Interview with Author Benedict Patrick

I recently reviewed They Mostly Come Out At Night by Benedict Patrick and found the atmosphere captivating. I'm pleased today to share here my interview with the author. 

What inspired your world building process?

Folktales and fairytales have always captivated me. From an early age, I was surprised at how many different versions of traditional tales were out there. I had a storybook of Red Riding Hood were there was a (with hindsight, very disturbing) picture of the huntsman opening the sleeping wolf’s stomach, loading it with stones, and then with a flip of the page the wolf was drowning in a nearby river. My friends had not heard that version before. As I grew older, I enjoyed finding more obscure folktales – East of the Sun, West of the Moon was a favourite.

When it comes to my own worldbuilding, particularly for the Yarnsworld novels, storytelling traditions are one of the first aspects of worldbuilding that I tackle, whether it’s the warning tales of the Magpie King’s forest and the Crescent Atoll, or the hero worship that is going on in the City of Swords, the stories that the characters in my world tell each other dictate how they act, and what the world around them is like.

Who are you writing for and why?

The correct answer here is for me, isn’t it? 😊 

There’s definitely part of that, especially in the beginning, but I’ve been very lucky to develop a small but dedicated readership, who’ve stuck around through three very different books. Nothing gives me a bigger kick than hearing from those people that they enjoyed my latest story.

What do you do to recharge your creative energy?

I like to game. I try to game as much as possible, but time is a cruel taskmaster. I used to play a LOT of video games, and I do have a Nintendo Switch and a gaming PC, but any time I spend on there now tends to be playing Lego games in co-op with my son. I’m much more successful carving out tabletop gaming time. I meet up with a bunch of friends most Sunday evenings to play board games (and tend to tweet a lot during those sessions!). Once a month, I meet up via Google Hangouts with a bunch of fantasy authors (Timandra Whitecastle, David Benem, Josiah Bancroft and Phil Tucker) to play Dungeons & Dragons. We’ve recently started to release our games sessions as a podcast, Crit Faced.

What reactions do you hope to inspire in others?

Oh, I like catching people off guard, I guess. Bring them to a place they’ve not been to before, share unusual characters and settings. Hopefully the story they finish isn’t quite the story they believed it was when they began.

Where is your writing taking you?

With regards to overall career, I definitely aspire to making this a full-time gig in the next few years, but that is still a long road to travel, albeit a road I’m pretty confident I’m on, now. As I mentioned earlier, I’m very fortunate to have found a readership who like what I do, and that readership keeps growing. One of these days, it’ll be nice to put aside the never-mentioned day job and focus on story all the time.

With regards to the types of stories, I’ve been jumping around the Yarnsworld for the first three novels, visiting different locations and different characters. For the next few Yarnsworld books, I’d like to revisit some of those locations, see how those stories have developed over time. In saying that, I read Nick Eames’ Kings of the Wyld last year, and that book hit me like a sledgehammer. It was fun, just pure, unfiltered fun. I would love to create something that made readers feel a fraction of that, and that desire is weighing on my mind a lot as I figure out which projects to tackle next…

More of Benedict Patrick's work:

Twitter: @benedictpaddy

Crit Faced Podcast:

Review: They Mostly Come Out At Night by Benedict Patrick

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.

5 of 5 stars!

They Mostly Come Out At Night is wonderfully put together, with a consistent folk tale atmosphere that blends two cultures, histories, myths, and current scenes, with a coming of age journey.

The setting is an old forest filled with dangers and secrets, and some disagreement about whether the dangers are mythical or real. The villagers haven't been in touch with the forest dwellers in at least a generation, and what used to be accepted knowledge has become rumor.

The main character, Lonan, is a bit of an outcast. He doesn't really have a skill or a place in the village. When he starts having strange dreams, he wonders if they are leading him toward some new meaning in his life. What dangers lurk in the forest? Are the villagers doing enough to protect themselves? Do they even need protection anymore? The dreams end up connecting directly with Lonan's future, in an excellent way that I didn't see coming.

Yarnsworld weaves a spell that entranced me completely. From the beginning of the story, I sank into this world. Chapters are divided with short folk tales of the culture that are referred to in other parts of the story. It's a charming way to fill out the oral history of the characters and develop the cultures better. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to create folk tales that sound old and well-established but are original to a fantasy world. This author makes it look easy.

This short novel is a complicated piece that fits together very tightly and celebrates the value of oral histories, and the heroes and lessons they share. I highly recommend it for dark fantasy readers who enjoy folk tales, tribal customs, witches, tricksters, and intricate storytelling.

You can find it here on Amazon or here on Goodreads

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