Tuesday, 31 December 2013


The end of a big year, one that saw my first published novel, and me going full-time as a writer.

The UK paperback edition is ready to go:

With the new cover and a tweak to the title, it’s going for more of a crime look. Out 16th January, the same week as Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday. It also includes a short story that was previously only available with the ebook version, called ‘The Death of Never Geary Will Be Televised’. (Which does not, be assured, feature the death of Never Geary.)

Remember, if you’ve read it and loved it, tell a billion other people! Or thereabouts.

Busy year ahead. I’m currently finishing off book 2, then I’ll be getting stuck in to the novelisation of French TV hit The Returned before rounding off the Reviver trilogy with – yes! – book 3.

So at this point of reflection, do I have any plans to change my ways in the coming year?

Well, I could vow to use Twitter and my blog more – AGAIN – but we both know where that ends up. I’ll vow to at least try and think about it. Take it, it’s the best you get.

I certainly vow to read more than I managed last year. I may have actually got the hang of stopping reading books I’m not getting along with. I still feel bad about doing it, but I finally realised that books I love I can read in two days, while books I don’t take weeks, meaning the majority of my reading life has been spent on books that just aren't for me.

That’s something I plan to change.

Finally, I vow to fit in plenty of messing about with stuff that is great fun and in no way helps to get the writing done. It always helps to commit to something you know will happen anyway.

Have a great year!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Childhood dreams

When I was a kid, I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to write novels or write games.
Neither was likely, I thought, and by the time I was in my twenties I was pretty damn sure I didn’t have what it took to do either. Writing prose, I discovered, was tough, and I didn’t have the discipline. Meanwhile, the games industry only had room for the supremely talented, the ones who lived and breathed coding.
By the time I hit thirty, though, games were big, and the studios had grown. A coder no longer needed to be an obsessive genius, the studios needed us ordinary folk too. I thought: what the hell. Why not give it a try?
Half a dozen interviews later, I had a job at The Creative Assembly, a studio that had just released Shogun: Total War. I would stay there for the next thirteen years, and I loved it.
I worked on Rome: Total War, and the BBC and History channel programme Time Commanders; Empire, Napoleon, Shogun 2, and Rome 2 followed. I was lucky enough to be one of those who picked up a BAFTA, representing the whole team, for Shogun 2.
There was something else, though. Landing that job, and fulfilling a childhood dream, had made me try my hand at writing again. It was in 2004, just after the launch of the original Rome: Total War, that I started writing Reviver. It took me a while, but in June 2013, it was published, and I had a further two novels in the series to write. Thing is, working in the games industry isn’t easy. It’s hard work, and it needs dedication. At times, it takes every piece of spare time, and every drop of energy you have. It was nine years from starting on Reviver to publication, and suddenly I had to finish a book in a year.
Then, last October, Legendary Pictures bought the movie rights to the novel, and things changed. I handed in my notice, with the longest notice period they’d ever had: I’d see Rome 2 through to release, and then I would go full time as a writer.
It was all a bit of a whirlwind, of course. The ‘every piece of spare time and every drop of energy’ rule had come into play for Rome 2, and as a result Reviver Book 2 was running late, but then, suddenly, it was time. My last day was Friday 13th, exactly thirteen years after I’d joined. No omens there!
I bade a fond farewell to my colleagues, and wished them the best of luck with all future projects. As a leaving gift, I got a giant bag of jelly babies and a bottle of JD the size of my head.
I wasn’t a game developer any more, but one childhood dream had been replaced with another: I was a full-time writer.
And I had a bottle of JD the SIZE OF MY HEAD.
This may not have been a childhood dream, but... maybe it should have been? There can be no downside to that one.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Review update!

First, to those asking for updates on progress with Legendary's REVIVER movie, the script is currently being written. Patience! The folk at Legendary are a little busy with Man of Steel, Pacific Rim and Godzilla at the moment.

Second, I've not posted up any review links since launch day, so I thought it was about time to round a few up...


