I’m going to start this interview off a little differently by using an excerpt from his new book. Please welcome R. Patrick Gates to Roadie Notes…..
One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came and killed the two dead boys.…
The empty airwaves of the mind…
Welcome to TunnelVision – the premium channel streaming from the imagination of R. Patrick Gates to you!
What happens when you lose sight of the forest for the trees?
Wilbur Clayton has a personal connection with Jesus – Murder! Abused for most of his life, Wilbur and Jesus are out to make amends and take revenge. With Grandma in his head and Jesus on the TunnelVision, Wilbur knows what must be done and who must be made to pay for the sins of the father…
The only thing standing in his way are a cop with a gift for details and deduction, and a young genius whose reenactments of his favorite books are about to become all too real.
TunnelVision – streaming seven days a week, 24 hours a day!
On the air and in your nightmares!
1. How old were you when you wrote your first story?
I was seven years old. Every Monday afternoon I had to go to catechism class after school. Leading up to Christmas that year, catechism had a story writing contest. The story had to be about Christmas and its true meaning. I wrote a story about a drug addict who’s addicted to LSD (shows how much I knew about drugs at seven years old) who takes acid and experiences the Nativity and sees God, basically. Afterwards, he finds out that the pusher who sold him the acid was really selling placebos – just sugar pills. I won first place, and the prize was, I think, my very own rosary.
2. How many books have you written?
At present count, I have written 10 adult horror novels (FEAR, GRIMM MEMORIALS, GRIMM REAPINGS, TUNNELVISION, DEATHWALKER,JUMPERS,THE PRISON, ‘VADERS, NOWHERETOHIDE, and SAVAGE), seven young adult horror/mystery novels, of which four (MYSTERY HILL, GUARDIANS, GHOSTLAND and CANDY STRIPES) have been published so far in the U.S.– all were originally published only in Germany and in the German language; the rest will be coming out this year and next in the U.S. In the works is a collection of my poetry and short stories (called DARK STREETS & FUNNY BONES) plus sequels to at least four of my novels. I’m also working on a very long fantasy novel, THE SECRET WAR, you know, the kind that appeals to children ages 8 to 80. I have also produced two children’s picture books. The first, ROLLERCOASTER WORLD, I wrote with my son when he was seven years old (he’s 27 now). We had gone to an amusement park and afterwards riding home he had mused aloud, “I wonder what it would be like if the whole world was made up of roller coasters.” It was just such a great idea I couldn’t forget it. We created the book and self-published it, and gave it as Christmas presents for several years to my son’s cousins. Then a couple of years ago, around Halloween, I was talking with my step-grandkids about how much they loved Halloween, and we came up with the idea of, HALLOWEEN WORLD, and created a book which we self-published and gave as gifts. We are now working on anotherWORLD book entitled, NINJA WORLD. All of my books, including the children’s picture books, are available as Kindle editions at Amazon. The original paperback editions of all my adult novels (except SAVAGE) are available from Amazon and most on-line bookstores, and everything else is exclusively on Amazon Kindle. Handmade editions of the children’s books are available, and can be ordered through my Facebook page by leaving me a post or a personal message at Facebook/R. Patrick Gates.
3. Is there anything you won’t write about?
No, I don’t think there is. I’ve written in just about every genre there is (I’ve been working on a romance novel for several years) and there is no subject that I would find taboo. Of course I would never glorify despicable behavior even while I try to make such a character sympathetic.
4.Tell me about you.
I have been a published author since 1989; and have been writing since I was a boy. Very early on I was labeled a ‘splatter-punk’ writer which is a style of horror generally credited to Clive Barker. I took great offense at that because I was writing what they called ‘splatter’ (graphic horror) long before Barker ever came along. If I’m not mistaken I was one the very first to push the limits of horror by injecting ultra-realistic gore, sex, and violence into my stories. Now, I am 62 years old. I was a middle school language arts teacher for 20 years, and a college Creative Writing Professor for 11 years. I presently work part-time as a Standardized Patient Examiner at UMASS Medical School, which entails teaching medical students how to communicate better with patients. I’m also a Bob Dylan tribute performer on guitar and harmonica. I’ve been in numerous musical groups since I was a teenager, and I’ve written close to one hundred songs that have never seen publication or recording, but hopefully that will change in the near future.
