Tag Archives: Pat Krapf Texas fiction author

Let’s Talk Writing

 

Let's Talk Writing with Author Pat Krapf

After several edits, Genocide, book three in the Darcy McClain and Bullet thriller series, is with Caroline, one of my editors, for what I hope is the last round. The book has passed through three pairs of eyes: Caroline’s, Arlene’s (my other editor), and my own. Discussing book edits brings to mind a blog post Arlene wrote in July of this year. Like Arlene, I have also experienced sleepless nights and anguish worrying about potential mistakes in my books, and like many authors, I have done my best to avoid errors. A brief excerpt from Arlene’s article follows:

When editors make mistakes . . .

Genocide by Author Pat KrapfEditors make mistakes? What? How dare I go on record to state such a thing! Right off, let’s get one thing clear: editorial errors are inevitable. If that surprises you, it shouldn’t—we’re only human, after all (I know that’s hard to believe). While many editors are perfectionists, most of us also know perfection is impossible to achieve. Let me tell you from firsthand experience that the quest for perfection in a world where perfection doesn’t exist is an issue that causes many of us a great deal of anguish and even sleepless nights. It’s one of the hazards of the job. Can a book be error free?

Read her entire post, “When editors make (or miss) mistakes…”

While Caroline edits Genocide, I am taking a short break from novel writing before I begin the first of many revisions to book four in my series, Clonx. It is currently in draft form. The thriller is set largely in Texas, but some chapters are set in New Mexico, where Darcy and Rio return to settle some personal matters. The scientific subject of the novel is cloning. In Clonx, Darcy is in Texas for Vicky’s wedding. While on her daily run, Bullet discovers a trash bag submerged in a creek. Inside are the pulverized remains of renowned geneticist Dr. Catherine “Cate” Lord, who has been under fire from Zyclon, a bioethics advocacy group diametrically opposed to her research on human cloning. Although the evidence points to Zyclon as the prime suspect in her murder, Darcy soon discovers Cate had many enemies and any one of them had good reason to kill her.

To kick off my writing series, I’ll answer questions I’ve received from readers. Some have already been addressed in past blog posts, which I will link to, but I am happy to respond again and/or give more detailed answers as some readers have requested. Five questions I have repeatedly been asked are general in nature, so let’s start there.

Are you related to Patrick Krapf? Have you seen him on YouTube? Why do you have such loud music on your website?

Three different questions from three different readers, but all associated in one way. No, I am not related to Patrick Krapf that I know of. And if you hear loud music or don’t like the videos on my website, as some blog subscribers have mentioned, you are on the wrong website. I’ve never had music or videos on my site, but I do plan to add book trailers in the near future, so please watch for them.

Genocide by Author Pat KrapfIs the p in your last name silent? 

Speak to Americans and most will tell you yes. But when I asked several German friends, they responded unanimously—no. “You definitely do pronounce the p and the f in Krapf as “pfhh.” If your last name was Kraph, then the p would be silent and it would be pronounced as an f.” There you have it, straight from several Germans. And if you can master the “pfhh,” you have my admiration. I have not succeeded in doing so without spitting on anyone, so I have since refrained and fallen back on the silent p. On an interesting note, after considering this reader’s question and conducting some research on the surname, I discovered the name, which has many variations in spelling, was first recorded in South Holland around Rotterdam before appearing in the Bavarian region of Germany. And citing genealogical websites, the first Krapf migrated to the US in 1748 and settled in Pennsylvania where most Krapfs still reside today. An equal number live in the state of New York.

When you are not writing, what are your favorite ways to relax?

Spending time with Kai, my giant schnauzer, gardening, photography, cooking, and traveling.

What inspired you to write?

A promise I made to myself. At age eight my reading skills sucked, and my third-grade teacher informed my parents I would never get into college unless I improved. So every weekday night while everyone else watched television, I sat in my bedroom with my mother and together we plowed through the Nancy Drew, then the Hardy Boys series. It was a slow start, but five months later you couldn’t pry a book from my hands. I was addicted to reading and told my mother, “I’m going to write a book one of these days.” Granted, it was many years before I fulfilled that dream, but I released the first book in the series, Brainwash, in April 2014, and the second, Gadgets, in 2015. Both are available in print and e-book on Amazon .

