Unless you have a hooker hiding in that bag, I’m not really seeing how things can get too much better,” [Jack] said. ~ Chapter 1
“Do, or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
A fan of pop culture, Patrick Donovan writes urban fantasy for no other reason than to entertain. His first novel, Demon Jack, makes its home at Fable Press.
He started writing at a young age, drawing his stories on paper bags connected together by his mother. This makeshift canvas was the closest thing he had to a notebook. He thinks characters are what breathe life into a story as the reader watches them fight for survival, make choices (for better or worse) or just fall in love.
Like many authors, he lives off of coffee and would consume it via IV if that was a viable option. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading, gaming and playing dad to the "coolest person on Earth". Armed with his Bachelor’s Degree in writing from High Point University, he is working for a Masters in English with a focus on Creative Writing.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
About me, honestly, I'm not really that cool. I'm kind of a nerd. Ok, I'm a total nerd. I still play freaking DND [Dungeons and Dragons RPG] and stuff like that, which probably explains why I've been single for a hot minute (see years). I guess as far as specifics go, I'm a father, I'm a student, I'm a guy who writes, that's really all there is to it. I want to tell a story that takes someone outta their crap day and makes them forget the world for a bit. It's why I do what I do.
How did your interest in writing come about?
I don't think it really came about. It was kind of always there. When I was a kid, I used to think my family was a little on the poor side, because I didn't have all the stuff my friends did. Either way my mom would give me brown paper grocery bags cut down the side so that they folded out into one big sheet. I thought it was because we didn't have any money, though looking back that probably I'd draw stories on them before I really knew how to write.
Do you have a specific writing style? How would you categorize it?
Style, not really. Honestly, I just try to tell a story that people will dig. I mean, Jim Butcher, who's a huge influence on me, when he writes it's almost like Harry Dresden is sitting down with you and having a beer. You start feeling like he's telling you his story, not that you're reading it. I really like that vibe, but I don't try to copy it.
What inspired you to write this first book-Demon Jack?
The idea for Jack as a character came from a lot of different places. I remember a bit part of it, I was watching some Police Procedural show on TV and they had this homeless guy talking to God or something, and I had this thought go through my head. “What if he's really talking to someone, and it's not who he thinks”. After that, I threw in some old punk rock and Jack just sort of...came about. So I guess I was inspired by The Clash and Law and Order. Which is just weird now that I think about it?
What is Demon Jack about?
Jack is kind of a twofold story. The blurb I wrote for it goes something along the lines of this:
Fifteen years ago, Jack died and was presented with a simple choice. Stay dead and go to Hell or sell his soul to a demon and keep living. Now, a few years out of prison and living on the streets of Boston, Jack is perfectly content to keep a low profile, to avoid all the bad things he did in the past, and be a nobody.
It's all working out until the only person he considers a friend turns on him, possessed by something far worse than the demon holding the contract to Jack's soul. Now, he's been recruited (see blackmailed) by an ancient order with roots in the Inquisition to hunt down whatever it is that's turning Boston's homeless into ravenous killers. At the same time, someone from his past with a massive vendetta and nothing in the way of conscience is looking for Jack, hoping to issue a little payback of his own.
Paired with a centuries old witch and the only person to survive the rampage thus far, Jack is in a race to track down whatever it is that's killing his people, all while staying one step ahead of his own brutal past.
Under that thought, I wanted to take a very, very flawed man. Someone who's just morally weak, selfish, and just an all around not good person and walk them back towards something positive. That I think is sort of the underlying aspect to it. It's not just about the monsters and Jack; it's about finding your way back to the light after you've been to some really dark places. It's something that I'm going to be stretching out and running with the more I go through and write it out into what I hope ends up being a series.
Demon Jack releases on October 1st, 2013 from Fable Press LLC.
What genre does Demon Jack fall into?
Jack falls into the Urban Fantasy genre. It takes a lot of the things made popular by folklore, Tolkien, and the like and sort of...mish mashing them on the real world.
Is this your favorite theme/ genre to write about?
I'll answer both fronts of this question. My favorite theme, honestly, is redemption. I love the idea of taking someone flawed someone way on the outside and having them come into the fold, find their way back. As far as genre, I love love love fantasy, especially contemporary. The world can be such a downer sometimes, its fun to think about what it would be like if there was a little magic left in it, if the good guy did win once in a while.
What was the most difficult thing about writing this book?
The most difficult thing, honestly was after it was finished. I'd just created this whole 70 some odd thousand word opus and I wanted to put it out for the world to see. I felt like I had something, so I started querying agents. Then the rejections came, and then more rejections. That was the hardest part, being told “Hey, you're not good enough for here”. It's all subjective, yes, but you start thinking “If these people don't like it, will anyone?” Then someone tells you, “hey, I do want this” and you get this indescribable feeling of elation, like you made it to the dance.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you change about the book?
Honestly, I don't know if I'd change anything. There's this thing I think with anyone creative where they second guess their own work until it drives them mostly insane. So looking at it from that point of view, it's probably best that I just stay away from it from here on out. That said it's due back from the editor for my final pass any day now, so I'm going to try to mostly stick to those suggestions lest I end up rewriting the whole thing.
Since this is your first time with traditional publishing, could you describe what that’s like and give some pointers to new writers?
Honestly, it's been pretty surreal. It's moving a lot faster than I expected. The folks at Fable Press have been really cool about the whole thing, because yeah, I managed to write a novel, but I have no clue after that. Promoting it, cover art, all of that was just way beyond me in a lot of regards. So they've been handling a good portion of the hand holding involved there. That said promoting the novel that falls a lot on the author. So, in regards to advice definitely, definitely, start getting an idea together of where you're going to go with it. Getting it published, that's your ticket to the dance. Promoting it though, that's walking up to the cute girl and asking her to dance you knows? You gotta make her want to hit the floor with you and take a spin. Develop a thick skin. I have a stack of something like fifty rejections telling me that such and such didn't want me, didn't wanna take the chance, but eventually, you push, one of them will. Read everything, technical manuals, and newspapers, whatever. Read as many words a day as you write, if not more. Finally, don't forget who supported you. That's a big one for me; there were so many people who told me I could do this when the people I wanted to impress were saying I couldn't. I can't thank them enough, because if they hadn't backed me up I probably wouldn't have been able to do this.
Where and When to get Demon Jack
Demon Jack is being released by Fable Press LLC on October 1st, 2013.
Find Fable Press LLC on Facebook.
Follow the Author: Patrick Donovan