Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Author Interview: Den Patrick

Today's author interview is with Den Patrick.


1. First, who is Den Patrick? Tell me about yourself.
I live in London, where I’ve had jobs as a bookseller and comics editor. I worked for Games Workshop many years ago in their stores. I still enjoying tabletop gaming, role playing games, card games, console games... you get the idea. I also reviewed SFF books for a few years for the now defunct Dreamwatch Magazine. I’m originally from Dorset, born to Londoner parents. I attended a performing arts college, which just goes to prove you never  know what you’ll be when you eventually grow up.

2. In your new book, The Boy with the Porcelain Blade, we have Lucien who is Orfano. Enlighten is what that means.
The Orfano are, as you might guess, orphaned children, found on the steps of Demesne, the vast sprawling castle where the novel takes place. The Orfano are unique from other foundlings, bearing strange deformities and possessing talents. The reclusive king has decreed that the Orfano be fostered with one of the four Great Houses. The Orfano are distrusted because of their otherness; the more superstitious folk of Landfall think them witches, or streghe in the old tongue.

3. How was Lucien born in your mind?
I tried to ask myself what it would be like to grow up in that environment. I studied counseling and family counseling briefly and I’m fascinated by what makes people tick: nature, nurture, environment, conditioning and so on. Lucien lacks ears and is self-conscious about his deformity, though he tries to hide it with long hair, fine clothes, and a teenage bravura he rarely feels. 

Lucien was always going to be brat, growing up in Demesne with so much privilege. It was important to surround him with people who would humanize and ground him. Camelia the cook becomes a mother figure to him. His relationship with Rafaela, his nanny changes over the course of the novel, but she is frequently a conscience of sorts. 

4. What's the best thing about writing fantasy?
All genres have their tropes, but I like to think Fantasy is more mutable. Daniel Polansky added a strong noir flavour to his Low Town Novels. Richard Morgan, Mark Charan Newton and M. John Harrison all feature technology, and that’s before we get into Urban Fantasy, which has become a distinct genre to itself. Reviews have already commented that The Boy with the Porcelain Blade feels like a Thriller, but features a dash of Horror, and even nods to Gothic. I think it’s great that people can see those influences bleeding through.

5. If you could choose a fantasy world other than your own, which world would you like to explore and why?
I couldn’t stay in Mark Charan Newton’s rich and mysterious Villjamur on account of the fierce cold. 

China Miéville’s New Crobuzon feels like a Weird version of London (where I currently live). I would love to meet a cactus person. Downside: Slakemoths, and the police state.

Rivendell would be great place to go for a writing retreat but I’m pretty sure I’d get bored after a week. There’s only so much unearthly singing and angelic beauty I can take.

I have a terrible sense of direction. I’d be taking my life in hands visiting M. John Harrison’s Viriconium, a vast, tumbledown, unknowable city.

I realise I’ve unwittingly answered this question citing Fantasy cities, which just goes to prove where my heart is. Ultimately, I think I’d live in Scott Lynch’s Camorr. A nice high tower in the Videnza, round the corner from Madam Strollo’s candle shop. I’d have a view of the sea and wide windows for lots of sunlight.

6. Last, what are you working on right now?
I’m editing book two of The Erebus Sequence, the follow up to The Boy with the Porcelain Blade. It’s set nine years after the first novel, and features a new point of view character. I tend to stick with a single point of view for the length of the novel, so it’s fun to have a new protagonist. The emergence of a shadowy manipulator called Erebus creates a crisis that threatens to destroy the fragile peace. It’s proving to be a lot of work, but very rewarding.


The Boy with the Porcelain Blade is out tomorrow, March 20th from Gollancz


  1. I don't read too much fantasy perhaps I need to change that. This looks like an interesting read, I am waiting for your review. I think he has a great job a bookseller, author and a comic editor, sounds like fun!

  2. Looking forward to getting this book, though looks like I'm going to have to hit up the book depository again as it doesn't seem to have a US release date yet.

    And oh man, I'd never get tired of living in Rivendell. As long as I can take trips out to the Shire too.


  3. Thanks so much for the interview Den and B! I too need to add a lot more fantasy into my reading diet. I'm definitely intrigued by The Boy With the Porcelian Blade and will be adding it to my TBR list.

  4. I love fantasy so this sounds right up my alley. And I doubt I would ever get tired of living in Rivendell.

    Thanks for the interview!

  5. I love that anything is possible in fantasy. One of my favorite aspects is the world itself. The Orfano sound interesting and I like that they aren't perfect physically but have abilities. Great interview!

  6. Thank you for the interview :)

  7. I love the sound of this worldbuilding, and I wonder about the deformities of these Orfano. Sounds very interesting!

  8. Sounds like a good fantasy! I'm curious about those characters now. Must check the book out.

    Also, bad sense of direction? Sometimes it is fun getting lost. :D

  9. I love books that crosses genre especially if it's fantasy. Gothic, horror and thriller? Yup! My thing!

  10. Oh that sounds interesting! And seriously how jealous am I about him living in London?! North Carolina just isn't quite as unique and interesting. lol

  11. Wonderful interview, thanks for posting this! I'm also pretty excited to read his book when I get the chance..

  12. Haha, Rivendell would get annoying after a few hours! Awesome interview, this sounds like a cool story. :-)

  13. oh it's interesting! Fantasy is always a bit tricky for me but some books are really worth it.

  14. I am going to have to tell my fantasy lover friends about this one. I might get it for my brother!

  15. Oooo Rivendell would be a nice escape wouldn't it? All quiet and serene, though he's right in that the boredom would probably set in quickly. Still, it would be something to see!

  16. Great interview. I've just finished reading your review of The Boy with the Porcelain Blade Blod, and the book sounds interesting. Rivendell *sigh*



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