Your name: Patrick Kendrick
Tell us about yourself: I was in the fire service most of my adult life but always did freelance writing for newspapers and magazines. Initially, I was doing personal experience and crime related stories, but when Gerard Schaefer, a serial killer I wrote about didn’t like what I had to say about him, he sued me in court for years. After he was murdered in jail, I decided to I would stay away from non-fiction and try my hand at crime novels. My first book, Papa’s Problem, was an historical novel set in 1939 Key West. It won the Florida Book Award and the Hollywood Film Festival Award. That got me an agent, who got me a deal with a bigger publisher. My second book, Extended Family, a crime thriller, is fiction but it is based on real life crimes, including some of the Schaefer murders.
Tell us about your latest book: Acoustic Shadows is a crime thriller set in central Florida, where it is still quite rural. There is a school shooting but with a distinct difference: one of the teachers, Erica Weisz, has a gun and shoots the armed intruders. She saves the children but she is wounded. Because so many small police departments responded to the incident, the Governor assigns the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to lead the investigation and Agent Justin Thiery is given the task. One of the first orders of business is to talk to the teacher but shortly after Thiery arrives he learns Erica has disappeared from the hospital. As he begins to track her down, he uncovers a startling and dangerous truth about Erica and he must find her before other people—all with different and deadly motives—find her.
When did you start writing? I was in high school. My English teacher gave us an assignment to write a short story, at least five pages long. Mine was 35 pages, a very adult murder mystery, with love scenes and everything. The teacher read it in front of class and I was mortified! But, the reaction I got from the students was very positive and held the same message: “Maybe you should write books.”
Where do you write? I write at home and when I’m on the road. I still train fire fighters in leadership classes and soldiers in urban search and rescue practices. I keep saying I’m going to quit teaching and just write but I believe living in the “real world” and absorbing real experiences makes us better writers.
Which other authors do you admire? This is tough, I enjoy so many authors and varying styles. Crime and thriller novels: Stephen King, James Lee Burke, Dennis Lehane, Thomas Harris, John D. MacDonald. Literary: F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, John Irving, and Harper Lee (looking forward to reading her “new” book).
Book you wished you’d written? Another very tough question. Crime related: The Silence of the Lambs – a perfect thriller. Literary: The Great Gatsby.
Greatest fictional criminal: Hannibal Lector, no doubt.
Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: Greatest crime: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Art Heist in Boston, 1990. Some $500,000 worth of art was stolen and never recovered. (My undergraduate degree is in Fine Art). Greatest criminal: the question might be ‘most influential on my writing’: Ted Bundy.
Greatest fictional detective: My personal favourite is John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee.
What scares you? Real killers, whether serial, mass or spree killers.
Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination? Oh yes. I usually have to tone my initial writing down for most editors. I wonder why they even talk to me again at times….
3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE: Can’t go wrong with Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs, James Lee Burke’s, Heaven’s Prisoners and more recently, Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes, which is actually not a horror story but a wonderful detective novel.
Do you listen to music when you write? No, but I go for long drives by the ocean and listen to music which helps me with my writing.
Are you on social media? Absolutely! Facebook and Twitter, mostly.