Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Under Wicked Sky! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what (or who) was its inspiration?
Patrick Greene: Under Wicked Sky takes the idea of global warming - or the softer term "climate change" if you wish - and jumps forward a decade or so, to see how it has changed society, which is for the worse, of course. As for inspiration -- I remember a long, miserable road trip in a truck without air conditioning under a boiling July sun that had me wondering what it would be like for all of us if this condition never ended. How long till the breakdown of law and civilized society? The villains, dubbed the Silvers, are not just cruel home invaders, they're a sort of cult who worship the sun and engage in ritual cannibalism.
In terms of influence, there's no question that John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13, which itself owes debts to both Rio Bravo and Night of The Living Dead, pointed the direction for Under Wicked Sky, particularly in how the villains are presented as not quite human -- savage, without conscience.
BD: What can you tell us about the creative process of bringing this story to life?
PG: At the time I was focused on screenwriting, specifically as a way to advance the acting career I was then pursuing. Hence, main character West is very much in line with the kind of troubled action hero I envisioned myself as playing, not unlike Stallone's plan with his Rocky script. Under Wicked Sky was envisioned as a fast-paced and stylish sci-fi action thriller, which is what it remains in prose form, though with the addition of considerably more character depth and development.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that your book will connect with and impact readers?
Under Wicked Sky addresses several issues that are socially meaningful, such as the growing class divide, war trauma, and, of course, global warming. But more than any of these, it's meant as a simple and straight forward sci-fi action yarn meant to entertain and exhilarate, like an '80s Arnold Schwarzenegger or Kurt Russell movie, yet with the dark undertone of a John Carpenter film. I don't expect to change anyone's mind about the cause or reality of climate change, but if someone considers the problems of our war vets on some level, that would be nice.
BD: What makes Raven Tale Publishing the perfect home for this story?
PG: Raven Tale is a new imprint of Dusty Saddle Publishing, an established and respected leader in the Western genre. In my mind, UWS is a Western in many senses, if not on its surface, spiritually it very much is. As "mainstream" as UWS might seem compared with some of my other work, it still bears the uniqueness of my admittedly strange outlook that offers readers a... skewed take on the subject matter. Raven Tale is the biggest company I have personally worked with. The plans they have for getting it in front of readers are nothing short of brilliant. It's easy to see they care very much about their authors and readers. The cover art, I must say, is perfect. It screams broiling anarchy!
BD: Do you foresee expanding the story into subsequent books (or into other entertainment mediums if given the opportunity)?
PG: Luckily, I am contracted to write a sequel book, an opportunity for which I am ecstatic. This topic and universe demand more exploration. Of course, it's well-suited for the film medium, given its origin story, but I believe the prose fiction route has done it greater justice. If readers embrace the world of Under Wicked Sky, I am more than happy to keep it going. The end of the world might take a few books!
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
PG: I’ve been working on a collection for which I used paranormal encounter reports as prompts to create speculative horror stories (i.e., bizarre reports of high strangeness expanded to narrative fiction). It's all very strange stuff made all the stranger by my efforts to make narrative sense of them. That was a wonderful challenge. We've all heard accounts of close encounters with UFOs or shadow people. I have taken these to their most bizarre and unsettling potential. This collection, currently titled Entities, Oddities and Absurdities: Stories of High Strangeness, is near completion, probably seeing release early next year.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Under Wicked Sky and your other work?
PG: Facebook and Twitter, as well as my Amazon author's page and blog site, where I talk about everything from kung fu movies to horror punk to obscure cinema. I would love to receive any criticisms, observations, notes of love, hate, or just hello. Finally, Raven Tale has a great website presence. They are very reader friendly and nurturing of authors and their stories.