Monday 19 March 2012

My Guest: Patrick Stutzman

Who knew I'd meet so many interesting people, simply by signing up to the SFFSat blog event.  What's that?  It's a weekly snippet event called Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday (SFFSat) -- where we unsung writers string together ten sentences of our works, and hope to capture the world with our snappy words and fabulous literary style.

Today, I bring you Patrick Stutzman, fellow speculative fiction writer who has just released his debut novel, Alone On The Edge.  He is also furiously working on the sequel Alone in Paradise.

Patrick was a good sport and let me ask him some of the usual questions...and some, not so run-of-the mill ones.

To kick things off, tell us a little about yourself – who you are, what you write, and why you write:
My name is Patrick Stutzman, online banking support technician by day and author/gamer any other time. I live in Missouri with my wife, two daughters, and a veritable menagerie of pets.

I write primarily science fiction and thrillers, but I write a little fantasy as well.

I have to write! I have so many stories running around in my head, that I have to get them out or my head will explode! In all seriousness, I have been writing since elementary school and have always been a creative sort. I am always coming up with story ideas, and writing is one of the best ways for me to tell those stories to others.

Would you ever write in another genre?
Beside fantasy, I could see myself writing horror. In fact, I have a sci-fi/horror story idea waiting in the wings that takes place in the same universe as my first book.

Do you have a recent release, or, what you’re currently working on?
My recent release, which is also my first novel, is Alone on the Edge, and it is available through Amazon in paperback and for Kindle. The second book of the series, Alone in Paradise, is currently being edited, and the third book titled Alone in the Crowd is currently in production.

Wow, book three already in the works!  There's no stopping you now.

And what inspired you to start writing?
Since I’ve been writing most of my life, it is something that comes naturally to me. What inspired me to start writing in the first place is lost in the dark recesses of my mind. (Don’t go looking for it! It’s a mess in there!)

As for what inspired me to start writing my first novel, it was the retirement of the line of books for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, Saga Edition. I was a freelance game designer for Wizards of the Coast from 2007-2009 working on books and articles for the game line. When I finished my last book in the summer of ‘09, I suspected that Wizards was not going to offer any more assignments, so I decided to keep my writing skills sharp and began work on Alone on the Edge.

If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Lots and lots of World of Warcraft! At least, it would be more than what I’m doing now.

Haha, great answer!  Do you have any favourite authors who have inspired you?
The author who has inspired me the most is J. Michael Straczynski. (For the record, Babylon 5 remains my all-time favorite science fiction TV series.) The quality of his storytelling through the series and other projects he has done gives me so much inspiration.

What are you reading now?
I am currently reading Ambasadora by Heidi Ruby Miller. Lots of good stuff in that book!
I've read Ambasadora (as did most people I recently interviewed. Wow, that Heidi Ruby Miller is amazing!!) So, what did you want to be when you grew up?
From the time I was about 6 or 7 until after I finished my junior year in high school, I wanted to be an astronaut. Although most kids have that desire for a short time, it wasn’t a passing craze for me. I wanted to go into space!

Hmm, you left out my question about crayon eating out. I was so sure you'd be game enough to answer it.  Oh well.  Next: Are you a morning person or an evening person?
I started life as a morning person. Then, I turned into an evening person in college. I reverted back to a morning person again several years ago. It seems to be a vicious cycle. Make it stop!

What is the best writing advice you ever received?
Write first, and edit later. This little tidbit came to me from Michael Stackpole, and it makes a lot of sense! Too many first-time writers try to perfect their first chapter before going on to the second, and they spend so much time on it that they eventually lose interest and give up. Write the first chapter and just keep going. After you finish the first draft, then go back and look it over again.

Very good advice.  If you had a super power, what would it be, and what would you call yourself?
This is a difficult one for me, because there are so many that I would want! If I had to choose just one, it would have to be telekinesis. I can do so much with that! I can pick things up, push things away, pull things toward me, push myself off the ground and fly, rip the clothes off my wife… (Um, I should probably stop there.)

As for a name, this comes from the time when I and a few others created ourselves as superheroes for a Champions RPG. I called myself Psion, because my focus was on psionics (telekinesis, telepathy, and teleportation, to be precise).

Cool name!! So, who is your favourite character in other people’s books?
At this point, I would have to say Sigrid Novak from The Girls from Alcyone. I have always loved strong, independent women.

Yeh, that Sigrid is awesome!!  What’s your favourite food?
I don’t have one particular food that I would call my favorite, but my first choice for cuisine would be Italian. Spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, fettuccine all sounds good to me! I also include pizza in this grouping.

What group did you hang out with in school?
I was pretty much a loner in school, so I didn’t really hang out with anyone. I was involved in band and acting, but I never had a strong connection with anyone in particular.

What’s under your bed?
You don’t want to know. I don’t want to know!

Now, fun question... If your book was made into a movie, who would you have play the characters?
If Alone on the Edge was ever made into a movie, Anna Foster would be played by Natasha Wicks, the former UFC Octagon girl, model, and actor. I have always envisioned Natasha as Anna ever since a coworker showed a picture of her to me while I was writing the book. She fits the description of the character perfectly. (And, she is aware of this fact.)
Ryan McIlheny would be played by Ian Somerhalder, best known for his role in The Vampire Diaries. He wasn’t my first choice, but my editor suggested him. Frankly, I agree with her selection.

In my mind, the voice of the computer is being done by Douglas Rain, best known for providing the voice of HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010.
And finally, where can we find you online?
My writer website, which also has a link to my blog, can be found at Hopefully, I will be customizing that even more to, but that hasn’t happened yet.

I can also be found on Twitter (@patrickstutzman), Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.

Well, there you have it.  I'd like to thank Patrick for stopping by today and putting up with my nosy questions. Now show him some love and leave some ego-boosting comments!!



  1. What a fun interview! I am really enjoying Alone on the Edge and looking forward to Alone in Paradise!

  2. Fun interview! Enjoyed reading about your work and other miscellaneous tidbits, Patrick.

    I always wanted to be an astronaut, too. Heck, I still want to be an astronaut. (Probably one of the reasons I write SF/R.)

    I'm curous what freelance game designers do? Does it require more a technical or creative skillset?

    1. I still have the desire to at least go into orbit. I suppose that depends on how much money I get by the time commercial space flight becomes available.

      The skill set really depends on the game line for which you write and in which capacity you are working. All the companies will require a technical skill set for the generation of game mechanics. Some of them will allow more creativity than others.

      When I worked on Star Wars, I worked more in a technical sense, since my work had to be approved by Lucasfilm. However as time went on, I was given more slack on my creativity and allowed to add new content to the SW universe.

  3. Patrick, you've had some awesome experiences!!

    And, I can't wait to read ALONE ON THE EDGE after all those SFFSats. ;)

    It's next up after a little book called THE LANCASTER RULE by T. K. Toppin.

    :) Heidi

    1. Really? I always thought my life was kind of boring. *shrug*

      Likewise, I REALLY want to finish reading AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT. But, I need to save up and buy myself a Kindle first. They won't let me use my laptop at work anymore. :(