5. What’s your favorite book that you have written?
My favorite book is my most recent one, SAVAGE. It was the hardest book I ever wrote because it reflected a personal tragedy in my life, and was very cathartic for me. A very close second, however, are, GRIMM MEMORIALS, and its sequel, GRIMM REAPINGS, and my novel, THE PRISON.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
So many people and books/writers. My mom, my sister, Mary; a teacher, Mrs. Risley, and just about every writer I’ve ever read, but most of all Edgar Allen Poe. My mom was probably my biggest inspiration, and the biggest reason I ended up writing horror. I grew up in a haunted house, my mother was psychic and discovered the place was haunted, like the second day after we moved in. She personally exorcised the house and got rid of the ghost, or at least got it to stop scaring her. I grew up hearing this story many, many times. I also had many experiences – ghostly experiences – in that house, as did my son. Also, when I was a boy I was an avid reader, and I was in the habit of acting out the books I read. When I was 12, I was very much into the books of Mark Twain, and after reading Tom Sawyer and then Huckleberry Finn, I convinced my little brother and his best friend to sneak out of the house at midnight to go dig for buried treasure in a cemetery. Then we were going to build a raft and sail it down the polluted Nashua River and have adventures. My mother caught us trying to sneak out (she thought I was the ghost come back) and when I told her what I was doing she suggested that instead of acting out my fantasies I write them down like the authors that I loved to read. I had been dabbling in writing before that (like with the short story for catechism class) but I’d never really considered writing something as substantial as a novel. That same year, the day after Christmas, I was in a terrible sledding accident and suffered a severe head injury/concussion. I had partial amnesia for three days, but the event changed me—made me more creative and, I think, smarter. It also gave me an extraordinary memory.Early on in my life my sister, Mary, inspired me by buying me my first book when I was, I believe, five years old. She was 10 years older than I was and when I was born she became like my second mother. She taught me to read when I was three years old. By the time I was starting school I was reading books at the fifth, sixth grade level. She bought me the collected works of Edgar Allen Poe, a large tome that I still have. I read that book voraciously. I remember now I hardly understood half of what I read, and had to have a dictionary nearby at all times, but it was the style and the tone and the mood that grabbed me. Then when I was in high school I had a teacher, Mrs. Risley, who inspired me further. Every Friday she would display a surrealistic or abstract painting at the front of the room, put on some weird electronic or Indian music, and tell us to write about what we saw in the painting. Man, I just ate that up! It was the greatest writing exercise I have ever had!
7. What do you like to do for fun?
My wife and I like to hike, play tennis, dance, ski, and hang out with our grandkids. I play the guitar and perform as a Dylan tribute artist, and also paint and sculpt. I love movies and going to the movies.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
9. Where do you write?
I generally write in my home office, but I usually take a notebook with me, like to work, or if I’m going out and I think I might have free time on a long drive, say. I write in the notebook whenever I can. I’m a constant and prolific note writer, and I write all my stuff in longhand to start with, and then transcribe it into the computer. I like to have the tv on in the background—creates a white noise effect—and usually only listen to music when I’m painting.
10. Is there anything you would change about your writing?
Yes, I would make it more lucrative and popular! I’m rewriting nearly all of my novels as they are being republished – some more so than others. I find that with some of my earlier works, they need editing, so I’m glad that I have the chance to do that. Like with, TUNNELVISION, I did a lot of polishing and editing. Most of my novels were written before the advent of cell phones and smart phones and handheld devices so I’ve tried to update and work those things in to make them more current.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
I’ve never had a desire to be famous, though I have always wanted to be able to make enough money from my writing to support myself. My dream is to work with my son, who is a director trained at Cal Arts, to turn all of my novels into movies or TV miniseries. We are presently in the screenplay writing stage for a couple. All we need is financial backing.
12. Where do you live?
I live in Massachusetts.
Two dogs, Polly and Sad-Eyed Sadie of the Low Lands.
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
My first love, and first choice for a career, was acting. Second was music, third was art, and fourth was writing. As I got older, in high school and college,I realized that if you really want to be successful as an actor, you have to live in either New York or Los Angeles – or at least a major city, not the sticks of north-central Massachusetts where I lived and still do. I didn’t have the confidence, or the courage I guess, to move and pursue acting. But then, I realized that a writer IS an actor because you have to become your characters in order to make them believable. I generally act out all of the scenes and dialogue in my books, even if only in my head. I think the best way to describe how I feel about writing is that I agree with what Dorothy Parker once said: “I hate writing, but I love having written.” I love the idea that someone I don’t know and have never met is reading a story that I created. I think that’s pretty cool.
15. What is coming next?
I presently have many irons in the fire. I’m rewriting the second book in the TUNNELVISION trilogy, DEATHWALKER, getting it ready for republication from Bloodshot Books, and writing the third, a new one,AND LITTLE LAMBS EAT IVY. I’m also working on the third book in my, GRIMM MEMROIALSsaga and working on readying all my other novels for reprint as I mentioned earlier. I’m working on a rewrite and sequel of my first novel,FEAR (to be renamed QUARRY), a sequel to my science fiction novel. ‘VADERS, and something new for me, a strictly fantasy novel entitled, THE SECRET WAR and a comedic romance called, HEY TEACH! I’ve also been working on a mainstream, slice of life novel entitled, GROWING OLD.
You can connect with R. Patrick Gates here:
Amazon/R. Patrick Gates,
Facebook/R. Patrick Gates.
Some of R. Patrick Gates books: