Twilight Times Feature
with Patrick Welch
Interviewer: Lida Quillen
1. Does your creativity express itself in ways other than writing?
I am a musician and have been a performer for nearly forty years. I occasionally write songs, although nowadays not nearly as many as I used to. And my freelance work in marketing communications at very least involves creative problem solving.
2. Do you feel you were creative, even as a child?
I had desires to be a writer as early as the first grade, and wrote my first "book" in the second. I was pretty good at making up stories even then, although they didn't always keep me from getting in trouble with my parents.
3. Could you share with the story behind the story? In other words, how did your writing lead you to your first novel?
My first novel, The Thirteenth Magician, was originally completed around 1990. But the idea for that book had been bouncing around my head since my college days. Two factors combined to lead me to write it: the personal computer and losing my job at an ad agency. Computers have made life MUCH easier for writers, as anyone who ever worked with a typewriter knows. A simple misspelling or two doesn't require you to retype an entire page after all. So now I had the time and the computer and I went to work on that book.
The Casebook of Doakes and Haig grew out of a short story where I first introduced my leprechaun detective. I was having so much fun with the character and the mythos I was creating that I continued exploring that world. This new book contains five stories and a novelette all exploring and expanding this alternative England.
4. How did you prepare for the creation of your first novel? How much research was necessary?
I'll focus on The Casebook of Doakes and Haig as every story or novel is different. As the stories developed and I began reinventing the leprechaun mythology, I of course had to research the leprechaun mythology itself. I also had to do research on simple geography, Aztec mythology, clipper ships, cairns and other historical or geographical items.
Truthfully, much of the book is fantasy and I have changed history (or flat out lied) whenever I felt it necessary. Actually some of this I discuss in the afterwards included in the book. Again, thanks to the internet and computers, the research I needed to do was very easy to accomplish, but it did open up new plot aspects that I would have otherwise not thought of without the help.
5. What kind of reaction do people have to your writing?
I write in a variety of genres; s/f, fantasy and horror, although fantasy is the main one. The reaction I'm looking for will therefore vary from story to story, from laughter to a shiver to a philosophical point. What feedback I do get is normally positive, although I admit I would welcome more. The reviews of most of my work have been positive so I guess there's not much more I can hope for than that. Except for increased sales, of course.
6. Do you find anything difficult in the writing process, and if so what?
Keeping my energy level up and working at it. Occasionally I hit the wall and might spend a week or two trying to come up with an idea I feel is worth pursuing. Right now I'm in the middle of a new fantasy novel that should eliminate that concern for the next several months! Getting a rejection slip is always a downer, but that's the nature of the business and if you can't take it, you shouldn't even try to write for publication.
7. Do you currently have any writing projects?
I'm in the middle of a fantasy novel involving a bazaar called Cynnador. It started with just a shooorrtttt story but it is leading to all sorts of possibilities. For anyone familiar with my earlier work, it's a bit of a cross between Westchester Station (a frame that serves for the stories that occur) and The Body Shop (interweaving characters and action segments and bringing them all together).
I also skip around and pump out a short story or two. I'll have a new Doakes/Haig adventure appearing in November in Alternate Realities. This adventure occurs after those that take place in the anthology, The Casebook of Doakes and Haig.
8. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just the same suggestion all writers give: keep writing. I sold my first story in college and never sold another until nearly 25 years later. I dearly wish there had been the computer, internet and on-line writing groups back then; maybe it wouldn't have taken me so long to get back to writing fiction.
Patrick Welch graduated with a B.A. and M.A. in English from Bowling Green State University. While in college he published in Riverside Quarterly and Analog. After leaving school, he concentrated on writing articles and, later, advertising for Toledo markets until returning to fiction five years ago.
Welch has worked as a teacher of the mentally retarded, assistant store manager, insurance salesman, dock worker, substitute teacher, guitar teacher, musician, factory worker and college instructor. He is currently a freelance copywriter and works in two bands in the Toledo area.
He has published more than fifty stories in e-zines and the small press. Currently, he also has two books available from Twilight Times Books, The Casebook of Doakes and Haig (available now) and The Thirteenth Magician (coming Feb. 2002).
Westchester Station (a fantasy novel) will be available soon from Double Dragon Ebook. Other completed books include The Body Shop, Before/Beyond (an anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories) and Brendell; Apprentice Thief.
Welch shares his apartment with his growing number of CD's, musical instruments and beer cans. He personally chooses and empties every item in his beer can collection.
More information on his writing can be found at his web site.