Was Brainwash your first novel?

No, my first novel was Blind Revenge, a standalone. Later, I will incorporate it into the Darcy McClain series and retitle it.

Ive seen your title Brainwash as one word and two words. Which is correct?

In terms of the book, either one. The word “brainwash” is one word and the title was intended to be one word, but my cover designer, Fiona Raven, made it two so it would stand out. This allowed us to make the type bigger and bolder, especially “WASH,” which is a shaded yellow in color.

How do you come up with titles?

I focus on short titles—quick recognition and easy memorization—and ones that sum up the essence of the entire book, if possible. For example, Brainwash was the name of the artificial intelligence/nanotechnology program being carried out by Los Alamos National Laboratories. The program was the scientific plot for the novel. In Gadgets, Paco was a gadget geek who loved to own the latest in new technology and had the expertise and knowledge to build his own weapons. A Genocide is the mass murder of a group of people, and this thriller is based on plot to exterminate all gays and lesbians. Someone recently asked me if all of my book titles would begin with B or G. No, that the first four novels I have written do, is a fluke. And as I stated above, Blind Revenge will be retitled when it is released.

How do you find time to write?

I make time. And it helps that writing is an addiction. Often it controls me. I also credit my ingrained self-discipline—a learned trait from my high school days when I was enrolled in correspondence courses from the University of Nebraska Extension Division. I worked to a strict schedule then, and I do today. I set goals, prioritize them, and assign deadlines. This routine works well for me.

Do you get writers block?

I’ve suffered from writer’s block on three occasions. First, as a young writer with little life experience, and therefore little to say. However, I did write poetry occasionally, a few short stories, and I kept a diary throughout my adolescence. My second bout was when I decided to write my first book, Blind Revenge. I began by writing romance, or attempted to. I like romance, but it simply wasn’t the genre for me, and I came to this conclusion when, four weeks later, I was still staring at the same six-paragraph page. The last time I experienced writer’s block was in 2013 after my web designer Lindsay said, “You really should blog on your website.” My first thought: Blog about what? My second thought: Blogging is time-consuming. A week later, I came across an article titled “The Problem With Memoirs” by Neil Genzlinger, staff editor at The New York Times. Many years ago, I toyed with writing a memoir, but always came to the same conclusion as Mr. Genzlinger: “There was a time when you had to earn the right to draft a memoir.” I’m not interested in writing a full-blown memoir, so I’ve settled for writing a blog biography. Spending my formative years overseas was in many ways a unique experience, but the high points can be covered in a series of blogs, emphasizing what is noteworthy and glossing over the ordinary. There are people in this world who have achieved the remarkable or overcome great obstacles; for them a memoir is fitting.

Next week: “Why Techno-Thrillers?”

 

EUROPE 2011: Dubrovnik, Croatia – Part 2

Dubrovnik city wallWe woke to a warm, sunny October day and prepared for our morning trek on the walls of Dubrovnik. We’d heard that on top of the fortifications the sun can be intense and there were few shady places, so we slathered on sunscreen, donned baseball caps, and stuffed water bottles into our daypacks. Then we headed in the direction of the Stradun, the streets deserted at six-thirty on a Sunday morning. Or so we thought.

Dubrovnik jam festival As we turned the corner, the hum of excited voices filled the air. Unbeknownst to us, we were in for a sweet treat. Today was the last day of the Croatian festival of jams and jellies. The event is held in front of the Church of St. Blaise, and over thirty small producers exhibit more than a hundred types of jams, jellies, and marmalades: orange, fig, plum, lemon, cherry, strawberry, and other fruits, and in all possible combinations. And to add to the festive mood, all exhibitors dress in the costumes of their regions.

As enticing as it was to linger at the jam and jelly displays, we wanted to beat the tourist crowds, so we continued on to the nearest ticket office at the Ploče Gate. There, we stopped briefly to photograph the dozens of cats and kittens waiting patiently for a woman to feed them.Women at Dubrovnik jam festival

A few minutes later, we began our mile-and-a-quarter trek atop the massive stone fortifications that encircle the city. For almost as long as Dubrovnik has existed, so have the walls, which were beefed up during the fifteenth century because of threats from the Ottoman Empire.

If you are interested only in speed-walking the wall, it can be done in an hour, or so we were told. However, we devoted the entire morning to the walk, interested in capturing all of the views and taking our share of photos. The day before, we had purchased a guidebook and therefore had a general understanding of the history of the City—with a capital C according to the inhabitants—and the construction of its walls.

From our lofty perch atop the ramparts, there were magnificent vistas in all directions, and we paused to photograph every one. The first thing that captured my attention was the sea of reddish-orange roofs that stretched to the cobalt-blue Adriatic—a captivating visual. Upon closer examination, I noticed the difference in color between the older tiles and the newer bright orange tiles, replaced after the recent siege of 1991-1992. Although I saw a few damaged structures from the bombings and signs of buildings under repair, the City has made remarkable progress in restoring Dubrovnik to its original state.

Dubrovnik Minceta Fortress wall Engrossed in what it must have been like to man the city walls during a siege, I walked slowly along the narrow stone passage to the Towers of St. Lucy and St. Barbara, and then climbed to the top of the Minčeta Fortress for a panoramic picture of the Adriatic.

At the Bokar Fortress, Dave stopped to consult the guidebook on the history of the walls, while I snapped photos of everything from the rooftops, to the sea, to arrow slits cut into the bulwarks, to cannons, and even the moat below the defensive walls—a total of over a hundred pictures on this morning alone.

During one of these history interludes, I meandered to the outer edge of a wall and peered over the side into what looked like someone’s private garden; a peaceful, sun-dappled yard. Three walls framed the stone patio where a table and two chairs sat. On one wall, bridal wreath bushes in bloom hugged the crumbling stone. On the other a fuchsia bougainvillea sprawled across the enclosure, and on the wall closest to me thrived glossy-green trees. Of what kind I had no idea, until a soft breeze kicked up the clean, inviting scent of lemon. Then I saw the fading blossoms on the citrus trees.Dubrovnik city walls

At the Tower of St. Mary, we took a water break. Here, on the highest point of the peninsula, was the site of the original settlement. As we closed in on the noon hour, the number of tourists had increased, and despite the posted signs telling wall-walkers to proceed counterclockwise, not everyone heeded the rule. However, a couple ahead of us sent a group of ten packing in the right direction, so we could make our way to the bastion of St. Margaret, then the Fortress of St. John, without dodging oncoming tourists.

After our hike along the wall, which reminded me of my backpacking days but without the heavy pack, we had worked up quite an appetite. So back at street level, we cut through the Stradun from the Ploče Gate to the Pile Gate, on the lookout for a lunch place.

At the gate, we had a rather lengthy delay as we waited for the cast of Game of Thrones to conclude shooting a scene. Finally, we crossed the Pile Bridge and immediately spotted Restaurant Dubravka 1836. More interested in giving our feet a short break than anything, we each relaxed with a glass of a local wine, ordered seafood salads, and ate our meals with four friends—pigeons—looking on.

Dubrovnik Fort LawrenceWe worked off lunch with a trek up the hill to Louvrjenac, the Fort of St. Lawrence, an impressive limestone fort that gave us a stunning vista back across the water to the walls of Dubrovnik. Engraved on the lintel above the fort’s gates is a message for the world: “Freedom cannot be sold for any gold.”

We returned to the Stradun at a slow gait, taking in the sights and the sounds of the jam and jelly festival as it wound down. On the steps of the Church of St. Blaise, a group of men appeared and serenaded the crowds, singing a cappella. Then church bells resounded throughout the City, an uplifting and moving experience.

That night, we ate dinner at Restaurant Gallus, and the owner engaged us in a lengthy and informative conversation regarding the 1991-1992 siege. He apologized for interrupting our meal with his musings. We quickly responded by thanking him for this personal perspective on the harsh realities of war. He left us with these words: “There is nothing more precious in the world than freedom.” Next week, we board a bus for Split, Croatia.

Next week: “Europe 2011: Dubrovnik to Split, Croatia.”