A Conversation with Patrick W. Carr

INSPYs 2016-Patrick Carr

Hello, INSPYs readers. Today, we again have the pleasure of hosting another 2016 shortlist author. Popular speculative fiction author, Patrick W. Carr joins us. Author of multiple titles, Patrick is a familiar fantasy author name (he’s been shortlisted in the INSPYs, too) in this market . His novel, The Shock of Night (Bethany House) made the final of our 2016 shortlist in the Speculative Fiction category.

We chat with Patrick today about what inspired The Shock of Night, and learn about some of the music his son composed, plus he gives us a sneak peek into what’s next!

When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded on the streets of Bunard, Willet Dura is called to investigate. Yet the clues to the crime lead to Book - ShockOfNightCovercontradictions and questions without answers. As Willet begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word.

Willet returns to the city, no closer to answers than before, but his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, a twist seen at the edge of his vision, and it’s as though he can see their deepest thoughts. In a world divided between haves and have-nots, gifted and common, Willet soon learns he’s been passed the rarest gift of all: a gift that’s not supposed to exist.

Now Willet must pursue the murderer still on the loose in Bunard even as he’s pulled into a much more dangerous and epic conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world–a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his own tortured past if he wants to survive. – Goodreads | Amazon

INSPYs: What inspired you to write The Shock of Night?

Patrick's bookshelf, complete with a photo of his wedding day and sons.

Patrick’s bookshelf, complete with a photo of his wedding day and sons.

From the time I learned to read, I’ve always loved detective stories. When I was in elementary school, I would read every book from this series, “Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators.” Then as I got older, I started reading the Sherlock Holmes stories and when I would visit my grandparents, I would read some of my grandmother’s Agatha Christie books. I’ve always wanted to write a detective series and after I finished “The Staff and the Sword” it seemed natural to go in that direction. At first, I was going to write it as a contemporary fantasy, but my editor and agent encouraged me to keep the story set in a more-or-less medieval timeframe and to try to incorporate the story into an epic fantasy. So, I guess you could say “The Darkwater Saga” is my attempt to marry two genres together. I like to describe it as Epic-fantasy-detective-suspense.

Of course, once I had the story idea, I needed a compelling main character. As usual, I looked to my personal experiences and came up with the idea of having a detective who is suffering from PTSD and dissociative disorder, albeit in a medieval fantasy sort of way. My dad was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force in Korea and Vietnam and, like most of our veterans, returned with a lot of internal scars. The idea of having a main character who is still struggling with his memories of war from ten years ago appealed to me and I latched onto that as a way to honor the men and women in our country who have given so much. What made Willet so attractive to me as a central character is that his flaws keep him from being a reliable witness. Even though the reader is experiencing events through his point of view, whether those events and recollections are true remains in doubt. I have to admit that Willet Dura may my favorite character to date.

INSPYs: can you give us a peek into what’s coming next?

Sometimes, a change of scenery is needed. This is one of the views Patrick enjoys near his home.

Sometimes, a change of scenery is needed. This is one of the scenes Patrick enjoys near his home.

The Shattered Vigil, the sequel to The Shock of Night, will be releasing this fall. Karen Schurrer (my editor) and I are putting the finishing touches on the novel and we’re almost ready to begin the final edits where we’re mostly just smoothing out the language and the wording. All of my beta-readers have told me it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, so I’m pretty excited. This second book in the series will see the return of some characters, the urchins, we met at the end of the first book and will expand on their role. The title is a pretty good indication of how desperate things become for Willet and the rest of the Vigil and there are some consequences to Willet’s gift that he’s only just now beginning to realize. By the end of this book, we know who our ultimate bad guy is.


  • What are you listening to? I’m listening to a lot of jazz right now. My son, Patrick, who composed the music to the book trailer we threw together for “A Cast of Stones,” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqmIFM3T080) is giving me piano lessons and one of the requirements to that is listening to a lot of the great artists like Oscar Peterson and Red Garland. I’m very blessed to have a son who is so patient with me. I’m not exactly a budding Mozart. Of course, I can’t listen to jazz while I’m trying to write, it takes too much of my attention. For that I usually listen to some instrumental music that allows me to focus on the story, something along the lines of Windham Hill Chill.
  • What are you watching? I don’t watch television very much except to unwind after a long day at school. I did catch a few episodes of a cancelled series called “Forever” and enjoyed it, but most of my viewing amounts to channel surfing as I let go of a long day. I do have a few series that I enjoy, such as Sherlock, Daredevil, and Dark Matter, but I plow through those pretty quickly. I’m currently not watching anything of note.
  • What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? So many things! I finished “The Way of Kings” a few weeks ago and this summer I want to read “The Pillars of the Earth,” “Night Circus,” and “All the Light We Cannot See.” Not that I’ll be able to get to all of them, but they all come highly recommended to me from friends. Much of this summer will be spent working on the third book to “The Darkwater Saga.”

Thank you for joining us today, Patrick. It was a pleasure to talk with you, learn more about what inspired The Shock of Night and talk about favorite TV shows (Sherlock is amazing).


Patrick W. Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of cold war tensions. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale Patrick Carrevery three years until his father retired to Tennessee.

Author Website | Facebook