One of Horror’s purposes (in my mind) is to open doors no other genre will, taboo subjects that folks don’t like to talk about. Have you ever opened one of those doors and thought, “… maybe I shouldn’t?” … or have you followed through?
Certainly. In my newest novel, WE CAME BACK, there are a few scenes where animals are harmed by way of a possible ritualistic killing. I didn't like writing them and did it as tastefully as I could. Still, though, these scenes needed to be in the book. The novel itself is about a teenage cult and is based off of rumors of such a thing in my hometown. Growing up, I heard from friends that a group of kids was going around and doing some strange things. Bad things. One of which involved said animal abuse. I had to push myself through these scenes but I feel they make sense in the overall story and have no regrets.
Was there ever a day you doubted being a writer? Any advice for people starting out who might have some doubt?
Only every day. Seriously. I don't know about you but for me, being a writer is mostly trying to convince myself I don't suck. It doesn't get easier. Every time I start a new book, it's like I've forgotten how to write a book. But I push past it, do the best I can, and usually I'm somewhat happy with the end result. There's not a book I've finished that I don't think could be better but at a certain point you have to finish the thing and move on to the next project. That's my advice. Keep writing until it doesn't suck that bad.
What was the best piece of advice you ever got, and how do you implement it?
Most of the writers I admire and respect all have the same golden rule when it comes to writing: sit your ass in the chair and do it. Starting out, I read plenty of how-to books but most of it, in my humble opinion, was bullshit. If you want to be a writer, then write. If not, go do something else. You'll be far happier. I promise. This gig takes undying patience and skin thicker than every dinosaur ever. You have to do the work. I wrote six books before I sold one. That's a lot of hours sitting and typing but that's the only way you can get better. Unless you know a warlock. In that case, forget everything I just said. Also, can you give him my business card?
You recently came here to Ireland and got to take in some of the ancient countryside. Think you’ll work some of what you saw into a story?
Absolutely. I've written two destination novels thus far. The first is my debut novel DREAM WOODS and the second is a novel that has hopefully found itself a home. Fingers crossed. I love the concept of a character traveling somewhere to face evil. It's the perfect horror set up. It may be a trope but tropes stick around for a reason. I have something in mind, something where a writer travels to Ireland to get away from his everyday life, only when he gets there, he's met with something sinister. And I'm not talking about blood pudding here. (Actually, I am.)
Do you have a favourite comment on one of your works that sticks out? Something you can fall back on if you ever need a confidence boost?
Author Tim Meyer said that DREAM WOODS was "like a Goosebumps novel on acid." It may seem silly on the surface but that quote really stuck with me. Goosebumps were my introduction to horror. I wrote a fan fiction entry into the series when I was in third grade entitle THE CURSED SCORPION. It's about a cursed scorpion. Had I not been weaned on the book series, I probably wouldn't be here right now. So whenever I'm having a shit day, I think of that quote.
You play guitar, and you're an avid movie fan. Is there a song, band, or movie that has influenced your writing? An idea from a lyric or a particular scene?
Funny you should ask. I'm currently finishing up a novel about a demonic pop star. I definitely used music as an inspiration for this one but not in the way you would think. I read a story about Justin Bieber fans who were hurting (and in some cases killing) themselves when they found out he'd been arrested. I got to thinking how much power some of these pop stars hold over their fans. What if they could use that for not-so-good purposes. The novel kind of took off from there.
Finally, what’s your favourite Irish mythological creature?
Who's that spud-like man on the Tayto bags? Is he mythological? If so, him. Definitely him.
That’s Mr. Tayto, Pat. Mr. Tayto.
Patrick Lacey’s WE CAME BACK is available in both paperback and eBook here. All proceeds go to The American Cancer Society.