Every Thursday I ask ten questions to authors of mystery, thriller and suspense about their books, their inspirations and how to get away with the perfect murder. In the hot seat this week is... Will Patching.
Will Patching was born and raised in ‘Sarf Lunnon’, Engerland, or at least, that’s how he pronounces it (South London to the uninitiated)! Will has recently released 'Gaslighting', the final novel in his dark and compelling 'Remorseless' crime thriller trilogy.
Q1. Hello Will! Can You Tell Us A Bit About Yourself And Your Books?
I’m a semi-retired Brit who opted out of the corporate rat race in 1998, and since then I have lived abroad, travelled, had several businesses, and of course, now I write crime thrillers. My writing polarizes readers – as we Brits would say I’m ‘a bit Marmite’ as people either love or hate my books – just like the evil smelling sandwich spread!
Q2. What Three Things Should Readers Expect From A Will Patching Novel?
Dark disturbing themes, complex characters, and intricate plots…
Hence, my books are longer than average (100-130,000 words) as I need a decent length to weave multiple threads and points of view together. The tales I tell also contain disturbing imagery, often written in deep point of view, giving the reader an intimate insight into the mind of the killer/villain. Definitely not for everyone!
Q3. Can You Tell Us About The Main Characters In Your Series?
The Remorseless trilogy is my main series and the main characters are:
Doc Powers, a brilliant but psychologically damaged profiler specialising in psychopaths; his ‘parter in crime’, a down to earth London cop, DI Jack Carver; and Doc’s love interest, Judy Finch – a high flying civil servant who gets entangled in their investigations and falls to earth with a bump.
Doc is trying to stay sane, Jack wants to collar his villains, and Judy wants to a) survive and b) have a family with Doc. Unfortunately for them all, Doc attracts psychos like fresh dung draws flies…
Q4. If Your Books Were Turned Into Movies, Who Would Play Your Main Characters?
My villain in Remorseless is an easy one: Tom Hardy. He already did Bronson, a real-life thug’s prison years in a docudrama, but my Peter Leech is rather more cunning than that ‘animal’. Hardy in Taboo is about as close as the scriptwriters have to my character, and I saw that TV series long after I’d created Leech. Loved that series, by the way.
As for Doc and/or Jack, probably Kenneth Branagh and Danny Dyer, but they could be many others too. Judy too…
Q5. How Do You Come Up With The Ideas For Your Stories – What Is Your Inspiration?
Many years ago, I mistakenly invited a psychopath into my life and home. At the time, I had no idea what I was dealing with, but over subsequent months I began to realise the person was a manipulative, greedy, selfish, lying, thieving, violent individual who lacked any empathy (‘remorseless’) and was capable of some awful and truly devious deeds. That inspiration led to the birth of the Remorseless trilogy, featuring psychopathic villains in each story. It also brought about an ongoing fascination with the creatures – I even have a dedicated website with tons of information on Psychopaths in Fact & Fiction.
Q6. What Do You Enjoy Most About Writing Crime Thrillers?
Not knowing how it will end. Really. I tend to let my characters off the leash early on in the process, and as they come alive, they often startle me with their devious thoughts and actions. For me, that’s a sign the reader will feel similarly, and the reviews and feedback I receive confirm that.
Q7. What Are You Working On Right Now?
(At the time of writing) The final instalment of the Remorseless trilogy, Gaslighting, has just gone out to my first readers, or betas as we ‘author types’ like to say. The idea is to garner comments to improve/tweak the final version before publication. It’s a truly nail-biting time for any writer – letting go of your baby like this, unsure what the world will make of it. After six months gestation, with characters existing only in my mind, and some of them running riot(!), my 'offspring' is now in the real world and meeting people for the first time...
I’m delighted with the initial signs – as I type this my first two responses have come back within 24 hours of sending the draft out. One reader was still up at 3:30am and had to put her iPad down with her eyes burning. It is a long novel! The other said this:
“A dark book, written beautifully, fully engaging the reader, and one that I could not put down… Another massive hit, my favourite story of the three that you have written. Good luck with the release of this awesome book.”
Those two ladies have already made my day!
Q8. Who Are Your Favourite Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Authors?
Difficult one, as my favourites change over time. I used to love Wilbur Smith, and that was over forty years ago and he’s still going strong. I read one of his recent works and it was damned good.
The problem with any author – and this is purely my personal opinion about what I like to read – is that some series go on too long. I find after book four or five, that I’m getting bored with the characters, or my disbelief can no longer be suspended. Wilbur, a man who has sold hundreds of millions of books worldwide, dropped off my list as his saga series did exactly that to me – as I say, only my opinion based on my personal preferences.
This is why I am writing trilogies… My choice, based on what I read, and nothing more than that. It seems to me that a detective who continues year after year, hunting down and catching/killing the most vicious sorts of criminals, often with barely a scratch, can only live in the world of fiction. I’m not saying my books are better or more realistic – I am saying that I personally cannot sustain interest for a lengthy series.
Other authors I’ve loved include Mo Hayder, Lee Child, Stephen King, Stuart McBride and many others. However, I’ve not read all their series books for the reasons already mentioned. I know that makes me unusual – many readers love long series, and look forward to the latest release, be it book 5 or 25. We’re all different, and I am clearly weird! Off course, ‘weird’ is just ‘wired’ differently…
Q9. You're Being Sent To A Desert Island. You Can Only Take One Book With You. What Is It?
‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. His treatise on how to write is also partly autobiographical and is the best, most readable book on the art of writing I have ever read. I’ve bought three copies over the years (before ebooks) and ended up lending them, then never getting them back. It’s that good. I highly recommend it to any aspiring writer, or even anyone with an interest in King and the nuts and bolts of his craft.
Q10. How Do You Get Away With The Perfect Murder?
Blame someone else, and make sure there is irrefutable evidence incriminating them… Simples!