Today I am pleased to welcome author Will Patching to discuss his writing and latest release …
Good morning Will, thank you for joining me today, before we continue, would you introduce yourself to my readers and tell us a bit yourself and why you write?
I am a refugee from corporate life, having bailed out well over a decade ago. I was doing nicely as the CEO of a medium sized UK recruitment business, but when the major shareholder chose to sell, I opted to downshift and do some of the many things I had been too busy to do while working eighty-hours a week.
Unfortunately, I still had to earn a living but this time I chose to create businesses I would enjoy, with each located in a tourist hotspot. I used to work hard and so looked forward to my vacations – so much so, that I decided to live and work somewhere similar to the idyllic places I used to fly to, on those relaxing week-long or fortnight-long breaks away from my hectic ‘normal’ life.
Since then, I’ve owned and operated a music bar in Spain, a beach restaurant on a tropical island, and more recently, I built my dream, a charter yacht in Asia – but that sank in the South China Seas some years ago, so I licked my wounds and decided to focus on writing.
I’ve always wanted to create my own novels, and even started my first in my mid-teens. That dreadful draft will never see the light of day, thankfully! Despite my early efforts, I soon needed to earn a crust to support my family, and that led to an unhealthy obsession with work. My corporate life drained my energy and with little time to write back then, I rarely put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, except to write dull business reports, but now I am a full-time author.
My first two novels were originally printed by an Asian publisher selling paperbacks to English speaking expats, until the fallout from the financial crisis finally laid that business to rest. Now, I promote myself and my books through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, and most of my sales are ebooks.
What do you write about and what makes your books unique?
My writing focuses on psychopathy, and many people consider me something of an expert these days. I have a specialist website devoted to ‘Psychopaths in Fact & Fiction’ and much of my novel research ends up there too. The most popular section involves serial killers’ quotes, and the astute reader will notice that my villains reflect the real life sentiments expressed by these evil men – and, yes, serial killers are mostly men.
My novels are hard-edged and my plots feature the worst deeds of such killers. I don’t sugar coat their heinous crimes, and that means my novels are not for those who prefer cozy mysteries or light-hearted, easy read crime fiction.
Not only do I have characters with genuinely psychopathic traits, I also put the reader inside the minds of these killers. This makes for uncomfortable reading, as it challenges and threatens a normal person’s moral compass, being placed in a position where you are forced to empathise with a killer, at least to some minor degree.
The effect has been described by readers as like viewing a horror movie, where you can’t bear to watch but also can’t bear to look away. Others have said it’s like being strapped into a roller-coaster, a thrill ride that you just can’t get off!
That sounds like a tough ask of readers!
My books don’t appeal to everyone, that’s for sure! Yet some of my readers have described me as their favourite author, displacing the likes of Lee Child and Stephen King…
Although I break the rules by having vile criminal creatures as point of view characters, each of the novels revolve around a forensic psychiatrist/criminal profiler and his colleague-cum-pal, a London detective, with the trilogy spanning seven years in their lives. They are much easier to empathise with and I flesh them out as the tales progress, such that many readers tell me these fictitious folk seem totally real to them.
One of the biggest compliments I received came from a serving UK detective who contacted me after reading Remorseless: he said it was the ‘best book’ he had ever read and it helped him understand his ‘clients’. When he read Mutilated, book two, he told me it was ‘just like riding with my crew!’
I’ve had many law enforcement professionals make similar comments, and a number of professionals in the field of psychology too, all complimenting me on the accuracy depicted in these dark tales. Much of what we see or read about psychopaths in fiction is Hollywood-ised: producers and editors insist all characters must have some ‘humanity’ or ‘warm side’ or ‘redeeming feature’, so that viewers and readers can empathise …
I disagree with this view, and choose realism for my villains.
Why did you choose ‘Remorseless’ for the trilogy title?
Well, the crimes and misdeeds of psychopaths underpin the entire trilogy. These people are remorseless in both senses of the word: unremitting; and without conscience. I chose that title for the first story, aiming to give the reader a sense of being carried along, remorselessly, as the pace quickened towards a thrilling climax.
Each of my books also has a theme. For Remorseless that theme is ‘Guilt’. The novel contrasts my main character, Doc Powers, who has an over-abundance of guilt, with Peter Leech, a violent criminal psychopath who experiences none.
Freedom from guilt allows these creatures to do much as they please, as they do not suffer the consequences in the same way the rest of us do. Merely the prospect of feeling guilty prevents many of us from undertaking anti-social behaviours. Without a conscience screaming at us after we’ve done something bad, the brakes are off. Pretty much any misdeed becomes possible, especially in an individual who is also unable to properly empathise with his victims. That is what makes psychopaths so dangerous to the rest of us.
What prompted your interest in psychopaths?
I once made the mistake of inviting one into my life. Worse, I invited this individual into my home, sharing living space together for several months. During that time, I initially did not understand why everything around me was going horribly wrong, but later I discovered the true nature of the beast, and then spent a great deal of time studying the phenomenon.