"gripping and unique... Reviver is one hell of a fantastic ride, an amazing first novel. I’ll be keeping my eye on Seth Patrick; he’s bound to rise high in the genre."


"a skilfully plotted and compulsively readable supernatural thriller"


"From its arresting first sentence through an opening chapter that is so irresistibly and hair-raisingly seductive and into a story bristling with originality and descriptive excellence, this is truly a book to savour.

...melds crime and the paranormal in a cracking, page-turning thriller.

An impressive, intelligent and exciting debut."



"Crackling pace, believable science and characters worth spending some time with make Seth Patrick’s debut a must-read for fans of horror, crime, science fiction, noir.

Without doubt, one of my favourite books of the year from an author whose novels are sure to become a regular feature on my bookshelves. You can’t afford to miss it."


"walks the line between criminology thriller and supernatural fantasy exceptionally well"


"Impressive, intelligent and well crafted.

If you’re a fan of the supernatural, horror or the crime thriller genre then I think you’ll love this book. For some reason I couldn’t get Michael Koryta out of my head when reading Reviver, it’s that good!

Dark, accomplished, exceptional and rare."

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Total War: Rome 2 Takeover

REVIVER author by night, games developer by day, that's me.  And given that I'm in the final few weeks of getting Reviver Book Two finished while also in the final few weeks of development on Creative Assembly's latest game, I'm VERY BUSY.  More coffee!

That new game is the massive (in every way!) Total War: Rome 2.

I've come full circle: nearly thirteen years ago, when I first got a job with Creative Assembly, it was to work on the original Rome game.

The world's gaming media were there for the Rome 2 preview event that was held earlier this month in Cinecitta Film Studios in Rome.  Within a huge marquee in the middle of the vast set of HBO's Rome, journalists were given the first taste of the new game, playing through the Prologue Campaign.

I was very lucky to be one of the developers attending, ready to give help when needed, and I thought I'd share some pictures of the event to whet your appetite. No spoilers, mind you - you'll have to wait until the likes of Gamespot, IGN and Eurogamer give their take on what they saw.

It was a great day. Incredibly hot, and our nerves were going as the temperature in the marquee soared, but even though some of the PCs got hot enough to melt lead, we had surprisingly few failures, thanks to the top notch IT support we'd brought with us.  All those sacrificial offerings had paid off!

Arriving in Italy, we soon learned that Sega (who own Creative Assembly) also happens to be an Italian slang word for, er, masturbation. A quick change of T-shirt was in order for some, who'd been wandering through the airport and the hotel lobby, oblivious that they were wearing shirts with WANK on 'em. Luckily I'd been wearing my REVIVER shirt. Shameless self-promotion never did anyone any harm...

Here I am, just to prove I was actually there:

Sprawling back streets with genuine Roman graffiti...

Note the authentic ancient Roman fire extinguisher, the Romans being famous for their insistence on Health and Safety. You can never be too careful when there are pigs around...

The game awaits...

The troops assemble outside ready to drill. "Ctrl-A attack, lads!"

Night falls, and the traditional Ancient Pink Lighting kicks in. Ale from all conquered lands is summoned!

Total War Devs, ogling genuine old stuff in the actual real world. WHAT! GET BACK TO HORSHAM AND WORK!

The Colosseum part of the set, very impressive. Hang on...

Pantheon-like temple on set... and how everything looks from inside, when you fall through what you thought was stone.

The actual Pantheon. Bigger, and more made-of-actual-stone.
Well, that's it for my Preview of the, um, Total War: Rome 2 Preview. I have to go and work on my book, now. More coffee!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Launch day!

It was in October 2011 that Reviver was bought by Pan Macmillan. Finally, last Thursday, 20th June 2013, the official UK launch date arrived.

The first order of the day was signing a stack of books...

Then, signing another stack of books...

