Author Interview: Patrick Canning

Meet Patrick Canning.

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Patrick Canning is a fiction author who has released two novels Cryptofauna (urban fantasy/dark humor) and The Colonel and the Bee (Victorian adventure/coming of age), as well as several short stories (mostly sci-fi, horror, & humor). A big fan of gin & tonic, Calvin & Hobbes, and mac & cheese, Patrick lives in Los Angeles with his dog, Hank, and hopes to release many books in the years to come.

IG: @catpanning


The Interview.

Tell us a little bit about your writing history and how you got to be where you are today as writer.

I mostly learned writing through screenwriting, which I still enjoy doing even though I’m more focused on novels now. I have two books out so far, and I’m always working on the next couple projects.


Write a steampunk fantasy line in 10 words or less – go!

That Josiah’s got a gigglemug with a sauce-box ripe for punching. (I cheated. This one goes up to eleven.)


What made you decide to write in the Victorian age for The Colonel and the Bee?

I wanted the characters to travel around in a hot air balloon and for the world they were exploring to be much more of an unknown than it is today. I then discovered Victorian slang (as used above) and thought it would be a great fit for the tone of the story.


To you, what is the most important key element or characteristic to have (or achieve!) in a coming of age story.

Probably relatability. Even if the situation is exotic (as it often is in this book) the emotions and reactions that Bee has need to resonate with the reader. Even if we all haven’t been in a gunfight in the middle of a hurricane, or held hostage of treasure hunters, we understand what it’s like to search for where we belong in an unpredictable and sometimes confusing world, which Bee is very much trying to do.


Do you find that your writing process is different from when you write a short story vs. a full-length novel?

Definitely. In a short, there are far less plot logistics to map and connect, meaning you can better focus on one singular idea. For better or worse, I don’t really outline short stories, which is a nice change of pace from the foresight required in novel-length projects. I think shorts are a great way to experiment with more outlandish characters and twists as well, which are always fun to do.


What is your biggest writing inspiration?

Just hoping the work speaks to someone, makes their day better, or gives them the experience of reading something they’ve thought/felt, but never been able to express. Also, making enough money to build a book-shaped pool…which I guess would basically be your standard rectangular unit, is at the top of the inspiration list.


In Cryptofauna, did your character(s) surprise you at all in how they acted during a particular scene? 

Hmm, not so much. I’ve heard writers describe this but it doesn’t happen that way for me. I think characters become more like themselves in the revision process because it’s easier to more clearly see who they are on a second pass, but I’ve never quite had the detached experience of a character doing something surprising to me.


Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers today?

I love book covers, please send me your favorites!


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