Phil Patrick has another story to tell.
Patrick, who published his first novel, Kingdom Guardians: The Silver Key, in 2014, has release his second this week. Kingdom Guardians: Shadows of Demons, a sequel to his first work, and was officially launched last Friday in the Burns Lake Public Library.
Shadows of Demons chronicles the latest adventures of characters introduced in The Silver Key. Patrick says, however, that it’s a “darker” book than its predecessor.
“Now that they’ve received their powers, they (the characters) are taking on another adventure, only this one is darker,” he explained. “They encounter new enemies, allies, and challenges, both physically and emotionally.”
Shadows of Demons took the 26-year-old Burns Lake author and Lakes District Secondary School graduate a year to complete – much less than The Silver Key, which was five years in the writing. Yet just because he managed to turn out his second fantasy/adventure novel in one-fifth the time doesn’t mean it was an easier task; he still had to juggle writing and his ‘day job’ at Overwaitea Foods.
“Did I feel like quitting and doing something else? Not when I was writing the first (book), but the second one actually stressed me out at one point – but that’s another story,” he says. “And no, I felt there wasn’t anything else for me to try that could replace writing.”
Patrick has always felt the urge to create. He’s been drawing since childhood, and the cover art for both The Silver Key and Shadows of Demons is his own. Yet for most of his short life, he’s focused on art, not writing; the latter is a relatively new exercise for him, one he didn’t take an interest in until after graduation.
“It was in the fall of 2007, when I was attending College of New Caledonia,” he recalls. “I took English class that was taught by Bill Graham. We wrote essays and read books together. That was when I got into reading and writing.”
Patrick came up with the idea for The Silver Key in May 2008. It started off as a simple story about a boy who likes a girl, he says, but later morphed into an adventure story.
“It was the movie Transformers, that was released in 2007, that got me motivated, so that’s pretty much the reason I wanted to make the story into a fantasy/adventure,” he explains. “As time went on, I kept working on it, one version after another, until I came up with something solid.
“I don’t know how many versions I wrote, but it was more than a few. I kept on writing and writing until I found a version that I liked. What kept me going was the thought of my family and friends reading the story and liking it, especially when the story reached its final form. I felt I had something good going on and I wanted to share it.”
The urge to share The Silver Key with others was strong enough to convince Patrick to self-publish it. He didn’t expect much from his $600 investment, but was pleasantly surprised by both the product and the reception it received.
“Kingdom Guardians: The Silver Key turned out better than I expected,” he said. “The ones who showed up at the launch on January 10, (2014) I thought they were going to be my only audience, which was all right because at one point I told myself: ‘Even if a hundred people read the book instead of a thousand, it would be all right.’ But no, before I knew it, all of Burns Lake was my audience as word had spread around, and that’s what created the hype, and it caught me by surprise. I’ve lost track of how many copies I’ve sold, but it was over a hundred.”
Shadows of Demons is also self-published, and Patrick hopes it will be as well received as its predecessor. Financial success as a writer would be great, he says, but it’s not essential to his enjoyment of the craft.
“Can I make a living from my writing? No, not likely, unless I get offered a writing job. Otherwise, I would just keep working at my day job, but even that won’t stop me from writing in my spare time.
“The fact that my books are fiction and they’re fantasy, I feel like I am now part of pop culture,” he continues. “And I do enjoy bonding with the audience and fans of my book. I even gave my small fan base a name, Fandom Guardians. That aspect is pretty rewarding, just being part of something I grew up with is a great experience.”
Kingdom Guardians: Shadows of Demons, published by Xlibris, is available in soft cover. It can be found in the book section of Overwaitea Foods (Burns Lake).