I am lucky to have Christoph in my camp, supporting me. It is deeply humbling and no amount of praise for Christoph is sufficient. In case you have forgotten, Christoph wrote the brilliant The Luck of the Weissersteiners, the first piece is a historical fiction trilogy. Christoph writes historical fiction of enormous scope, around events that shaped mankind.
Francis Bacon described books as ‘Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” and Christoph’s book falls in the last category.
Buy his book here
Christoph took time out to interview me.
the full interview:
If you like a good thriller with an intelligent plot and suspense The Warrior by Ty Patterson is just that ticket. It is a gripping and powerful read about Zeb Carter, a mercenary who witnesses a few too many crimes on a mission in the Congo. On a personal vendetta against the brutal rapist and killer, Carsten Holt, Carter returns to New York to take the man on with the help of friends and family.
The novel invokes a world of corruption; African mines, child labour, kidnappings, mass killings, federal agencies, politicians, business men, journalists and abuse of power. Certainly these are not new themes, but seeing this world from a man with questionable moral values himself, a contract killer, makes the reading experience all the more interesting.
The plot is cleverly developed and intelligently thought-through, the interconnections of the various parties involved in the hunt for Holt are intricately laid out. The descriptions of the slowly unfolding and developing complications and conflicts that arise for some of the players in this game are one of the highlights of this reading experience and a welcome relieve from often too simply laid out crime fiction.
Zeb Carter and his brothers in arms are a group of people I enjoyed watching, their camaraderie and sense of values are decently developed and avoid the trap of stereotype and worn out repetition. I am not a great fan of thrillers, the military world and ‘Rambo/macho’ action but I must say that I found myself pleasantly surprised to find a book in this genre written with so much intelligence and depth. Patterson is a distinguished, clever and skilled story teller.
Interview with Ty:
How did you come to writing in the first place?
I came across a quote from an author who said she had words battering her brain to come out and that is how she started writing. Nothing like that for me!
I have always been writing in various avatars of my life. My earliest writing, when I was in school, was for the school magazine and commercial publications. In my career, I spent some time as a freelance copywriter and that experience helped me a lot in packing a punch in my fiction writing. I do think visually and put words around a visual scene when writing.
What inspired you to write about a man like the Warrior?
The strong, silent action hero has always intrigued me, whether that hero existed in movies or books. Interestingly in many books or movies, the strong, silent action hero is the sidekick to the witty, urbane, handsome hero. I wanted to reverse that in The Warrior.
Did you have any connection to the jungle, that kind of lifestyle or that kind of hero personally?
I have several friends in the Armed Forces and a couple of them are very close in personality to Zeb. I haven’t consciously based Zeb on any of them, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the subconscious had a role to play in creating Zeb similar to them.
Do you identify with any of the other characters?
I identify most with Zeb, not because I am an action person, but because I do not speak much. Yes, my wife is not very happy with this trait of mine!
When did you first have the idea for this book? Did it come gradually or as a whole?
What triggered the writing was a conversation with my wife and son in December 2011. Both mentioned that I needed a challenge in life and that my life had become a comfort zone. The Warrior was born that night. I did not have a fully formed plot when I started writing, but I had the main sequences in mind and had a rough idea of the turning points I wanted. Once I started writing, the plot started falling in place.
How long did it take you to write?
It took me ten months to write, followed by a couple of months in editing. The book is not very big, but since I work full time, making time and more importantly, making energy available for writing was a huge challenge.
How did you research the jungle setting?
I wanted an event to act as the inflexion point for my book and the event in Africa that is the book had always stayed in the back of my mind. I used that as a starting point and made Google my soul mate for research. Some of the armed forces friend of mine had also spent some time in the jungle and I used their experience to bolster my research.
How comfortable do you feel writing about Africa and the world of corruption?
I have lived in Asia and have experienced corruption on a daily basis on a personal level as well as a corporate/business level. In many countries in the developing world, corruption is so deep rooted that it will take decades or even centuries for the system to cleanse itself. In those countries, along with corruption, child labour and mistreatment of women is also pretty common.
Would you say your book has a message and if so how would you describe it?
I don’t really write to convey any particular social message. I write to entertain my readers and make my characters come alive and live long in their imaginations.
That said, if there are a couple of themes in my book, one is best encapsulated by this wonderful quote often attributed to Winston Churchill, “We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
The other theme is about recognizing that different countries have different set of values, moral codes and are in a different time line with regard to development. Judging those countries and their societies from the Western perspective is very arrogant.
How did you choose the cover for the book?
I cannot take credit for the cover. I was hunting high and low for a cover and during one search of the internet; I came across Ros Clarke,http://theoldshed.me/, and contacted her for a cover. I explained the theme of the book and the grim, foreboding look I wanted to convey and she delivered! She also helped design my blog layout and the images therein. I cannot recommend Ros enough to other authors seeking cover design.
How do you write? What is your writing environment like?
I try to write for an hour at least in a day, either very early in the morning or late at night, before the world intrudes or after it has slept. This one hour commitment is not always possible since my job demands a lot from me. Hopefully I will one day be able to write full time.
I write on my laptop and make sure I have a backup of my writing on Dropbox. I also try to make each chapter complete; so after writing a chapter, I will read it again and edit it. This helps me in reducing some editing time at the end.
How many rewrites did it take you?
I have rewritten certain chapters but not the entire book. As far as I can remember, I have rewritten only two chapters. The ending of the book was the first ending I thought of and after I wrote it, I did spend a lot of time wondering if I should re-write it. I am now glad I did not because I think the ending is pretty surprising and differentiates my book from all the other thrillers out there.
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
I have done the editing myself. I realise the value of using beta readers and maybe an editor to help shape a book and I might use someone for these roles for my next book.
Who are your favourite authors / influences?
I am a voracious reader and even read the labels on toilet paper rolls. I also read on diverse subjects ranging from fiction, management, economics, politics, science and philosophy. Did I mention quantum physics? Steven Levitt, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Peter Drucker, CK Prahlad, James Michener, James Lee Burke, Robert Crais, Lee Child, Greg Rucka, are just some of those whose writings I love. On the thriller author front, the last four as well as the likes of Harlan Coben and Stephen Hunter have influenced me.
Who would play your characters in a movie?
I can’t look beyond Matt Deamon or Denzel Washington to play a character like Zeb. I haven’t really thought who else would play the other characters.
What is your next project, when can we read it and where can we find out about it?
My next book is tentatively titled The Brotherhood and features some of the characters in The Warrior. I want to write a series giving prominence to various characters that appear in The Warrior.
As of now I have started writing the third chapter of The Brotherhood and am aiming to publish it by spring. I will start posting excerpts on my blog shortly.