Today I am interviewing Patrick W. Carr, author of the new fantasy novel, The Wounded Shadow, final book in The Darkwater Saga.
◊ ◊ ◊
DJ: Hi Patrick! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Patrick W. Carr: DJ, thank you for having me and hello to all your readers. I’m a public school teacher by day and epic fantasy author by night. I have an awesome wife, Mary, who is a nurse, and four amazing sons. Mary and I are mostly empty-nesters at this point, but we do have a dog, Mr. Fruffles.
DJ: What is The Wounded Shadow and then The Darkwater Saga about?
Patrick: The inspiration for the entire series came from my desire to take the traditional epic fantasy and weld that with the mystery genre. I tell people that it’s like Sherlock Holmes meets Lord of the Rings. The main character was inspired by my dad. He was a fighter pilot in the Air Force and flew combat in Korea and Vietnam. Like a lot of people, he came back from Vietnam with PTSD and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve taken a lot of courage from the way he struggled with the injuries from war that no one could see. I made my main character, a reeve (detective) name Willet Dura, a war veteran who bears those kinds of scars, but it’s a fantasy, so there’s quite a bit more to the story than just that.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Darkwater Saga?
Patrick: I’d never published a mystery novel before and thought it would be a good idea to read the masters. I’d read Sherlock Holmes from the time I was a boy, but I wanted more of the “hard-bitten” detective feel from the noir movies of the 30’s and 40’s, so I went back and read everything from Raymond Chandler I could get my hands on. He’s the author of all the “Phillip Marlowe” novels. I also read a mix of more contemporary books before I put words to the page of the current series.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Patrick: Well, I’ve already mentioned that Willet has a fantasy version of PTSD, but he has a fascination with death. Because of his experiences he wants desperately to know what’s on the other side. Then there’s his guard, a man named Bolt, who has his own past, and even though he’s older, he’s still deadlier with a sword than just about anyone. As they work to solve a murder in the first book of the series, The Shock of Night, they acquire the services of Rory. He’s the leader of the urchins, a group of young street beggars who have eyes everywhere in the city. Then there’s Gael, Willet’s love interest from the introductory novella, By Divine Right. She’s smart and tough in her own way and as stubborn as iron. She’s not beautiful in the current fashion, but Willet thinks he’s never seen anyone as striking.
DJ: What is the world and setting of The Darkwater Saga like?
Patrick: The world is split into two major continent and the story takes place on the northern continent. Religion is a big part and tends to mirror our own history. The southern continent is monolithic in their politics and religion while the northern continent has split into seven kingdoms. The religion on the northern continent split as well, in their version of the Reformation, resulting in four orders of the religion. The technology is equivalent to 1500’s -1600’s level earth. The people, however, are split by those who are “gifted” and those who aren’t. Those who have inherited one of the “charisms” are usually within the nobility, depending on the type of gift and its strength, while those are are without a gift, are relegated to being laborers or craftsmen. This creates quite a bit of tension, as you might imagine. Kingdoms are governed by whatever men or women happen to hold the gift of kings, a complicated gift, and there’s only six of those on the northern continent. Needless to say, the history of the northern continent has been bloody as wars have been fought over the breakup of the original church and those who have tried to consolidate the gifts and the gift of kings.
DJ: How have the reviews been from readers, bloggers, and reviewers for the first two books of The Darkwater Saga? Is there anything that your audience seems to be particularly enjoying or is eager to find out more about?
Patrick: Both The Shock of Night and The Shattered Vigil won the Inspy Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel and the reviews have been very positive. Quite a few have noted how much they’ve enjoyed the depth of the characters and how “real” the world feels. One reviewer noted that the world offered enough story ideas to fuel any number of books. I don’t know if I have the ambition for that, but it was nice to see that confirmation on my world-building efforts. Everyone wants to know what lies behind the evil of the Darkwater forest. Anyone who lets night fall on them while they’re in the forest goes insane sooner or later.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Wounded Shadow?
Patrick: I think I enjoyed the “Big Reveal” the most. I’d been building up to that moment for the whole series and when I got to that point in the novel, it was just so much fun to finally put it on paper. It answered a question that I had raised all the way back in the introductory novella, which was why the gift of kings couldn’t be split. It was a lot of fun to let my imagination run wild.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Patrick: A few readers have already told me how wonderfully consistent they find the world to be and how satisfying the ending is. Other than that, I think a lot of them will enjoy going back through the series and noting the clues that are tucked away here and there. Also, there is a subplot involving Mark, who is one of the street beggars. I think readers are really going to take to him in particular. I loved writing his story.
DJ: Did you have a goal when you began writing The Darkwater saga?Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Patrick: I always try to have a theme for each of my series. For The Staff and the Sword, it was that everyone has secrets. For The Darkwater Saga, it was that our minds our broken, sometimes in ways that we can’t see ourselves. I don’t want to say anymore on that. It would be a huge spoiler.
DJ: I’m always curious when authors finish a series, how close to the original course they stayed when it is finally completed or if it ended up evolving and changing. Did the plot stay the same as you had first imagined it? How about the ending? The evolution of your characters?
Patrick: Wow. That is a great question. I don’t tend to think of myself as a “plotter” or a “pantster.” I approach a story with an idea of where I want to end and what the first inciting incident will be. Then I sit and craft my characters in great detail, so much that most of it never makes it into the story. Then I throw the inciting incident at them and let them react. The characters tell the story from that point on and they tend to evolve quite a bit through their trials, just as real people would. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments from my editors about how real my characters are, even the tertiary ones, so it must be working. I love it when my characters surprise me.
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 The Wounded Shadow that you can share with us?
Patrick: “Millennia ago I stood on the edge of eternity and swore I could bear my solitude, believing my desire for retribution would be enough to sustain me. I was wrong. Time is an implacable torturer.” I won’t name the character, but the quote is essential to the series. 😉
DJ: Now that The Wounded Shadow is released, what is next for you?
Patrick: I need a bit of rest before I tackle the next writing project. An epic fantasy of the scale of Darkwater is a huge undertaking and I wrote this one while I was teaching and going to grad school. My body is telling me to take a few months to recharge. After that I have a few projects rattling around my brain, it’s just a matter of picking one of them.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Patrick-W.-Carr/e/B00B6CP650/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Author Newsletter: Readers can sign up on my webpage www.patrickwcarr.com
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Wounded Shadow and The Darkwater Saga that we haven’t talked about yet?
Patrick: It’s best to start with the introductory novella, By Divine Right. Some of the world-building takes place there and it will help readers settle in before starting The Shock of Night.
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
Patrick: Thank you so much for having me. I hope your readers will let me know if they would like for me to revisit Willet Dura’s world.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
◊ ◊ ◊
*** The Wounded Shadow is published by Bethany House and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
◊ ◊ ◊
The kings and queens of the northern continent lay siege to the Darkwater Forest, desperate to contain its evil. But rumors of gold and aurium have lured deserters and the desperate into its shadow, creating a growing army held in its sway. Desperate after the death and dissolution of their greatest ally, Willet and the Vigil seek the truth of what lies at the heart of the evil they face. They delve the mind of an old enemy and find an answer far worse than they could have imagined.
Danger stalks the cities of the north, striking at the rulers of the kingdoms. As Willet and the rest of the Vigil seek to find answers, the group is scattered with an ever-growing darkness around them. Will they discover a path to keep their land safe, or will an ancient evil reclaim the world it once called its own?
About the Author:
Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last eight years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist, and he wrestles with the complexity of improvisation on a daily basis. While Patrick enjoys reading about himself, he thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.