Welcome Jack. Thanks for stopping off here on your tour around the internet. I am excited to find out more about you. How did you start your writing career?
When I was growing up, I wanted to be a professional baseball player, more specifically for the Atlanta Braves. But when I realized my fastball wouldn’t break glass while I was in high school, so I needed to start thinking about some other line of work. My dad told me there were guys who got paid to watch sports and write about it. That sounded very appealing to me, so I started figuring out a way I could do this. During my junior year of high school, the daily newspaper in my hometown was desperate for some cheap labor and I was desperate to start my writing career. It was the perfect collision. And by the time I was 16, I had a weekly sports column in my daily newspaper.
Tell us about your current release.
As a sportswriter, I quickly learned that writing about sports requires much more knowledge about the world than the game on the field. It’s what goes on off the field that is more interesting. My new book, “Cross the Line”, is about a veteran pro quarterback who finally makes it to the Super Bowl, prepares to ride off into the sunset with a championship, but his son is kidnapped six days before the big game. The two main characters, reporter Cal Murphy and photographer Kelly Mendoza, agree to help the FBI with a sting operation that will help rescue the quarterback’s son. But nothing goes right and chaos ensues.
What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?
My wife is a tough critic, but she’s been very supportive of both the fiction and non-fiction writing projects I’ve had. While I was growing up, my family was always very encouraging when it came to my writing. The truth is, I didn’t write well when I first started out. I often look back and wonder how anyone could have paid me a compliment at the point in my career. I can’t imagine what they saw in my writing. But I just kept writing and writing and then reading good writing. Fortunately, my parents encouraged me to write and gave me every opportunity to succeed. I’m glad I finally lived up to their words of encouragement. It just took me quite a while to get there.
What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read?
To Kill a Mockingbird remains my all-time favorite book. Growing up in the South, Harper Lee really captured the culture in a poignant way, one that I realized still existed long after the book had been published. That story has always stuck with me, though it only slightly nudges past John Knowles’ “A Separate Peace” for me. Both of those books encapsulate incredible literature and the level of writing I aspire to.
Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?
I think any author would be lying if he or she said they didn’t put part of themselves into a character. But I like to pattern most of my characters after people I know. I have lived in so many different places around the world and in the U.S. that I have a large smorgasbord to choose from. Maybe I’m just lazy when it comes to being creative and dreaming up a character, but if I really try to do it, I’ll always think of someone with certain attributes that I want a character to have: inventive, free-spirited, distant, focused, creative, caring, cold, etc. But most of my characters are a conglomeration of people I’ve met along life’s journey.
Do you have a Website or Blog?
I finally got a website so I can keep readers updated on future projects. You can find out what I’m doing as well as all my other social media connections at www.IamJackPatterson.com
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Writing is largely a thankless endeavor. People don’t give you much feedback, and when they do, it’s often critical. But when you connect with readers in such a way that they write you and share what emotions a story invoked, that’s incredibly rewarding. Life isn’t lived in a vacuum, but it often seems like we write in one. However, when we get the opportunity to hear from a reader whose life was impacted by something I wrote -- if even for a moment -- that makes it all worth it.
The first signs that I might like writing about sports -- and be slightly competitive -- appeared when my year two (or first grade) teacher, Mrs. Holland, asked my class to write and illustrate our day. Mine read like this: “The Red team beat the Blue team, 1 to nil. And I won.” The next 47 entries covered my exploits on the soccer pitch while growing up in Ipswich, England.
In South Carolina as a teenager, my dad told me that I could get paid to watch sports provided I could write about it. Sounded easy enough and by the time I was 16, I landed a job at my town’s daily newspaper and had a column on Major League Baseball players from our area. I also covered my first riot there at a sporting event -- and it’s safe to say I was smitten with journalism.
After graduating from one of the best journalism schools in the country, I took a job as a sports editor in South Georgia and learned firsthand about the passion of high school sports in rural America. I thought I knew before, but I didn’t. This was another world.
I also had the opportunity to cover major sporting events like the Olympic Games, the World Series, the Super Bowl, and the Final Four. It was a thrill!
But nothing was as thrilling to me as uncovering the truth in investigative assignments. I once broke a story about a prominent southern football team’s NCAA violation -- and found out the violating coach had committed suicide only a few months earlier. The story won a national writing award and stoked my desire to write about these issues. It made me realize that the sports world was just another fantastic backdrop for drama.
After writing non-fiction books with athletes, for athletes, and ghost writing for many others, I decided to enter the world of fiction writing. It had been something I wanted to do but never found the time. So, I made the time--and am now having a blast. I hope you enjoy reading my novels as much as I enjoy writing them!
Publisher: Hangman Books
Publication Date: 11/25/2012
Publisher: Hangman Books
Publication Date: 11/25/2012
When veteran NFL quarterback Noah Larson finally guides his team to the Super Bowl, his dreams -- and life -- are dashed when his six-year-old son is kidnapped for a unique ransom: lose the game or his son dies. Seattle sportswriter Cal Murphy and photographer Kelly Mendoza get pulled into an FBI sting to help rescue Noah's son in Mexico. But when everything falls apart, Cal and Kelly are left to save themselves, save Noah's son, and save the Super Bowl.
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