The problem is that most psychopaths appear to be much like normal people, often superficially charming, highly manipulative, and adept at reading how those around them are feeling. Although they understand what those ‘feelings’ mean on an intellectual basis, they cannot empathise, cannot truly understand. Psychopaths do not experience or process normal emotions in the way we do – fear, love, even the anticipation of pain, are all shallow sensations, or non-existent for the true psychopath. Their brains are wired differently.
Their people radar is surprisingly astute though, and, once they spot a weakness, they will use it to bring you low, while improving their own lives to your detriment. Most are not serial killers, the vast majority are business people, CEOs, managers, policemen, doctors, politicians, and so on. Their unique lack of conscience and their ability to read and manipulate others are much prized by our modern corporate system, and statistics suggest a much greater percentage of psychopaths in positions of power than their average in society of around one or two percent.
My own view: we would be better off without them in society and definitely should not reward them with positions of power and influence – we’d have fewer wars for sure – but that is not about to happen. The very least we can do is open our eyes and understand their impact on broader society. Although my books are primarily intended to entertain the reader, I also hope to raise awareness and make people think about these individuals. Hence my desire for realism.
Tell me about your latest book.
Gaslighting is the third in the Remorseless trilogy and the psychopathic character in this one is a devious, precocious teenager who suffered at the hands of the psychopath in book one, Remorseless…
The lad is preparing for his coming of age and has some spectacular and dreadful events in mind, and meanwhile is tormenting his closest family members by ‘gaslighting’ them. This term came about after being made famous by a play/movie from the middle of last century in which a woman was convinced she was going insane thanks to the machinations of a psychopath who had latched on to her. For her wealth.
Gaslighting also takes its name from the arsonists’ slang term, describing the use of a Molotov cocktail to ignite a flammable or explosive substance from a distance. That’s why there’s a burning ‘Molly’ on the book cover!
The novel is categorised as psychological suspense, but has plenty of thrills throughout, with first-readers generally agreeing it is ‘breathtaking’ to read, and many believe it is my best yet.
Although Gaslighting can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading Remorseless first as there are spoilers included, so I’ve made the e-book free to coincide with the launch of Gaslighting to encourage more readers to do so.
What else are you working on?
Having completed the Remorseless trilogy, I now plan to do the same with The Hack, although only the first book in that mini-series has been released. I have promised my readers to get those two books written in the next twelve months or so, and also plan to narrate the audiobooks for Mutilated and Gaslighting.
I recorded Remorseless in late 2015 and because I chose to do an interpretation of the book rather than a straightforward reading, i.e. rigidly following the way it was punctuated, it received mixed reviews, though some listeners loved my performance. I voice all the characters too, and one male listener said it was ‘seriously scary’ and had to check his door locks the night he was engrossed in my tale of evil and mayhem!
My writing will also be featured in a couple of anthologies this year, including The Murder Files, launching in July, but otherwise, I have enough on my plate. Each of my novels is a full-length read with the average wordcount in the Remorseless Trilogy being c122,000, so they take a fair bit of time to research, plan and write. I love stories I can get my teeth into, with complex characters and intricate plots, so that is what I write.
Where can readers find out more about you?
I have three websites, one each for the Remorseless and The Hack trilogies, plus my dedicated psychopath site. There is a fair bit about me, the novels, the characters, the backstory, deleted scenes etc. on these sites, although some of this material is reserved exclusively for my Readers Group Members. These lovely folk have signed up for my occasional newsletter and if anyone is interested to know more, details can be found on my websites.
One last question … Are you a psychopath?
Haha! Wouldn’t you like to know …?
No, I am not.
And I’ve checked!
But funnily enough one of my readers sent me note after he’d read The Butcher, (a short backstory piece I wrote for The Murder Files, an internal monologue from the point of view of one of the characters in Mutilated. A very nasty little psychopath. This is what Trevor, one of my Readers Group Members, sent me regarding this tale. I’ll with his comment, as he rather eloquently sums things up:
‘Very entertaining, Will. I put you into the same category a Stephen King. Love reading your stuff but not sure I’d want you for a near neighbour…’
Remorseless: A British Crime Thriller (Doc Powers and D.I. Carver Investigate)
Liar… Manipulator… Sadist… Killer?
A ‘coming of age’ psychological thriller that’ll make your toes curl…
This, the final instalment of the Remorseless trilogy, is here. A gripping suspense story that’s definitely the author’s darkest yet – and quite possibly his best.
Definitely not for the faint-hearted. Contains disturbing imagery and some profanity. You have been warned…
When criminal profiler Doc Powers wakes to find a deadly message left at his country property, he and his friend Detective Inspector Jack Carver are sucked into a nightmare investigation involving a precocious teenager – a budding psychopath with violence running through his veins…
Can they stop him achieving his aim of celebrating his ‘coming of age’ – a spectacular finale involving gasoline and explosives? The lad’s mother and grandmother – the victims of his ongoing campaign of psychological torment – are in serious jeopardy.
But so are Doc and Jack…
For the launch of Gaslighting (1st July) I’ve created a prize draw of thirteen signed paperbacks, including my own trilogy and some best-sellers which runs until 21st July. If you would like to entre – follow the link:
You can find out more about Will and his books by checking out the following sites:
Facbook author page:
Amazon author page: