Today I am interviewing Benedict Patrick, author of the debut dark fantasy novel, They Mostly Come Out at Night, and current contestant in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2016.
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DJ: Hey Benedict! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about
Benedict Patrick: Thanks DJ! So, I’m a debut indie author who hails from Ireland, but I’ve spent the last decade or so living in Glasgow, Scotland. I’ve spent most of my life either reading or daydreaming, and a few years ago decided to turn that into a career. And here we are…
DJ: What is They Mostly Come Out at Night about?
BP: So, on one level I guess it’s about a young man finding his place in the world. At the start of the novel Lonan is pretty lost – his family and the people around him (unfairly) hate him, and he has little prospects for the future. For him, the events in the story are about how he attempts to change that.
For the rest of us, the story is about bird-gods and wolf-people running around a giant forest killing each other. You know, the usual stuff.
DJ: What were some of your influences for the They Mostly Come Out at Night and the whole Yarnsworld series?
BP: The first seed for this book came about when I saw M Night Shyamalan’s The Village at the cinema, and how deeply unsatisfied I was with the film afterwards. Anyone who reads the description of my book can see that, I think. For that movie, the initial promise of monsters stalking the dark was much more intriguing than what actually happened. This story is me finally getting to scratch that itch!
There are other, smaller influences that have latched on to that idea as it formed in my head over the years. Anyone who knows much about Marvel’s Black Panther will be able to see some similarities with key characters in my book.
Finally, fairy tales and traditional stories have always fascinated me. They Mostly Come Out At Night – and the rest of the Yarnsworld, once we finally visit other parts of it – is defined by the stories that the people who live in it tell to each other. That’s where the Wolves in They Mostly Come Out At Night come from – which fairytale forest doesn’t have one of two of these fiends stalking it?
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main character? Does he have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with him?
BP: We’ve touched on Lonan already. As a child he was framed for a horrible crime he never actually committed. The person responsible has been taking from Lonan ever since, including his family forge and Lonan’s childhood love. We meet Lonan at a point in his life when he is finally starting to get the guts and gumption to do something about it.
Adahy is my other character of note… maybe. Lonan begins to dream of Adahy, so it is very unclear whether or not he really exists. What is clear is that Adahy’s father is the Magpie King, the ruler of the forest and a man who is capable of some crazy, inhuman feats. Adahy knows he’ll have to follow in his father’s footsteps, and he’s terrified he won’t be up to the task. Through Lonan’s dreams, we start to find out the answers to that question.
DJ: What is the world of the Yarnsworld series like?
BP: Well, in the novel we only get to experience a very small part of it, the Magpie King’s forest. The forest is remote and pretty cut off from most of the outside. Even the villages in the forest rarely communicate with each other, as they have to lock themselves away at nighttime to hide from the monsters. In fact, most of the people in Lonan’s village doubt the Magpie King really exists, as it has been years since any contact outside of their village has been made.
In the novel there are hints about life outside the forest, however, and we do meet one or two people who open up the world a bit more. All I can tell you now is that storytelling is very important all over the Yarnsworld. Oh, and that Book Two (which I’m polishing off right now) takes place in a COMPLETELY different part of the Yarnworld, with a very different storytelling culture…
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing the They Mostly Come Out at Night? What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
BP: Without a doubt the stories the Corvae (Lonan’s people) tell each other. Between each chapter there is a short interlude in which we go to the fireside of a village storyteller and get a bit of a bedtime story. A lot of these tales are inspired by real world storytelling traditions, and some are… a bit more out there. Actually, who am I kidding – I think the oddest tales in They Mostly Come Out At Night are directly inspired by real life stuff!
DJ: The synopsis says that Adahy has to “to become the supernatural protector of the forest and defender of his people.” So does this mean you have a magic system?
BP: Okay, yes, but this is a tricky one to answer. I wanted magic in the Yarnsworld to be much more mundane than in most fantasy settings. The closest I have to a magic system are the Knacks that many of the villagers develop. There is a bit of debate amongst the characters about how these actually come about, but some believe that if they work hard enough at a skill or trade, their ability will become magically enhanced. For example, Lonan’s mother has a Knack for cooking, his father had a Knack for metal-smithing. Part of Lonan’s story is that he has never developed a Knack of his own, which is a source of great shame and frustration for him.
This conundrum really helped me to explore how I felt in my early twenties. What is my place in the world? What am I good at, what should I do with my life? All that fun stuff!
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from They Mostly Come Out at Night that you can share with us?
BP: Yikes. Nothing profound, off the top of my head, but here’s a sinister little lullaby that my beta readers enjoyed:
Going to pick a pop of ratties, bake ’em, fry ’em, crunch for later. Put ’em in a pocket holding, smack ’em if they’re being bolding.”
DJ: Have you been reading anything good lately?
BP: I’m actually really struggling with my current read, so I won’t name-check it, if that’s okay with you. However, last month I read Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani, one of my favourite indie fantasy authors, and can’t wait to get my teeth stuck into the sequel.
DJ: After They Mostly Come Out at Night is released, what is next for you?
BP: I’m answering these questions in between prepping the second Yarnsworld novel for my editor, so I want to get that finished and out to people as soon as I can. I’m also really excited about getting They Mostly Come Out At Night out to a wider audience, I’m hoping to spend a lot of time chatting to new readers.
DJ: Oh! And I almost forget! You are a contest in this year’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off ! Can’t let you leave without asking a few questions about that!
When did you first hear about Mark Lawrence’s Self Published Fantasy Blog Off?
BP: On the Fantasy subreddit, which I stalk daily (and occasionally contribute to). I’m afraid I only discovered the Blog-Off as the 2015 competition came to an end, but I loved the concept, and I loved reading comments from so many readers and authors discussing self-published works. I jumped at the chance when I heard he was starting it again for 2016. I think the jump was accompanied by a tiny squeal of glee.
DJ: What is it that you like about the SPFBO and what made you decided to submit your novel, They Mostly Come Out at Night, to the contest? Aside from winning, what do you hope to achieve from this opportunity?
BP: Ha, I don’t hope to win :p I made a conscious effort to lock that thought away when I first submitted. I know books and authors that I respect and enjoy who didn’t make it through the first round of the last SPFBO, so I didn’t want to put that pressure on myself. I’d love a bit of exposure, maybe a review, but it’s also just another way to get my name out there. Since entering I’ve already had the chance to chat with a handful of other authors taking part, and making links with them has already made the whole process worth it. A big downside of entering is now I’ve got a massive TBR pile of books from the other entries! The quality this year is fantastic…
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page:
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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*** They Mostly Come Out at Night will be released June 16, 2016, but can be pre-ordered now!!! ***
Buy (Pre-Order) the Book:
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Vote for They Mostly Come Out at Night in the SPFBO 2016 Cover Battle:
About the Book:
He locked himself away from the dark, but in the Magpie King’s forest nowhere is safe…
Lonan is an outcast, accused of letting the monsters that stalk the night into the homes of his fellow villagers. Now, he will not rest until he wins back the heart of his childhood love and reclaims the life that was stolen from him. However, locked safely in his cellar at night, in his dreams Lonan finds himself looking through the eyes of a young prince…
Adahy has a destiny, and it terrifies him. How can he hope to live up to the legend of the Magpie King, to become the supernatural protector of the forest and defender of his people? But when the forest is invaded by an inhuman force, Adahy must rise to this challenge or let the Wolves destroy his people.
Watching these events unfold in his sleep, Lonan must do what he can to protect his village from this new threat. He is the only person who can keep his loved ones from being stolen away after dark, and to do so he will have to earn back their trust or watch the monsters kill everyone that he holds dear.
They Mostly Come Out At Night is a Dark Fantasy novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. If you like Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss then you will love this captivating, dangerous world in which ordinary people struggle to find their place in a land ruled by stories.
Start reading today to discover this epic tale of dreams, fables and monsters!
I’m from a small town in Northern Ireland called Banbridge, but have been living and working in Scotland since I moved here at the age of eighteen. Tragically, that was quite a while ago.
I’ve been writing for most of my life, and have been reading for pretty much all of it (with help from mum and dad at the beginning). My life changed when a substitute primary school teacher read my class part of The Hobbit and I asked him for a lend of the book – I fell in love with the fantasy genre and never looked back.
They Mostly Come Out At Night is my debut novel, and is the first novel in The Yarnsworld series. Check out a sample chapter: http://benedictpatrick.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/MostNightSample.pdf