Then, to Forbidden Planet, where I signed another stack of books - BUT only after I'd read the first chapter of Reviver. I like reading that chapter. The previous Monday I'd read it at the Jubilee Library in Brighton, in a joint event with Peter James. It went down a storm there, too. If you haven't read it yet, well, isn't it about time you did? The Amazon preview lets you, go ahead...

Books were signed, drinks were had, and, er, Portal merchandise was bought. (I was in Forbidden Planet.  It happens.)

My shed is safe.

Geek highlights - apart from 'launching your novel in Forbidden Planet' - were:

  • signing the Forbidden Planet visitor's book right after Neil Gaiman:

  • signing a bunch of autograph books (and an Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction) and having to find spaces between the signatures of, among others, Brian Aldiss and Clive Barker.

Thanks to all who wished me luck, especially Chris Fowler and Pat Cadigan - much appreciated!

Afterwards it was off to a suitably murky pub for some suitably murky drinks, in the kind of company where you mention authors whose books you just bought and discover you're actually talking to their agent. That's publishing!

Well, now the book's out there, and we'll see how the little tyke gets on in the real world.

Good luck, kid! (pinches cheek) Go scare some folk!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

It's here!

My first copy of my first novel came today, in all its glory. 

Its arrival brought to mind the bit near the end of Back to the Future, when George McFly’s novel shows up. The part of the movie where I actually found myself being jealous. 

Jealous of George McFly.

Well, here it is:

A beauty! I peek at it every few minutes, just in case it’s disappeared in some unexpected alternate timeline subplot.

…Still there!

Elsewhere, I popped up in the new issue of SFX magazine, along with a great full-page ad for Reviver that carries the wonderful line: "The Dead no longer have the right to remain silent." I like that.

As if that wasn't enough, I also featured in an article in the Sunday Times this week, under the computer-geek-makes-good narrative. Pretty fair I guess.

For those who asked, the bit in the article about me and my wife having a cinema trip as our honeymoon was indeed true. Ten years ago, our dream honeymoon would have left us in debt for an age, so rather than compromise we opted not to have one at all. Besides, our daughter was six months old, and not conducive to relaxation. Meanwhile we’d not been to the movies together since she’d been born, and hell – the sequel to one of our all-time favourites was on!

How could we not? It was meant to be!

That movie was The Matrix Reloaded.

Let us never speak of this again.

I also had my first on-camera interview, for the good folk at Book Zone TV.  The opening question was:  “So, your new book Reviver… what’s it about?” 

Wasn’t expecting that. (Seriously.) It took a few tries. Once I got going, though, I think it went pretty well.  Here it is...  how did I do?

Now, with only 22 days until Reviver launches in the UK, things are ramping up. I have an event in Brighton Library on the 6th of June, me and Peter James talking about our respective new books, assuming Peter can avoid serious injury. Did I, er, mention I fell off my bike? While stationary?

Then, 20th June, Reviver launches at Forbidden Planet, London. I’ll be doing a reading, before signing books and getting entertainingly drunk. In that order.

Hope to see you there!

I’m just a little bit excited.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Review frenzy!

Blimey, less than a month to go before publication.
My brain is a little frazzled, I’ll admit – hard at work on Total War: Rome 2 by day, and hard at work on Reviver Book 2 by night, I’m rediscovering the ups and downs of serious caffeine abuse.

Last night I shoved a quiche in a food cupboard rather than in the fridge, shoved a remote control in the fridge rather than, well, NOT in the fridge, and neglected to put a nappy on our toddler son when I put him to bed, leading to a damp and unhappy morning for the wee lad.

Also this morning I came a cropper heading to work on my bike (pedal variety). Beyond cuts and bruises, the only thing broken was pride, as I was pretty much stationary at the time. I waved away the concerns of passers-by, wearing a fixed grimace, but I probably would have told them I was fine even if blood had been spraying inconveniently far, such was the shame...

But enough complaining. Time to look at something else that’s been happening: reviews!

It’s mainly just blogs so far of course, but there are some genuinely nice reviews out there. I’ve taken the liberty of extracting the best lines. Of course.

