjoyed having him in your books.

Julie Dick     
What was the last book you read that surprised you?

Patrick Carr
Unfortunately, the more I write, the less I'm surprised by other people's writing. It's really annoying not being able to just turn off the analyst and the editor. I read "The Lies of Locke Lamora" this summer and really enjoyed it (Language alert - if it was a movie it would be "R"). I really enjoyed the author's style and thee were some interesting plot twists. The most surprising fantasy book I ever read was "Tigana" by Guy Kay. The ending totally hit me between the eyes like a 2 by 4.

Nadine Brandes
I hope you have time to get to this question, simply to satisfy my curiosity...
How do your story ideas come to you? Character-first? Plot-first? Question-first? Storyworld-First?

Patrick Carr
Character-driven plot first. With my new series, Willet, my detective, came to me first with all his flaws and problems. The plot flowed from there.

Patrick Carr
Thanks for coming, everybody. I had fun! :-)

Nadine Brandes
Thanks for the interview, Patrick! it was fun and inspiring.