I met Patrick on a writing site. I fell pretty fast for his wit and humor, then fell even harder when I read his writing. He does a wonderful job with action, adventure tales full of intrigue and suspense.
Along with writing great stories, Patrick is a big help to other writers. He never fails to take a moment to offer some sage advice, or tickle your funny bone.
Without further ado, I give you Patrick Link.
Hey Patrick, thanks for joining us! You ready? I’m ready, let’s get started. Why did you choose to write Action/Adventure?
Patrick: Action/Adventure just made sense for me. I’ve lived a full life in 53 years with a wealth of experience in places all over the world. I’ve met so many amazing people along the way. They make for great character fodder.
There’s also the aspect of how I became a writer. I was on a business trip, sitting alone in a hotel room when I was reminded of something that happened to me back in the 80’s in a bar in Key Largo, FL.
A man struck up a conversation with me. He was a Cuban-American and a Vietnam vet. After telling some Army stories, he started talking about how if he was a young guy, what he’d be doing. I slowly realized that he was asking me if I was interested in becoming a sicario (Spanish for hired gun) for a drug lord.
Once all that dawned on me, I paid for my drinks, bid him good-bye and left. I considered the guy to be an old man on a barstool telling bullsh** stories and forgot about it.
I didn’t think about the incident for decades, but for some reason, that night at the hotel, I recalled it and began to wonder, “What if he wasn’t full of BS? What if he was telling the truth?” And most importantly, “What if I had said yes?”
My mind raced with the idea. I jumped on the computer and Googled “Drug Trade in the 1980’s” What I discovered amazed me. The concept for my first novel, “Night Planes” was born and I started typing.
What an awesome way to become a writer. What do you think makes a good action adventure story?
Patrick: I don’t claim to be any sort of expert, but in my opinion, there are two primary aspects to an adventure story; the hero and the quest.
There are two kinds of heroes. The accidental hero (think Bilbo Baggins) and the professional hero (think James Bond). In my first novel, my protagonist, Mike Barnes is definitely an accidental hero, a small town kid from Ohio who gets swept away into the drug trade. In my upcoming work, my protagonist, David “Stitch” Hamilton is an Army Special Forces veteran and thus a professional hero.
Regarding the quest, whether the characters are going to slay a dragon, destroy a magic ring or discover a hidden treasure, they must leave the comforts of home (a big deal for the accidental hero, not so much for the professional) and travel to some remote, exotic place, facing danger at every turn in their attempt to achieve their quest.
What are you currently working on and what is it about?
Patrick: As I mentioned above, my current work revolves around a character named David, “Stitch” Hamilton. Stitch is a classic action hero. He has a ton of military experience, so he’s at home with multiple weapons and tactics. He’s an attractive guy and it’s easy to see why some women gravitate toward him, but he’s damaged, suffering from the loss of his wife and infant son as well as PTSD from his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
His greatest asset though is his powerful sense of right and wrong. That’s his modus operandi. He is a righter of wrongs. I expect this piece to be his introductory work with many Stitch novels to follow.
This work is titled Yamashita’s Gold, he’s in the Philippines helping a young woman find her missing father and searching for a huge cache of gold, hidden in the Philippine jungles by the Japanese during World War II.
Where do your ideas come from?
Patrick: As you can see, I like to take real life experiences, stories and characters and add the “Yeah, but what if?” aspect of dramatic license. Yamashita’s Gold is real, at least the legend of it is anyway. The drug trade in the 1980’s was certainly real as well.
That sounds like a fun way to tell a story. How are you publishing your writing and why?
Patrick: I’m self-publishing for the simple reason that no one picked me up. I sent out feelers to literary agents and indie’s and, like I said no one picked me up. It was a tough pill to swallow at first, but writing is a hobby for me. I’m not trying to make a living doing it. So self-publishing turned out to be a major blessing for me to see my works in print and in e-book form and have people outside of my immediate friends and family read and enjoy my books.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published?
Patrick: With the state of publishing today, if you’re not a total rock star like George R.R. Martin or James Patterson, being published and marketed by the Big Five, I feel that self-publishing is the way to go. With technology such as it is, indie’s, in my opinion are really just self-publishers who put their name on your work, take most of your profit and still expect you to do ALL the work. What’s the point?
My number one piece of advice to anyone interested in writing is don’t assume that you get to write a book, turn in an unedited manuscript to your agent, collect a big fat paycheck and then go play. It doesn’t work like that. Today, writers are responsible to write, edit, format and even market their own work. Why use an indie? Do it all yourself and keep the money (such as it is).
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Patrick: Marketing, in my opinion, is the hardest part of the entire process. It’s tough. The self-publishing revolution has so many positive aspects, but one of the negative aspects is that there is just so much more out there for readers to choose from. I will also agree with some of the critics of self-publishing in that the vetting process isn’t the same. It’s not non-existent, as some would claim, it’s just different. The Amazon algorithms do a fantastic job of vetting by keeping the lessor quality works buried in the slushpile of the millions of works available there.
All that being said, how do you convince people to spend their hard earned money on your work? That’s a difficult question with no easy answers. My work might be damn good, but how I do compete with the Big Five with New York Times reviews and big name authors? Readers are likely to gravitate that way, intentionally or otherwise.
I agree. Which leads me to the question. What’s your views on social media for marketing, and which of them have worked best for you?
Patrick: I look at it as a necessary evil. I do it. I mean I have like eight hundred and some Twitter followers, but you can’t just tweet variations on a theme of “BUY MY BOOK!” It gets old.
One of the things I’ve done with my new work is that I’ve given Stitch his own Facebook page. He has over 10,000 likes. I hope that translates to sales when the book comes out, but that remains to be seen.
Now for some personal questions. What is your favorite quote?
Patrick: I have a lot of them. One is a from the legendary Ohio State football coach, Woody Hayes who said, “Nothing cleanses the soul like a good ass kicking.” Believe me, I’ve had my soul cleansed a few times in my life.
Another is from the boxing great, Mike Tyson, who said, “Everybody has a plan. Until they get punched in the face.”
My overall favorite though has to be a line from the southern rock band Molly Hatchet in their song “Flirtin’ with Disaster”. It goes, “When we gamble with our time, we choose our destiny.” This speaks to me in that, as a young man, I definitely lived a life “flirtin’ with disaster” and gambling with my time every day. But those risks come with a cost. I’ve had to work hard for a lot of years to overcome those costs.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
Patrick: “There I go. Turn the page.”
Great choice! Thanks for taking some time out to talk to us. I had a blast!
What can you say about a guy who woke up one morning at the age of fifty and decided to write a book? How does that even work? In retrospect, I’d say the guy was nuts. Well, not really nuts. Maybe just, I don’t know, a little weird.
I grew up the old fashioned way in a large, nuclear family in the Midwest. Looking for excitement and adventure, I moved to Miami, Florida in the mid eighties. It was the peak of the Miami Vice, Scarface, and Smuggler’s Blues era.
After a two year stint in Miami, I came back to the Midwest where I started my career in the automotive industry. A career that took me to twenty something automotive assembly plants in five countries. So did I write about the automotive industry? Actually no, I wrote a novel about the cocaine trade in the 1980’s. I did say I was a little weird.