First up, some nice quotes from authors. Actual professional ones!
A brilliant, original and very scary concept - which Seth Patrick carries off with chilling aplomb.’ Peter James
‘A highly original story skillfully told, a thriller that twists and turns all the way to the end.’ Simon Kernick
‘A great concept-based thriller. Chilling and emotional in all the right places.’  Mark Charan Newton
‘Highly recommended.’ Neal Asher (review here)

And the rest:
Here's a novel that manages to deftly extend hard-boiled forensic mystery into the next life. The plot and the implications of the novel are both going to keep readers up well into the night.
'Reviver' is a gripping thriller, but what really makes it fun is the addition of elements of horror and crime fiction into the mix.
Seth Patrick has created an entire forensic discipline, all backed up with authentic (at least, to this non-scientist) and utterly believable detail.  I was completely absorbed by the weird take on the world he has created between the covers of this book.  Heartily recommended.
Supernatural thrillers don’t get much better than British author Patrick’s assured debut.
It's intense, a little creepy and a hell of a lot of fun.
[An odd fish, this one, in that it doesn’t come across as entirely positive yet contains some superb quotes, but it's here in the name of balance (and, er, superb quotes)]
‘gripping conspiracy thriller’
‘the reading experience is resolutely thrilling’
‘an excellent sense of immediacy and quantities of unbridled excitement’

And finally...

This is going to be big. Massive big. You can just sense it.

Right, that's it for now. I've just remembered that sleep is, quite probably, important.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


... albeit in a language I don't speak.

Yes, the Spanish version of Reviver was published, available through Circulo de Lectores, meaning that my first published book was effectively written by someone else. Remembering the level of difference in translation attempts in any language classes I had at school, I suspect the degree to which a good translation matters is hugely underestimated. I hope a decent translation gets the credit it deserves...

They've called the book Ultimo Aliento.  When I first saw the title, for a terrible moment I thought it meant 'The Last Alien'.  But no!  Thankfully.  It's actually 'Last Breath', which is fine by me.

Find it in their catalogue on page 34 here:  http://catalogo.circulo.es/ 

(Bit of Trivia: the catalogue entry was written by someone who'd only read the original version of the manuscript, before the rewrites, and it mentions a character (Beth) who used to be key to the story but was almost entirely cut from the finished book. She still gets a little cameo, does Beth.  Aw, bless.)

Of course, when their new catalogue goes up in a few weeks, that'll very much NOT be my book on page 34, but http://www.circulo.es/Libros/2013/022013/27045.aspx may last longer.

Anyway, the translated opening line is:

A veces, Jonah Miller odiaba hablar con los muertos.

Google Translate has that as 'Sometimes hated Jonah Miller talk to the dead.' 

Almost, Google.  Almost.

Monday, 25 March 2013

87 days

87 days to go before release. Reviews are popping up here and there, and my naturally sociophobic (not –pathic. Definitely not. Too lazy.) nature is being strongly challenged by the need for PR events.

Saying that, at my first ever such, an evening to celebrate Horror authors at Tor UK, I did stay until the death and drink, um, thoroughly.  There were people more drunk than me, but I’m doubtful as to how much solace you can ever take from that.
I'll have to make sure I don’t talk while photos get taken if I can help it, and improve those expressions I somehow contrive to pull. Blue Steel is not a good look.

To my surprise, I even found myself enjoying chatting to the good folk there, but I’m finding everyone else knows a hell of a lot about books. Eight years of day-job, young family, and that writing-a-novel stuff left me with very little spare time and groaning shelves laden with still-unread novels.
I’ll catch up.  A little.
There’s another event this coming Thursday, Fantasy in the Court. Lots more authors, but mainly outdoors. Brrr. I’ll dress warm, and avoid pouting while cameras are aimed at me.

Anyway, to round off, here's the little bit on horror the people at Tor UK asked me to do for that Horror evening.

Ah, horror.

