Interview with Patrick Welch

Q: Could you tell us a bit about your new book,The Thirteenth Magician?

A:Like many fantasies, the book is a quest, but with a difference: the lead character (Daasek) initially doesn’t realize what he is seeking. Indeed he is a pawn in the hands of one of the 13 magicians of his home world. The “gods” and the magicians of his world are at war and Daasek has become a weapon in that conflict. And he grows to realize that he can only earn his freedom by regaining his most precious possession that has been stolen from him…his very soul.

Q: The idea for the novel, is that something youhave been playing with for a long time?

A:Actually I got the original idea for the book when I was in college. I wrote the opening chapter a year or so after graduating but I did nothing else with the book until about 8 years ago.

Q: How come you ended up with an e-publisherfor your new book?

A:I and my agent at the time had approached the major publishers but they all rejected it. Part of that might have been the subject matter (this book is very dark), but I now suspect the length was a real problem. I have come to learn from various workshops and such that publishers of genre fiction don’t want books that are less than 80,000 words, especially from new authors, and mine is 60,000. I could have padded the book I suppose, but that would have been a disservice to the story and the reader.I happened upon Twilight Times through another author I had met on-line. Turned out he was their fantasy/sf editor and he asked me to submit the book. So one of the truisms of business – who you know is just as important or more so than what you know – was proven once again.

Q: You stopped writing short fiction for about 20years and just returned 3 years ago, what was itthat got you to return?

A:The computer for one thing. The idiot box makes writing and revising much easier than the old fashioned typewriter. AOL of all things for another. For grins I entered one of their Writer’s Club contests and won. That convinced me I should try writing short fiction again. And the proliferation of e-zines meant I could have an outlet for my fiction if the stories were rejected by the paying mags. Since much of my short fiction is quite out of the mainstream, that is an important consideration.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A:I have an anthology accepted by Twilight Times tentatively scheduled for May. I also am continuing to write short fiction and trying to break into the pro magazines. I have ideas for several other books as well, so I’m curious to gauge reader reaction to The Thirteenth Magician before I commit myself to writing another novel.

Q: What has the Internet meant for you as an author?

A:It’s meant quite a lot. I’ve been able to publish some short stories and a novel. The Brendell series has proven quite popular at Eternity, and The Westchester Station saga, temporarily on hiatus, may return. The Internet has taken the place of the old fan mags from the 50’s and 60’s where many authors (Ellison, Asimov) grew up so to speak. I wish the ‘net would have been there when I was still in college. I might never have stopped writing short fiction!

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