Monday, March 7, 2011

10Q Tuesday with Pat Kirby!

How did you start your writing career?
I've always had stories in my head, but the catalyst for writing them down was a succession of boring jobs. I confess, for me any gainful employment falls under "boring." Anyway, while my coworkers were busy at the water cooler, gossiping and sowing workplace dissent, I was writing my first novel.

Tell us about your favorite character from your books.
It's a tie between Talis, the dark elf, and Breas, the vampire, with Talis edging slightly ahead. Talis began as a bit character who was almost deleted in early revision. But the sneaky bastard wormed his way into my head and grew a complex, angsty back story. Since my vampires have no self-esteem issues, Talis takes up the emo slack.
Breas Montrose was written as a reaction to angsty, self-pitying vampires. He's not particularly evil, and prone to doing the right thing. But he's completely, unapologetically vampire. He's lazy, obsessed with anything on ESPN, and loves beer. Because he's tactless, he's terribly fun to write.

Tell us about your current release.
The Music of Chaos is the offspring of the aforementioned workplace ennui. It's an urban fantasy. While it has its gritty bits, it owes its inspiration to Christopher Moore, A. Lee Martinez and Janet Evanovich.
Much of the story was written as a reaction to norms in fantasy. My vampires and demons aren't (necessarily) evil. Neither are my dark elves. ("I'm not an elf," protests Talis.) The story line in The Music of Chaos isn't driven by good vs. evil, but rather the consequences of one person's tragedy.

What was your first sale as an author?
My first "good" sale (>$5) was to an illustrated print anthology called Modern Magic. The story, "Salvation in a Plastic Bag," stars Talis and Breas. (One of these days I need to write a bro-mance featuring the two.)

Do you play games? What kind?
First person shooters on XBox with my husband. We play in co-op mode, because I'm competitive and can't stand to lose. (I'm good at killing; I'm also good at accidentally marching my characters off cliffs--SPLAT!) My faves are: Borderlands (steampunk-esque setting), Halo, Gears of War, and Modern Warfare (zombie level !).

What book are you reading now?
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I'm in awe of Collins's ability to put her characters through hell.

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?
The Music of Chaos is technically the first book in a series. I wrote it envisioning a six-book story arc.

What are your favorite TV shows?
We don't watch much television at Chez Kirby. Our TV viewing is via DVD/Netflix. I love Firefly, Dexter, Bones and True Blood (Eric Northman, yum). And because you're never too old to learn something, Nova Science, Independent Lens, Nature and other PBS offerings, are awesome.

What songs are most played on your mp3 player?
Josh Ritter's "The Curse," a song about a mummy who falls in love with an archeologist, is on high rotation. As are songs from Abney Park's The End of Days.

Random 10 off my Today's Mood playlist:
Snuff - Slipknot
Hall Om Mig - Nanne
I Don't Know What Love Is - Leslie Nuchow
I Will Not Bow - Breaking Benjamin
A Star-Crossed Wasteland - In This Moment
Invincible - Two Steps from Hell
Heron Blue - Sun Kil Moon
She's Always a Woman - Billy Joel
I'm Not That Girl - Wicked the Musical
White Flag Warrior - Flobots

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

Write the first chapter, then the next, then the next, till you get to the end. Don't futz and fiddle with early chapters. Get the whole beast on the page, then go back and revise.


Maureen said...

My husband has played Halo so many times, it's a blast to watch him. And I so enjoyed the story! Even read the books and really love the soundtracks.

I never play them, but I read the reviews for them, searching for games I know the hubby will enjoy. I just got him hooked on Dead Space. Which is cool, but no real soundtrack.


P. Kirby said...

Because I get motion sickness, I can't watch someone else gaming. (I can't watch movies with shaky camera work like Blair Witch Project either.)

Halo does have an great story. It's a pity they couldn't get the movie made. (Or maybe it's a good thing, since Hollywood has a gift for screwing up a good thing.)


Author Leanne Dyck said...

I find it so interesting to discover how authors work their magic.
I write a few chapters then fiddle, then I write a few more and do more fiddling. I continue to write and fiddle until done.

Maureen said...

Pat, the only game he's ever played that gave me a bit of a headspin is when he races his MotoGP game...

And yeah, I'd like to think they could have done justice to Halo, but probably not!

P. Kirby said...

@Leanne. I fiddle a bit as I write, too. But, I don't try to polish each chapter as I go. Stories (and characters) evolve, and what seemed like a great idea in the first draft, may end up in the recycle bin on revision. That's why I tell newbies not to fiddle too much with each chapter. It's a waste of creative energy.

P. Kirby said...

@Maureen. *Glurk.* The driving games make me queasy even when I play them.

Maureen said...

When he does that motorcycle one, at Laguna Seca, with all the turns and twists, I do have to look away!

The Dead Space game can get a bit quirky in the zero gravity areas where his character is bopping from wall to wall, and then trying to reorientate himself...

I do ask the DH to play them at low volume so I can work on other things without getting too distracted!

JM said...

You listed all my husband and son's favorites. I have the Borderlands song memorized, and hubby actually made it his ring tone. I CAN play it, but I prefer to be on my computer while they're occupied. Halo is probably their all time favorite.
Now, as a writer, it is very difficult for me to just pound out words. I'm very critical of myself, and if I know something is misspelled or just wrong, I have to fix it before I can move on.
I've tried to just let things flow, but I'm too anal.
Great post dear.

P, Kirby said...

@JM. Borderlands is currently my favorite game, the ultimate gamer's game. Especially since I get to play a kick-*ss female character (Lilith), as opposed to the male sidekick.

I know what you mean about perfection. I can pick at my writing till it bleeds. Pick, pickity, pick.


P. Kirby said...


I bet someone gaming could be distracting for the rest of the household. We play with surround sound on. During the big battles, the walls in our little house shakes. (We live out in the sticks; no neighbors to annoy.)

kathleen said...

I had to laugh when I read your comment about the co-workers at the water cooler. I started my novel at work, too. lol

Congrats on the release of The Music of Chaos. It sounds like a great story!