One thing people underestimate about horror is its breadth. From the deep unease of M. R. James to the Grand Guignol of Clive Barker, horror can be brutal or genteel, Satanic or technological; anywhere from a whisper to a scream. All tastes are catered for. You don’t think you like horror? You just haven’t found the right mix.

Horror is at the heart of being human. When people gathered around a fire forty thousand years ago, I can guarantee their storytellers didn’t explore the fine points of language, or the angst of middle age. They spoke of the creatures that came from the dark; they spoke of pain and fear. But here’s something else I guarantee: they did it with humour, with thrills, with shocks. With a pinch of romance and a dash of the supernatural.

Even now, our existence is only a wrong-turn away from genuine horrors that, fascinated as we are, we can’t bear to discuss. Horror is our way of peering close at the rotting corpse we’ll all become, and then closing the book, finding ourselves a little more grateful than before.

In the end, though, the appeal of good horror is a simple one: it guarantees an eventful read. And at its best, it provides moments that will forever lurk in your thoughts. The strange thing is how much fun it can be to write horror. A dark kind of fun: a sense of mischief and a hope that, just maybe, you can capture such a moment.

A moment that seizes your heart and makes you know – just for a time – that something is very, very wrong.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Sheer terror

I remember when I was nine years old and I sang a solo at our school’s Christmas Carol service. (I was the Angel Gabriel. Typecasting, pah.) The choir sang a verse, then little me in the centre of the stage on my ownsome piped in with my part. Rinse and repeat x4.  Each time the choir mercilessly advanced through their lines, it felt like the whole world was condensing time into one particularly nasty moment just for me.

I was recalling this early experience (of what, I guess, is stage fright) just last night, in the moments leading up to me having to talk about my book to a large roomful of people.  I was hit by that same sense of time squeezing itself down to a pinhead of fear; a fear that, although a little pathetic, is also pretty universal.

My publisher Macmillan had invited a group of professional authors (and also me!) to a get-together to meet the Macmillan team while "tasting" (ie, drinking large amounts of) wine, but the price was having to give a little speech in advance. Way down the running order, I followed Paul Cornell, and the moment he finished talking and sat down, eyes turned to me and I stood.

There’s a bit in Reviver that’s exactly like this, only with more blood.

I’d given a fair bit of thought to what I would say, and only at one point did I forget what came next. Sadly I also forgot what I’d just said, which made my legs genuinely turn to jelly. That brief wobble was resolved by mentioning the film deal, which got me a round of applause. I’ll try to mention it more often.

Funny really, before it’s your turn you’re too preoccupied to hear much of what those before you say, then after your turn you’re too relieved to hear much of the rest.  Relieved that you’ve not fainted or cried, or as a friend pointed out, shat yourself. Setting low standards for success, perhaps, but baby steps…

[Speaking of low standards, here’s a tip: if an off-joke with the word ‘hole’ in it suddenly occurs to you during a speech, don’t say it.  To wit: “I only know two things about wine: the hole it comes out of and the hole it goes into.” The top of the bottle and the mouth, people. Those ones.]

Singing as a nine year old Gabriel, my voice held up, nothing catastrophic occurred, and the terror I felt during the last verse was nowhere near as bad as during the first. I’m assured the same will happen now, and I’ll be an old hand in no time.

Or at least when book two launches.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


This poor neglected blog may get a little more attention, thanks to something that will put the fear of God into my editor:

My writing shed now has Internet. 

Thanks to the miracle of a massive piece of thick wire going shed-to-garden-to-living-room-to-router which I've promised my wife will soon blend perfectly into the background (LOL!), this shed is online.

Previously my procrastination options came down to Freecell, or arsing about with Sonar X1, but now...  they are unlimited!

I'm celebrating this luxury, plus the fact that it's my birthday, by sitting out here freezing and getting just a little drunk.  I have beer (Tanglefoot and Hobgoblin), Guinness, and JD&Coke at the ready, chilling in the foot of snow outside the door.

