During the almost three hour conversation we had, Patterson (who goes by Matt in real life) was charismatic and charming as he described the journey that he went through in bring Devil's Hand to the general public. Patterson began writing Devil's Hand in 2004, finished it in 2005, and went the more traditional route of shopping it around to publishing houses to try and get it published. Over the course of the next five years he revised his work many times, and during the process, received some promising yet discouraging feedback from the industry. While some of the publishers liked the book, none of them had a place for it in their shrinking portfolio of professionally published novels.
In August 2011, Patterson took Devil's Hand directly to the people through the Barnes & Noble eBook, Amazon eBook and Amazon (self-published) paperback store. It's a decision he doesn’t regret, as he’d sold more than 700 copies of Devil’s Hand by the time The Club met with him in mid-October 2011. (Patterson explains more about his experiences with self-publishing here and here).
Luckily for us, Patterson shared that Devil's Hand will be at least a trilogy (something you’d already know if you followed @mepatterson on Twitter). The next installment in the "Drawing Thin" series is on its way, and although no release date is scheduled yet, Patterson has already finished the first draft. During our Q&A on plot points from Devil's Hand, "Just wait 'til you read the next book" or "If you liked that, you'll love the next book" were common answers. We can hardly wait.
As we dug down into the details of Devil's Hand with Patterson, we learned that lots of research went into Trent, Celia, and the monstrous and heavenly creatures that populate their world. In creating that world Patterson turned to many sources: the first being Judeo-Christian texts, like the Bible and the apocryphal texts. He also shared with us that he spent time reading Dante's Inferno and Paradise Lost by John Milton. When it came to inspiration, Patterson looked to modern greats like Neil Gaiman and China Mielville, stating " [they] construct fabulous worlds with deep, mythic stories. I wanted Devil's Hand to have that same sort of feel hiding beneath the realistic, believable modern-day Las Vegas." And for the record, Patterson's Cherubim had one blue eye and one green eye as an homage to David Bowie (awesome)!
The evening The Supernatural Book Club spent with Matt Patterson was great fun. We learned a lot about Matt, his process, his struggles, his inspirations and his plans for the future. We were excited by the news that "Drawing Thin" will likely be at least a trilogy, and that many of our questions from Devil's Hand will be answered in the follow-up. Reading a book that you really enjoy is rare, and getting to meet the author of that book and have him turn out to be a cool guy is even more rare. M.E. Patterson is an exciting new author in the Supernatural Thriller genera, and the Supernatural Book Club is glad to have met him, and proud to recommend his debut novel Devil's Hand.
Patterson brought with him an signed copy of Devil's Hand for one lucky blog reader to win! Simply leave a comment below to be entered. Deadline to enter is Saturday October 30th at 11:59PM. The winner will be chosen at random from the list of commenters, and the name of the winner will be posted on Halloween (October 31st).