Life As A Writer: An Interview With Patrick Redmond
June 5, 2015
[Image courtesy of patrickredmondbooks.com]
Patrick Redmond is a best-selling author. His psychological thrillers address a number of dark themes in a captivating and enthralling style.
After years of travelling and working in a law firm, Redmond is now enjoying a career as a full time writer. Here, he tells TSOTA more about his work…
TSOTA: The characters in ‘The Wishing Game’ attend a boarding school. Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
PR: Though I went to a boarding school myself, it was a much happier place than
Kirkston Abbey in The Wishing Game so essentially, no. Also, though some friends and I did briefly experiment with a Ouija board, there were none of the sinister consequences that occur in the book! However I think some experiences boarding school pupils go through are universal such as homesickness and the need to adapt to a highly regulated and tradition bound world, so I was able to use my own memories of that when creating certain characters.
One of the lead characters in the book is a boy called Richard Rokeby. He is rebellious and non-conformist and is the catalyst for most of the drama that takes place. For me he became that boy who said and did all the things my friends and I might have wanted to but never had the nerve. His self assurance is so total that he can get away with challenging authority in a way that most people never can.
TSOTA: You wrote novels whilst balancing a full time job – do you have a specific writing process to help keep you focused?
PR: When I wrote ‘The Wishing Game’ I was still working as a Lawyer so it really was a case of spending every spare moment at the keyboard. Now, as I write full time, things are mercifully different! I don’t work a set 9-5 day – partly because I am a night owl so my working day tends to start and end a lot later than most people! When I’m writing a book I make sure I work every day (including weekends) to keep the momentum flowing, though inevitably some days are more productive than others. I think it’s important to be flexible with myself. If the words aren’t coming on a particular day then there’s no point trying to force them, but if they are then I’ll just keep going for as long as I have the energy to do so.
TSOTA: Has your experience of travelling inspired any characters or incidents in your books?
PR: I’ve used places I’ve visited as holiday destinations for characters in certain books. I think that when you’re writing a book it’s important to give the reader a strong sense of the place where it’s set. Recently I wrote a novel set in Cornwall. As I’d never been there before I made two trips there – the first to find suitable locations, and the second to stay in one of the locations for a week just to absorb the atmosphere of the place so I could recreate it in the book.
TSOTA: Have you always written psychological thrillers? What is it about this genre that interested you?
PR: Funnily enough I ended up writing psychological thrillers by accident! When I started ‘The Wishing Game’ it was intended to be a straight forward horror novel. However, the central theme of the book is the dangerous friendship between two boys called Richard Rokeby and Jonathan Palmer. As the book progressed I realised that it was the psychological component of their relationship – in this case the power of charisma, and the influence of a strong mind over a weaker one – that was driving the story and interesting me. I’ve read a lot of criminology and have always been interested in the psychology of dangerous relationships and this has defined my writing ever since.
This blog piece goes into more detail for anyone who is interested in reading more on this issue.
TSOTA: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
PR: As I’m working flat out on a new book at the moment the simple answer is “sleep”! Apart from that my pleasures are simple ones. I love the cinema and going to concerts, I love reading (and am a huge history buff), walking, exercising and just meeting up with my friends and socialising.
TSOTA: What’s been the highlight of your writing career to date?
PR: Without wanting to sound too corny, I think the real highlight was back in 1998, phoning my mother to tell her that after years of rejections I’d just landed a huge book deal for ‘The Wishing Game’ and having her burst into tears on the phone. They were happy tears I hasten to add! As my father had died some years earlier it was also wonderful to be able to dedicate the book to him and feel that, in some small way, he was still a part of it all.
TSOTA: Tell us about your most recent book “The Replacement.” What inspired you to write the story?
PR: The Replacement is about a highly dysfunctional twin relationship and deals with issues such as identity and the need to belong. I’ve always been fascinated by twins – probably because I was an only child who wanted a sibling – and I’ve read books on the subject exploring just how complex and multi-faceted some twin relationships can be.
This blog post gives more insight into my view on twins and sibling rivalry.
TSOTA: What other projects do you have coming up?
PR: As well as the novel I’m currently working on – which I don’t want to say too much about at this stage! – I’ve also written a supernatural novel set in Cornwall and have started a novel about a fictitious silent film star. I’ve always been fascinated by the silent film era. Film stars back then were more famous than they are today, partly because their lack of speech added to their mystique. It’s tragic that so many of their careers ended with the coming of sound and as that happened at the same time as the Wall Street crash, many former millionaire superstars were left destitute. As nobody watched their films for decades afterwards they ended up as relics of a forgotten era, still waving – as Joe Gillis says in Sunset Boulevard – to a parade that had long since passed them by.
Interview by Sophie Joelle
For more on Patrick Redmond, visit his website www.patrickredmondbooks.com