This is the point in a blog's life where at most two people read it, and I feel entirely justified in drunkenly slapping bollocks down that is of no interest even to them.  So I'll crack open another beer and do that thing everyone does on their birthday:

A review of How Things Are Going.  The plus-and-minus summary of the year.  Apologies in advance!

Plus:  I got the big rewrite of Reviver done.  All the problems I secretly knew about got hit and sorted.  Everything finally worked!

Minus:  I ended up fucking exhausted.  I have two kids and a full time job.  I got very familiar with the wee small hours and five hours sleep.  Every little bug that my kids got, I succumbed to.  This year, viruses were like bad guys in a Bruce Lee movie, queuing up to punch my face.  With phlegm.

Plus:  The book was finished!

MinusThe book wasn't finished. A few more changes, then a few more, then the copy edit, then proofing... It means that just when you think you're done you have to go over everything a few more times.  I realised that a writer ends up reading their book more times that anyone else ever will, by a factor of twenty.  (This is why making it genuinely entertaining is so important.  It protects the writer from insanity, which in turn explains why reading the output of mad writers is rarely any fun.  You know those writers who have no sense of humour remaining, the ones who look like they're chewing glass?  It's their own fault!)

Plus:  Movie deal! Holy Jesus! Out of nowhere, a great production company optioned the book! When I was sixteen, if you'd asked me what things I wanted to achieve that I didn't really think would ever happen?  Get a job writing computer games!  Check!  Publish a novel!  Check!  Movie deal?  No way!*

Minus:  I found out I was allergic to chocolate. Decades of sporadic mouth ulcer catastrophes, and I finally realised it was down to chocolate. 'That's actually really common,' someone told me after I'd worked it out. Nobody says these things before you work it out. Although maybe that dream about Satan was real after all.  ('You get the movie, all I want is to take away your ability to eat chocolate!'  'Uh, what about my soul?  My soul's tasty!'  'The chocolate thing or no deal.')

Plus:  I started to write the next book, and discovered I was actually really enjoying it.

Minus:  There is no minus to this one.  I'd been terrified, I'd been putting it off, and then found it was great fun. Hang on, isn't that what I should be doing right now?  Maybe just one more beer!

*OK, so there were more things on the list. Some involved girls.

Happy Birthday Edgar Allan Poe

Reviver owes its existence to Edgar Allan Poe, born 19th January 1809.

I was browsing the web at work (it was lunchtime!  probably!) and someone pointed out there were entries in Wikipedia for specific dates, and you could find out if you shared your birthday with anyone interesting.

Mine came up with Dolly Parton and Edgar Allan Poe.

I'd been browsing because I was hunting for a story idea.  I'd joined a creative writing course run by Peter James, back at the tail end of 2004.  This was just before Peter's first Roy Grace crime novel had been released, and he was still best known as a horror writer.  At the end of the first class, he set homework for the following week: write the first 250 words of a scary novel, introducing your protagonist and a murder weapon.

I had a week to do it, but after four days I was still blank.

Once I'd found the birthday connection, I read Poe's Wikipedia page.  As I did, two of his stories, which I'd read years before, collided in my brain.

The first was The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.  Here we have Monsieur Valdemar, on the point of death;  a friend, with an interest in mesmerism, asks permission to mesmerise Valdemar to see what happens.  (Clue: not happy stuff.)  When it was published, some actually took it to be a true account.  That gives me goosebumps.

The second was The Murders in the Rue Morgue, widely considered to be the first modern detective story.  (It was also riffed on in one of the most memorable X Files episodes, Squeeze.)

These two stories fused, and what flashed into my head was the image of Valdemar being given a post-mortem interview by Poe's detective, Dupin.

That evening, I started to write.  It was the first page of what would become Reviver, and it has hardly changed since.

Now I'm not sure if Poe ever had a happy day in his life, and, well, he's long dead*, but I'll raise my glass to the man all the same... Happy Birthday Edgar!

(*There's a slim chance that someone who looks a lot like Peter Cushing has Poe stashed in his basement churning out new stories.)