Friday, July 10, 2009

I am hosting author Patrick Dilloway today!

Today I get the pleasure of hosting Patrick Dilloway who wrote the book, Where You Belong. He is in the middle of a Blog tour and was kind enough to stop by my little corner of the world. You may ask him questions or just leave a comment. Patrick loves to hear from his readers.

Thank you Patrick for joining me today. Sit down and make yourself comfortable.

1. Did you always want to become and author or did you just fall into it?
First off, thanks for having me today. I’m glad to be here.
To answer your question, no, I didn’t always want to write. In second grade I wanted to be shortstop for the Detroit Tigers. But then I found out I have no athletic talent and I enjoyed writing stories. The rest, as they say, is history.

2. Did it take you a while to become published? If so, what made you keep going?
Oh yes, it’s taken a long time. If my rejection notices were on paper instead of mostly by E-mail I’d have enough to wallpaper my house by now.

What keeps me going, though, is that I legitimately enjoy writing. It’s what I do. Given my lack of talent in just about anything else—music, singing, dancing, painting, drawing, sports, sewing, etc.—it’s pretty much all I can do. There have been a couple of times where I got in a funk and stopped writing for a little while, but I always come back to it because I love it even if agents and publishers don’t love me.

3. When you sit down to write, is there a ritual you have to do before you start?
Not really what I would consider a “ritual” no. For the most part before I type I do have to get all my stuff situated: laptop, music (MP3 player or stereo), water, throat lozenges, and any notes I might have. But I don’t have to turn around in my chair three times or throw salt over my shoulder or anything.

4. Do you plan the story out or just let it flow?
There have been times where I’ve done a lot of planning, but lately I’ve been doing less. Usually, though, I at least have an overall blueprint of what’s supposed to happen in the story. That doesn’t mean that’s what always ends up happening; if I see a better idea later I’ll run with it.

For the most part I think that you have to just find what works for you and go with that. Some people plan meticulously and some go by the seat of their pants; either way has worked out for some people and not others. So do what you like.

5. Considering the fact that your character, Frost Devereaux doesn’t exist, what made you give him a background? I thought it was great too.
Thank you for saying that. In a story like this the background is important because the story is pretty much entirely background. By that I mean the story follows from before he’s born not to his death, but to a major turning point in his life.

Early on I knew Frost’s parents were not going to be around for most of his growing up. The only thing then became deciding what exactly would happen to them. I thought it was just a lot more fun, not to mention dramatic, for his parents to loathe each other to the point where his mother banishes his father into a barn. But that was also important for Frost’s development because part of the overall point is that he never has what you’d consider a “normal” loving home. Because let’s face it, someone from a normal loving home could probably never do what he does in the book.

6. What made you decide to write this book about a man that can’t seem to find love with either sex?
Basically how the story developed was that in watching news coverage of Prop 8 in California and similar measures around the country, I started to get mad. So I decided to write a story about gay marriage, but I didn’t want it to be a preachy stump speech on the subject; I wanted it to still be a story. It occurred to me one day: what if there was a guy so terrible at marriage that he couldn’t make it work with either sex? That’s how it all started. From there I just expanded on this idea that some marriages are just not going to work not because of the genitals of those involved, but because they aren’t compatible for each other spiritually. To me, that’s what’s most important in any marriage.

7. Do you have a current list of releases and where they can be found?
The best place if you want to find just about everything I’ve written in the last fifteen years is to visit my D.E-Press site, Everything there is in e-book form and completely free to download.

8. Do you have any WIP that you might want to share with us?
Right now I’m working on a story called “Liberation Front,” which is probably just a working title. It’s an old-school alien invasion story, with one difference: the “Martians” invading are actually human colonists returning to the home world. It’s a complete 180 I suppose from Where You Belong, but I’ve always thought that a writer should have a little variety just to keep from getting stagnant.

9. When you have a moment to sit down and breathe, what do you do to unwind?
If I’m not writing or reading then usually I’m just sitting in front of the television watching a baseball game or movie. Just something that doesn’t require me to think a whole lot. Of course if the weather is nice I like to take a walk too. Sometimes I’ll even bring my camera and take some pictures. I have a whole bunch on my wall from Maine, New Mexico, and the Grand Canyon. It would be nice if I could get out more to see other places, because it is usually fun to see a place you haven’t been before.

10. What authors are in your TBR pile?
I don’t really keep a TBR pile because I’m so anal retentive about what I choose to read. I am in the near future going to finally read something by Stephen King; I bought a copy of “The Green Mile” a while back that I’ve been meaning to read. Otherwise anything new by John Irving, Michael Chabon, Richard Russo, or Terry Pratchett will go on my list to read.
A lot of times, though, I do what I call “situational reading,” meaning that I choose what to read depending on what I’m writing. For Where You Belong I reread every John Irving novel in chronological order because I wanted to maintain a similar style and tone to his novels. I don’t always do that, just if I feel there’s an author or subject that I feel is close to what I’m doing.

11. Do you have any tips for those aspiring authors out there?
I think there are three important things if you really want to write books. The first is to study your grammar and basic mechanics. If you go to a critique group and don’t know how to use a semicolon you’re going to really look like an amateur. Second is to read—a lot. Preferably when you’re starting you should read in your genre. So if you’re writing romance you should read other romance authors. Not so much to steal their secret moves, but I think it’s helpful so you can see what they’re doing right and—more importantly—what you think they’re doing wrong. The most important advice though is not to give up. If you really want to write books, then don’t let other people take that away from you. Heed good advice when it’s given, but don’t surrender, even when people try to bring you down. Because if you really love to write, then that’s what you should do. Maybe you won’t get paid for it, but some things are more important than money.

Thanks again for having me and asking such tremendous questions.
You are very welcome Patrick. I enjoyed your answers. I hope you stop by again!


Rachel said...


Thanks for sharing your story with us. :)

I always enjoy hearing what authors go through to get to the finished product.

Lately I have been thinking about writing a book. Though I keep telling myself I am FAR to lazy to keep up the momentum and follow through.

I always see authors answer the question on did they always want to write pretty much the same way. "I have been writing since I was 2 or 12 or all my life." Sometimes I feel like it might be a bit contrived. Though that could be the cynic in me. LOL

I find it inspirational and interesting that you didn't come out of the gate wanting to write but to be something completely different.

Anyways, thanks again for being here, no need to enter me into the contest.

Have a good one!

A. F. Stewart said...

Great interview! I love all the little tidbits I'm learning.