I have written 6 books. I am what I like to call a genre-bending author. I like to take an established genre and play with it. Shake it up and play off the clichés. This usually results in some wicked humor and a bruised genre ego.
As an example I will focus on my vampire tale Bloodlines – the Quest. The book is available as an e-book and in print version on Amazon.com
Volter, a renegade European vampire arrives in a small Ohio town bent on destroying a colony of mutant vampires (neither fully vampire nor fully human), which he believes to be an inferior disgrace to the true vampire race. The mutants have kept their identity unknown, as they are no threat to the human population. It is Volter’s goal is to turn the blame for his ensuing bloody rampage upon the mutants themselves, hoping they will be destroyed by the citizens once their identity is revealed. However, a local amateur detective and his friends become involved in the fight to eradicate Volter and save the reputation of the mutants who are solid community members. But Volter is a formidable force not easily defeated.
One way I shake up this book is to make the main character, who is the sleuth and a history professor, gay. His boyfriend becomes a prime ingredient in the unfolding of the plot. And while a gay sleuth is not unique, this detective is an amateur and has to fumble his way through the investigation.
Who is your favorite character?
I would have to say my favorite character is Stella, a blowsy, artsy broad who is best friends with the gay couple. She becomes romantically involved with a Dutch vampire expert brought in to help with the investigation. Vulnerable but tough she is a wonderful foil to the sometimes fumbling professor.
Why would a reader be interested in this book?
I think a reader might find the book interesting because, while it is a good vampire tale with suspense and some pretty gruesome scenes, it is also laced with a great deal of humor and some unusual characters. If you like your favorite genre, yet like a fresh viewpoint, I think the reader will find this book amusing.
What is your writing process?
I usually work about 5 hours a day before I begin to fade and feel the quality might suffer. I am a very intuitive writer. I usually start with an idea, a title, and a few of my main characters. I do almost no plotting ahead of time. I just jump right in and write my first line and go from there. I find my characters take over and direct the plot and the direction of the book. For example, in one book I was writing I was going along and realized I needed to kill off one of my main characters. I had had no intention of doing that, but the character was telling me I just needed to do it. And I learned long ago that I had to obey my characters directions. And sure enough it was just the right thing to do. If I am true to my process I seem to just breeze along, and even though I may have no idea how the book will end it always does with just the right conclusion and on the right note. Sometimes it’s a little scary because I feel I might be writing myself into a corner, but I never do – it’s fun and a grand adventure.
How did you start writing?
Some – well, actually many – years ago I started writing as a playwright, but life took me elsewhere. Then again I picked up writing as a screenwriter, and boy was that a dead end. Twenty qazillion screenwriters and no one would read what you wrote.
Then I moved to Santa Fe and joined the 9-5 workforce. Then in 2008 I found myself unemployed. After endless house cleaning and arranging all my recipes, a friend of mine suggested I might like the Lucia series of books by E.F. Benson. I read them and was delighted with the wit and humor of the saucy ladies in small town England during the 1920’s and 30’s. This reminded me very much of the catty Santa Fe social scene and I decided to write a satire about Santa Fe which became my first book Divas Never Flinch. This was published by a subsidiary publisher, and while the initial preparation of the book was satisfactory, the marketing was not. I switched to another small publisher but again was not satisfied with the marketing – or rather the lack of it. That is when I decided I wanted to self-publish and my last three books were published that way.
What is most difficult about writing for you?
Actually nothing about writing but Oh – the marketing. This is without a doubt the most difficult task for me. I am a writer not a marketer. Now I’m sure that is true for most fiction writers. Non-fiction writers less so, as they are pretty savvy when it comes to promotion as a lot of their books are about promotion. However, we poor huddled masses of fiction writers struggle greatly. Well, at least I do. But I am trying and while I struggle with marketing my writing languishes. But not for long. I already have my next book in mind. Again a genre-bending heist book. And I do look forward to jumping into that soon.
Where can readers learn more about your books?
One may examine all of my books on my website and blog – http://www.jonmcdonaldauthor.com.
My books may be accessed from my Author’s page on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1f3YOFT
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.