Well, first off tell me a little about yourself.
I’m Irish. I grew up pretty poor, my father having died when I was two. I think that had a bearing on becoming a writer. Shy as hell. I went to Canada for four years then went to the University of Florida for two years. Those experiences did me a world of good in that they knocked the shyness out of me. I now live back in Ireland. I have a large garden of rare trees and a big lump of a cat. She chases rabbits without success – but maybe one day . . .
And yes, I have all the doubts and insecurities that others have – so come on in.
So what inspired you to write?
Shyness has the advantage of making one observant. I think that helped. When I was about four years old I was living on a farm. One day, for a long time, I sat on a rock watching an uncle emptying a duck pond with a bucket. The rhythm of the movement as he repeatedly applied himself to this simple task triggered something. Years later, sitting on a seat in Copley Square in Boston with leaves falling down about me and settling thickly about my feet triggered something too. How could it not?
One of my favourite things to do is to people watch.- Leticia
What is the genre?
The eBook – Fear– is clearly a medical thriller set in China, Hawaii and Boston. The Extraordinary Temptation is a religious thriller with locations in Ireland, Georgia and Texas. So my books are thrillers with exotic locations with a bit of romance trailing through them. I have no explanation why thrillers – sorry.
What draws you to this genre?
Excitement, and because I can have as wide a canvas as imagination allows. But there is one constraint. The writer must always write what is believable within the world he or she creates. Without that the bond between the writer and the reader falls apart.
How did you develop your plot and your characters?
The Extraordinary Temptation had a very odd beginning. On a winter’s night with rain lashing down I was driving in the west of Ireland. Simultaneously the heater and the radio stopped working. I drove through the dark with an eerie feeling that that was no coincident. Then half a sentence crept into my head – what if the true Crown-of-Thorns of Christ was discovered? Nothing more followed for the entire journey. Where the idea came from I have no inkling but two years later I had a novel of 90,000 words.
In developing the plot I knew a little about a particular medieval monastic settlement in Ireland. A discovery would be made there: a white marble cube with the Crown within. But how did it get there? Clearly the cube wasn’t Irish in origin. So I needed a plausible reason to explain that. At this point I was still not clear where this story was taking me. Then I had a rich industrialist steal the Crown. From a piece of material he found embedded on one of the thorns he would attempt to clone Christ. This lifted my thinking way up. Now I had a real religious horror story on my hands. Writing thrillers can be like that. They can suddenly open up into a whole world of possibilities that was not there at the start.
And the characters? Well, they simply grow out of the story as it develops.
So tell me Patrick what inspires your protagonist?
The ‘hero’ in The Extraordinary Temptation is a young archaeologist who is driven to pursue the powerful industrialist when his girlfriend is murdered during the theft of the Crown. From there the archaeologist finds himself pulled into a far greater reality than murder when the cloning is attempted.
How did you get in touch with your inner villain?
This question I don’t understand but I can tell you this – imagination is everything in writing. When I have a good day I can sit for 4-5 hours (without trying to be dramatic) in a trance with no sense of time passing. Other times – well let’s not get into that!
Uh oh! I meant this question to be like the former, how did you develop your antagonist? Where there is light, there is always something dark lurking. – Leticia
What was the hardest part to write in the book?
Without question the cloning sequence. I have a background in biology but even with that going for me, the difficulty of confronting, in a believable way, and yet not smothering in detail, the process of cloning was a challenge.
What was your favourite part in writing The Extraordinary Temptation?
No hesitation – writing about small-town Texas and ranching. To be able to describe plants that grow on parched land and the small creatures that go about their secretive lives in such places was a joy to me. I won a travel grant from the Irish government to go there. And what a joy it was.
Are you a full-time writer?
Yes. I have just finished my latest novel, my fourth book. I have done nothing with it yet: letting the paint dry.
What are you currently reading?
All of John Steinbeck – again. For those starting out writing and wanting to learn how to develop characters read Cannery Row and Of Mice and Men.
Who are your favourite authors?
Beside Steinbeck – Samuel Beckett, his novels in particular; Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet; Stephen King has to be up there as well as Michael Crichton.
And what about your favourite books?
The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck). Murphy (Beckett). The Third Policeman (Flan O’Brien), Cell (Stephen King). The Unquiet (John Connolly).
What are your future projects?
To put my just-finished novel out there. I also have another book, now half written. This is a love story in a deep rural setting of endless summers.
How would you like readers to get in touch with you?
It would be my great pleasure indeed if readers were to contact me about their opinions on The Extraordinary Temptation. Such contacts would be wonderful. The easiest method would be by email – email@example.com I can also be contacted on Google – patrick mccusker fiction – or also on Google – the extraordinary temptation.
The Extraordinary Temptation is available as an eBook on Amazon.
And finally Patrick what advice can you give for aspiring authors?
Writing is hard but that does not make it impossible. Always remember that.
You might want to look at a short interview I did on Youtube where I offer my best shot on advice on how to get a handle on this writing thing. Patrick McCusker Youtube should get you there.
In addition I have a blog that offers a series of posts on how to write. These posts come out of hard experience so they might prove useful to some: at least I hope they do.
To access the blog – Patrick McCusker
Where to Buy:
Thank you to Patrick for allowing me the chance to interview him! Please check out his books!