Stone Patrick, from North Texas, has recently self-published his debut suspense novel, The Fallen Body. Here, he talks to Amina Ahmed about his inspirations and future plans
Tell me a bit about The Fallen Body.
My book is about a modern day small-town lawyer, Taylour Dixxon, who is obliged to defend a New Jersey millionairess accused of murdering her husband, thereby putting both lives in danger as they search for the truth in this cosy suspense/thriller set in the beautiful hill country of Central Texas. Small-town lawyer Taylour Dixxon meets Sarah Cockrell Baines, a New Jersey socialite and millionairess, and their budding friendship begins with promise. However, soon after they meet, Sarah is arrested for the murder of her husband. When Taylour volunteers to defend Sarah, she has no idea that her struggling solo law practice in the sleepy, fictional, small town of Marlinsville, Texas, will be turned upside down. From a lovable, adolescent nephew who moves in with her, to a hired assassin who is determined to hide the truth, and a handsome Texas Ranger who becomes the object of affection in a love triangle between the two friends, Taylour’s life will never be the same.
What other methods of publishing did you use before you decided to go for self-publishing?
None. I always wanted to self-publish because I needed to be in control of the publishing process from beginning to end, including the marketing of my book.
What inspired you to write this tale?
I initially thought of it as a way to make money, and lots of it, but as I did more research, I read time and time again that most writers will never be able to support themselves with their writing alone. That was a sobering thought, but I didn’t want that to stop me from at least trying. I continued to read books about how to write, and when I tried it for myself, I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I wrote something that moved people emotionally. It’s that acclamation from other people that motivates me to continue writing.
What was the hardest part about writing your book?
The hardest part was trying to tie everything together. I wanted to use most of what I wrote, but some of the scenes didn’t always fit, so I either had to adapt the scene or cut it all together if it didn’t move the story along. Also, there were times when I was simply too exhausted to type any further, but I needed to complete the scene so that I wasn’t falling behind schedule. I had to push through that more than once.
Tell me a bit about your favourite authors and what you love about them.
One of my favourite authors is David Baldacci. What I love about his style of writing is the ease with which he creates tension and suspense. The characters are easily understood and they are singularly focused on their goal. I also love stories written by John Grisham. He has a way of telling a story that makes you feel like you are right there, witnessing what he is relating.
If your book was turned into a movie, which actors or actresses would you love to see playing your characters?
I would want Jennifer Aniston to play Taylour Dixxon, my protagonist, with Scarlett Johannson playing the part of Sarah Cockrell Baines. I would cast Brad Pitt as Philip Davidson, Texas Ranger, and Yaroslav Boyko as Roman Danshov, my antagonist.
Why those actors and actresses?
I picked Jennifer because I enjoy her emotional expressions when she is frustrated. Scarlett Johannson would be perfect as the millionairess because she looks great as a platinum blonde or brunette and has the sultry look that I imagine for Sarah. I chose Brad Pitt because he would not be intimidated by either of those two women. Finally, I chose Yaroslav Boyko because he’s Russian and looks the part. I don’t know anything else about him.
Every author gets writers block sometime in their life. What helps you overcome it?
I clamp my headphones on, listen to soft, instrumental music – I’m a big fan of The Piano Guys – and then I just start typing the first thing that comes to me. In the past I have used a random, single word or phrase as a writing prompt. Once I can get past that, then I just continue to type, blocking out all distractions, until I am drained.
What would you advice authors that are starting out just like you?
Write what you know, and don’t be afraid to create characters that have flaws. No one likes a perfect protagonist or someone who is always happy. Inject humour when possible, but don’t overdo it. Decide early on if you want to write for the sheer joy of writing, or if you want an audience. If you want to write for an audience, know who that audience is and write as much as you can. And finally, tell everyone that you are writing a book because; one, people think it’s cool that you are a future author, two, it will motivate you to keep writing when your friends and family ask about your book, and three, it will help you to sell more books because you are creating buzz, and buzz sells.
What other books do you have planned for the future?
I am writing a sequel to “The Fallen Body” with the intent of exploring a few open threads that I left hanging in that book. It involves a few of the same characters as before, such as Spencer Dixxon, Taylour’s nephew and roommate, and also Philip Davidson, Taylour’s love interest in my first book. I have written a few scenes and have a very basic outline of what I want to explore and I hope to finish the sequel by the end of August 2014.
Buy the book here: The Fallen Body