Thank you very much for being willing to be interviewed!
1 A Draw of Kings concludes The Staff and the Sword Series. At what point, in your writing process did you know how the series would end?
It’s strange. I knew how the last book would end before I knew how the first one would end. The story arc that I’d put together was very allegorical, so the ending was almost written for me. There was a funny side note, however. After Bethany House signed me to the contract, one of the editors, a delightful woman named Karen Schurrer, called me and let me know that the publisher would prefer a certain kind of ending. I think they were a little afraid I might concoct something totally off the wall. It was probably a justifiable concern. 🙂
2. Of the three novels in this series, which one was the hardest to write and why?
Hands down, the hardest book to write was the final one, A Draw of Kings. There were a couple of reasons for this. First was the process itself. In the first two books I just let my imagination run wild and let the story go where it wanted. I had a structure set up, but I basically turned the horses of my imagination loose and watched where they would go. But that approach wasn’t going to work for the last book. I had no choice but to gather up all the threads and plot lines and bring them back under control. While rewarding, it was a much more difficult process.
The second reason the book was so difficult to write was that my manuscript came in almost fifteen thousand words over the contract limit. I cringed the first time I submitted it because I was scared to death of what they would say. Fortunately, Bethany House allowed me an extra six thousand words, but I still had to find nine thousand to cut. It took me three months of combing the manuscript. I’ve read some of the reviews that say while the last book is the longest, it still manages to feel a little rushed. I agree, but it couldn’t be helped.
3. When writing this series, was there any one character that surprised you the most?
They all did things that took me by surprise, but I have to say the character that surprised me the least was Errol. I spent so much time scripting him that he didn’t get much of a chance to surprise me. So in that sense the minor characters were probably the most surprising. Lord Waterson certainly took me by surprise. He wasn’t intended to be anything more than a blip in the series, but in the final book he turned into this wonderfully cynical man who is still intent on doing the right thing. The pair of characters that surprised me the most was Adora and Antil. When I finally got to the point where I could bring them together the chemistry was amazing! Their dislike for each other was wonderfully palpable and it made for some of the best writing I’ve ever done. They are a great example of the crucible technique; two characters trapped together and unwilling or unable to leave. I wish I could write that well all the time.
4. Do you have any plans to write any more novels using any of the characters from The Staff and the Sword Series?
Not at this point. The story is complete, though I have to admit I miss them already. It’s been a few months now since I finished up the series and I’m almost forty thousand words into a new project, but I have to admit it’s difficult pulling myself out of Errol’s world. I spent four years with him, after all.
5. Can you tell us what you’re working on next?
I’d love to. I’m working on a medieval-detective-epic fantasy series. The closest I can come to encapsulating it is “Sherlock Holmes meets the Screwtape Letters.” Needless to say, it feels very ambitious. I’m excited about the potential for a very long series, perhaps as much as nine books, but I’m also scared that I’ve bitten off too much. And then of course there’s the Sophomore slump, but right now I’m just trying to figure out how to say something worthwhile and glorify God in the writing. The first book is tentatively titled “The Rise of the Clast.”
Thank you for having me.
If you haven’t checked out any of Patrick Carr’s novels, you are missing out! Run to your nearest library/bookstore and get it!