Another of the authors with whom I have been so incredibly lucky to share the tables of contents of Wrapped in Red and Wrapped in White, Patrick C Greene is a multi-talented author, athlete and filmmaker. I’ve read several of his short stories and novels and they are fantastic. It was my tremendous pleasure to get to pitch my five-ish questions to him regarding Wrapped in Black: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult.
Michael: Wrapped in Black is an anthology of stories about witches and the occult so let’s get right down to the meat: do you believe in magic and the powers of those who claim to practice it? There’s no wrong answer, of course, but if you say yes and then don’t tell at least a little of the story I am going to be serving some serious side-eye.
Patrick: Yeah, there’s something to it. To me, it’s no more than simply opening a circuit that is woven throughout the universe. It can be manifested in a variety of ways, and some of them we have decided are science. But really, that’s just another label to explain magic, a word which has fallen out of favor in any serious social context.
Patrick: Horror is a funhouse mirror; it reflects a distorted version of ourselves—but we are not certain it’s distorted. This could be true of all genres I suppose, but horror is the least attractive, most jarring. We enjoy the experience in the moment, of seeing ourselves with legs like stumps and a torso like a tree trunk. But we wouldn’t install such a mirror on our closet door and consult it every day. If it was all we ever had, what would we think of ourselves compared to the world around us? We’d feel like freaks. But the trick is, we DO have things that make us feel like freaks, things that we don’t see in others.
So we want to question ourselves and learn why we have that in us. Why do we hold our hands to our eyes, yet peer between our fingers? Why do we stand in line for every slasher sequel and then gather to agree how stupid it was? How did we come to be such contradictions and how far might we take it and manage to retain our sanity?
We feel some comfort in knowing others have their own internal points of isolation. But dig deep enough, and you hear your own voice saying “Oh, you just don’t know crazy. Not like I do…”
Michael: As writers, we’re supposed to be tired of being asked where we get our ideas. (Personally, I love hearing myself talk.) Thus, I’m not asking that: I’m not asking from where in your brain your ideas come (unless you want to tell me). Instead, I’m curious as to whether there’s a physical location or activity you find particularly helpful. For my part, I go running when I need ideas. There are specific trails and dark wooded places where I can put my body to work on that repetitive task and my brain will eventually start coughing up inspiration.
Patrick: The dark lonely places I like! The running? I’m way too lazy for that. So walking helps jar some of those nuggets loose for me. But I’m also like my father in that some of my most vivid ideas come when I’m bedding down. My dad kept a notebook beside the bed, and later became so obsessed with not losing track of those tidbits that he took to sleeping in his study beside his typewriter.
But with portable computers and phones, these days it’s easy enough to find one, email yourself that brainworm, and move on.
Reading or watching something sometimes has me asking “what if this happened instead?” So I’ll take that tangent and follow it, backtrack it, erase here and add there.
Michael: What work (horror or otherwise) do you most wish you had written, and why?
Patrick: Well from a purely financial standpoint, it sure would be nice to have a piece of that Star Wars property, or maybe The Walking Dead. Beyond that, I feel like I having a rather boring perspective, in that I really wouldn’t want to have been the creator of the works that I fanboy about. I’m glad that I am able to enjoy them from that angle, and not as a work that I would just agonize over forever.
Maybe if I could have been responsible for some of the great works that have influenced history, I could have made way for a present day culture that is somehow both more peaceful and more horrific.
Michael: You and your favorite writer are stuck in an elevator while repair crews try to rescue you. What do you ask them? Do you have a grand time together or do they eagerly anticipate their escape?
Patrick: Hopefully, one or the other of us will have a media device so we can collaborate on an epic story together.
Michael: What’s next for you? Please also include any social media links/sites/etc. you’d like featured!
Patrick: I always like pimpin’ my next adventures! Hobbes End, the amazing publishers behind PROGENY and THE ENDLANDS (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) have accepted my vampire novel THE CRIMSON CALLING and are working night and day without sleep or food to have it ready for release sometime before the apocalypse. That’s the first of a trilogy that will span several eras.
On the backburner but still very much alive is A PIECE OF MIRACLE, about a girl on the cusp of womanhood who finds herself forced to seek answers for a year-old murder case.
The first season of my web series THE OUTSIDE MAN, an action drama set in the world of illegal prize fighting is currently shooting around Asheville, NC.
Between those, a fistful of short stories should be hitting various distribution avenues.