Welcome to A Cast of Stones Author Patrick W. Carr! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions about your life and book!
Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. 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 five 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. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.
A Cast of Stones Interview with Patrick W. Carr:
If a movie was made about your book, who do you picture playing the lead roles? Why?
I based a lot of my characters on real people in order to get the descriptions right so here goes.
Errol – my son, Patrick. He’s the right build and the right age.
Luis – Stanley Tucci. He can play serious or comic relief
Martin – Alan Hale (if he were still alive). He’s got that lovable gruffness that would be perfect.
Rale – Liam Neeson. Man, who wouldn’t want Liam Neeson in their movie. He’s awesome.
Rokha – This one’s harder. I don’t have anyone in mind, but I’ll know her when I see her.
Adora – Gwyneth Paltrow, although she might be a little old for the role at this point.
Naaman Ru – Mandy Patinkin. His look for The Princess Bride was the inspiration for this character.
Please tell us in 20 words or less, why we should read your book.
The characters will stay you. It’s a story you can read over and over again and still find something new.
Do you bake? If so, box or from scratch?
Scratch always. People tell me I make great pizza and fudge.
The way people in Nashville drive. Other than that it’s the friendliest city I’ve ever been in. Can’t have everything I guess.
What book is on your night stand now?
None. I can’t read and write at the same time. My goal is to be a multi-tasker some day.
If you could have a first edition signed copy of any novel, what would it be and why?
This is going to sound mercenary, but whoever’s signature would be worth the most. Mary and I are saving to put the kids through college. Have you seen tuition costs lately? They’re insane!
Do you have plans for a new book? Goals for future projects?
As soon as I finish “The Staff and the Sword” I want to start work on a detective series. I’ve always wanted to write the noir/first person kind of book
Describe the cover in 10 words or less.
Ominous with the hint of evil looking over the kingdom.
How did you come up with the title of the book?
I felt a bit unsatisfied with the original title because it was going to be a spoiler. The title just kind of came to me. I really like it because it was such a fun play on words. The really cool part was being able to use the title of the book as the title for the epilogue.
Did you lose any characters along the way?
Yes. It’s an epic fantasy, but it’s like real life too. People live and die and they pass through our lives, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. It’s always that way on this side of eternity. Either they die or we do. I’m glad we’ll get to be together again.
Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what way(s)?
All of my characters have flaws. I didn’t have to look very far for those, but the character most like me would be Luis. He’s not in charge and he just wants to do his job as best he can, but he can get very stubborn on occasion.
Have you ever written anything that you thought would be controversial and found it wasn’t?
Well, I actually had some doubts about “A Cast of Stones.” Since it’s being published as Christian fiction, I was afraid people would try to interpret it as a vehicle for my personal theology, which it is absolutely, emphatically not. It’s a story with some good themes, but it’s not a commentary. So far, I don’t think anyone’s gone there though there have been a few questions that have made me wonder.
At what point in your life did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I was about 40. I’m sorry I came to it so late, but I also think it’s a good thing. Young people (and society) put so much pressure on themselves to have everything planned out early. I think we all need to take a deep breath and concentrate on being flexible.
What is your favorite Quote?
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run, then yours is the world and all that’s in it, and what’s more, you’ll be a man my son.” Kipling
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Hang out with my family. We can watch movies, play music (well, they can anyway), or play games, but my wife and kids are just a lot of fun to be around. I’m so fortunate that way. Mary and I have four sons. Our motto is “we’re always a party.”
If you could get front row tickets to watch any performance live, who would you like to go see?
Wow. That’s a tough one. Maybe Les Miserables’ on Broadway for theater and for a concert I’d like to see Herbie Hancock play jazz.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I either exercise or read.
What are three words that best describe you?
Private, Passionate, Enthusiastic
What’s your ‘guilty pleasure’ TV show?
The Big Bang Theory. The guy that plays Sheldon is brilliant. Of course, I went to Georgia Tech so he’s also really familiar.
Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook, absolutely. I’m not convinced people want to know what I’m eating for lunch.
You’re hosting a dinner party for a famous writer, dead or alive. Who’s on the invite list and who’s your guest of honor?
Guest of honor – Robert Jordan Invite List – Stephen R. Donaldson, David Eddings, Raymond E. Feist, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Terry Goodkind, Jim Butcher, and Guy Kay.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I used to read to my children a lot. I got the idea to write a book for them in which they were the main characters. That’s when the bug really hit me.
Who designed the cover of your book?
The people at Bethany House took a concept drawing that I worked out with my nephew, Doug Dabbs. He’s an art professor at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta and an amazing artist in his own right. The folks at Bethany did an awesome job on the first cover. The comments have been almost universally positive.
If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be?
Robert Jordan. I’d love to know how he managed to write a story of that magnitude (The Wheel of Time).
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If so, what did you do about it?
Yes. It happens occasionally when I can’t see how to get from one point in the plot to the next. When it does, I close up the laptop and go to pen and paper. Having to write by hand forces me to be more creative.
What is your writing process like? Do you follow a regular routine?
Because I work a regular full time job, I teach high school math (Martin Luther King Magnet in Nashville -woohoo!) I have to be very disciplined. I set aside an hour or two each night to write. Sometimes it’s good, other times not so much, but I rarely miss.
What book(s) or author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
David Eddings – The Belgariad. Awesome characterization and dialog Stephen R. Donaldson – Thomas Covenant. Incredible description and wording. Guy Kay – The Fionaver Tapesty. Outstanding plotting.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Pretty early on I entered competition and one of the judges basically told me not to quit my day job. I thought I had done pretty well and the criticism felt like a hammer to the gut. After a few days, I went back and tried to figure out what it was about my writing that led them to that comment. In the end, it was great criticism. All the praise in the world won’t make you a better writer.
What is your favorite genre to read/write?
Fantasy or detective.
If you could jump in fairy tale, and live in that world… which would it be?
I’d jump into Narnia, for obvious reasons.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Finish the first draft. The biggest impediment to a writer is the “forever edit” loop. The inertia against finishing the first draft is considerable, but once you overcome it you’ll find the editing process easier.
What book are you reading now?
I’m not. I can’t read and write at the same time. Someday, I’d like to be able to multi-task but I’m not there yet. I plan on reading a lot of detective novels when I’m done with this series.
Do you skip around, peek at the ending, or do you read straight through a book?
Straight through. I want to savor every scene. One of the problems with writing and editing so much has been it’s made me a very picky reader. When I find a writer I really enjoy, though, I really settle in for a good long read.
Do you have any suggestions to add to my reading list?
All the books that influenced me I listed. None of them are short of incredible.
Favorite places to vacation?
Hawaii and the Smoky Mountains.
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
Maybe a book on mathematics. That may sound strange, but most of our elected officials are woefully ignorant mathematically. Our debt and spending are on an exponential growth curve and those never end well. History is replete with nations that have tried to ignore or finesse their way out of over spending, but it never works.
I can juggle and read at the same time.
What were your favorite books as a child?
Peanuts books by Charles M. Schultz. It’s how I learned to read.
Where do you like to read?
We have this big comfy chair in the den in front of the fireplace. It’s perfect.
What’s the last truly great book you read?
Greatness? That’s a pretty lofty accolade. I’ve really enjoyed the way Brandon Sanderson has been wrapping up the “Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan so I’ll go with that.
How do you react to a bad review?
I give it some time to let the sting fade and then I try to figure out if their criticism has merit. If it does, I try to fix the problem.
What’s your favorite holiday?
Christmas. All my sons come home for a few weeks and we have a blast!
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I took everybody out for dinner at Athens Restaurant. It’s a Greek place close to our house.
Cable, Satellite, Antenna or Netflix?
Cable for the basic and Netflix for the movies (Redbox too).
What does your workspace look like?
Scraps of paper everywhere. I have to go through and organize about once a week.
What’s your favorite thing about Winter?
The way the sugar maples turn those amazing red and orange colors. The break in the heat is pretty nice too.
What are your favorite go-to recipes for everyday dinners?
Burritos, homemade pizza, and spaghetti with meatballs.
Which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Brandon Sanderson or Jim Butcher, although “learn from” might be a better description.
What are 3 of your all time favorite books?
The Belgariad by David Eddings. Magician by Raymond Feist, and Lord of the Rings by Tolkien.
Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone discovers he possesses a vital and dangerous gift that could save or doom his kingdom.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I read a Bible verse that said “God is in the lot.” My imagination kind of ran wild with it and “A Cast of Stones” was born.
What genre does your book fall under?
How do you replenish your writing spirit?
Chocolate and caffeine usually do a pretty good job.
Tell everyone where they can go to stay up to date on your latest news!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Yes. Thanks to every reader out there. You’ve given me the opportunity to tell a story I’ve fallen in love with.
A Cast of Stones
An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers Will Love
In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone’s search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he’s joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.
Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom’s dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.
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