Ruin’s Wake by Patrick Edwards @PaddyEdwards @TitanBooks #InspiredBy

Today I have an Inspired By feature with author Patrick Edwards. Ruin’s Wake is out now in all formats and is published by Titan Books.

Author Patrick Edwards

Patrick Edwards lives in Bristol and has never grown out of his fascination with science and the future. In 2014, he decided to give writing a go and graduated from the Bath Spa Creative Writing MA with distinction. His first novel, Ruin’s Wake, was inspired by the works of Iain M. Banks and modern-day North Korea.

Can you tell us about someone who inspired your writing in some way? What it means to you now and if you could say anything to them what would it be?

I’ve been an Iain Banks junkie since my teenage years. He was a phenomenon: someone who built enduring characters and fantastical worlds, but perhaps because he lived a double life as a ‘mainstream’ author he made you care. Science fiction gets the finger wagged at it for caring more about world-building than character (not always an un-founded accusation) but Banks wrote real people with real drives – his characters feel elation and suffering, they sleep with people and fight others, they have vanity and self-doubt. With those crucial blocks in place, it doesn’t matter that they’ve chosen to live as a monkey on the side of a sentient dirigible because they live and they breathe. Even when I was skint I’d buy his hardbacks without a shred of guilt. And then he died.

            To lose a man of such talent so before his time was a tragedy; for me, it came about just around the time I was thinking of doing something with my life. It spurred me on, making me think: ‘Who’s going to write the books I like now? Perhaps…’

            If I ever got to meet Iain I’d probably embarrass myself, so I doubt I’d say much. I’d buy him a glass of something Scottish and peaty instead and toast him as a man of singular vision who didn’t take himself too seriously.

What words of advice would you offer anyone starting their writing career?

Be curious. Read like you’re losing your eyesight, and widely. If you confine yourself to the ‘genre’ you’re writing you’ll end up finding it hard to bring anything fresh. Read history books and geography articles and the news (though you might need a break from that every once in a while). It doesn’t matter if you’re penning a post-War Home Counties roman à clef or a trilogy about the ice mines of Europa, you need to be broad in your approach.

Related to this: find other writers you trust and share work. It burns and it’s horrible and scary but it makes for good prose; even better if that person doesn’t write anything you’d normally read. In developing a constructive, critical language for their work you’ll soon find yourself applying the same mindfulness to your own.

Don’t neglect the work, or the next time you open that dusty novel file you’ll have forgotten the frame of mind you were in when you last wrote and you’ll want to bin it all. Life gets in the way, but even a look-in once a day will keep the momentum going

What does being a writer mean to you?

Pretty much everything! I’m a lucky boy, I have a wonderful little family and good friends. But before writing came along I was very close to the edge of being deeply unhappy because, like a lot of people who do Humanities degrees, I didn’t know what my thing was. I envied my friends who are doctors or lawyers because they were on a path, were doing something that seemed worthwhile – I, on the other hand, wasn’t bad at my job but I didn’t care about it. The big 3-0 had hit and I was getting the creeping feeling I might never find a driving passion (I compensated with a lot of hobbies) until my wife booked me on a 10-week writing course at the Bristol Folk House. Since then, I’ve never wanted to be anything else but a professional writer.

Finally, do you have a favourite bookish quote. 

Lots, but one I’ve actually applied in real life is from the Lord of the Rings, near the start of the whole thing at Bilbo’s ‘Long expected party’. In it, Bilbo manages to drop some snark on his rather scrounging guests and gets away with it:

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve….

I used it in a leaving email from an old job once, because being a grownup is over-rated.

Ruin’s Wake by Patrick Edwards

A moving and powerful science fiction novel with themes of love, revenge, and identity. A story about humanity, and the universal search to find salvation in the face of insurmountable odds.

An old soldier in exile embarks on a desperate journey to find his dying son.   
A young woman trapped in an abusive marriage with a government official finds hope in an illicit love.   

A female scientist uncovers a mysterious technology that reveals that her world is more fragile than she believed.  

Ruin’s Wake imagines a world ruled by a totalitarian government, where history has been erased and individual identity is replaced by the machinations of the state. As the characters try to save what they hold most dear – in one case a dying son, in the other secret love – their fates converge to a shared destiny.

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