Monday, May 8, 2017

Meet PPW Member Patrick Hester

Today we take a quick peek into Patrick Hester’s busy universe. He is not only a writer, but an avid reader, and a teacher as well.

KATHIE SCRIMGEOUR:  What is a book that you read that you couldn’t put down, and why? What is a book that you will reread more than once?

PATRICK HESTER: Most recently, any of the Miles Vorkosigan books from Lois McMaster Bujold. Once I got into them, I fell hard and couldn’t stop until I’d read them all. Bujold is a master of storytelling and great characters and worldbuilding.

The Lord of the Rings or Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World are books I have read and reread multiple times. Both are cherished by me and for very different reasons. Tolkein is who most fantasy authors look to as foundational and a deep influence, kinda like how bands in the 70’s would say The Beatles inspired and influenced them. I was introduced to Tolkein at a young age and was blown away by the world and characters he created.

Jordan did the same, but on such a scale! His Wheel of Time series is massive and dense, full of mythology and worldbuilding, and characters! Oh, I love the characters. When a new book was coming out, I would reread the entire series (think about that for a second, cuz there are 14 of them plus a prequel!) Now that it’s finished, I reread just the first book – Eye of the World – when I can, or when I need a reminder of the kind of author I aspire to be.

KATHIE SCRIMGEOUR: What author inspired you to write?

PATRICK HESTER: As mentioned above, Jordan and Tolkein were both huge influences on me. I’ll add to that all of the Star Trek novels published in the 70’s and 80’s by great authors like Diane Duane, D.C. Fontana, Peter David and Vonda McIntyre.

More recently, I’ve been inspired by Jim Butcher, Gail Carriger, Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson and James SA Corey, all of whom approach writing and storytelling in different ways.

KATHIE SCRIMGEOUR:  You teach workshops on Scrivener, and many writers are unfamiliar with this powerful program. If it is possible, can you tell us why this is a “must use” program for writers? How will it help them be better writers?

PATRICK HESTER: The first thing I always tell people is this: Scrivener is not Word. Word is a word processing software that has been enhanced by its developers to offer bells and whistles specifically for people working in offices. Need to send a fax? You can do that from Word. Want a simple brochure? Word has one. So on and etc.
Scrivener is project management for writers that includes, as part of a powerful suite of tools, a word processor.

If you want to write out of order as ideas come to you for chapter 36, Scrivener makes it easy to do that. Word, you basically need separate docs for each chapter to do that. Want to outline your novel and have that outline visible as you work on each chapter? In Word, you have to have multiple docs open, totally doable. In Scrivener, you split your screen and have your outline on the right, manuscript on the left. You can also have all your research, character descriptions, notes, etc.

Scrivener is designed to make it easier for you to draft your manuscript quickly and in the way that makes the most sense to you and how you write.

KATHIE SCRIMGEOUR:  How can people find out about your upcoming classes?

PATRICK HESTER: Usually my website, but I can clue your readers in right now to my next class – it’ll be at the 2017 Pikes Peak Writers Conference as part of the Thursday Prequel on April 27th. You can actually take only the Thursday Prequel if you like, and pair my half-day afternoon workshop with one of our awesome morning classes. For information about cost, visit

KATHIE SCRIMGEOUR: What are you are working on right now? Tell us a little about it.

PATRICK HESTER: I’ve had a space opera percolating for a couple years now – I’ve described it as the hunt for Red October in space. I’ve written, rewritten and shredded it a few times. The most recent draft takes it down from five point of view characters to two. This has allowed me to focus much more on those two characters and the world I’m building, which takes place just a couple hundred years in the future. Humans have discovered space travel and have taken the first steps out into the galaxy only to find they’re still alone. They’ve colonized worlds and gotten into a routine of exploration and exploitation of resources. The same petty political issues we see now still exist, just on a broader scale between not only countries, but country-sized corporations and independent colony planets. When a new technology is discovered and deployed by one country, it threatens to incite a war like we have never seen before – a space based war. Everything is riding on a naval intelligence officer, and a gateship captain, neither of whom are aware of just how much is riding on them or what will happen if they fail.

Patrick Hester is an author, blogger and two-time Hugo Award Winner. He lives in Colorado, writes science fiction and fantasy, and can usually be found hanging out on his Twitter feed - @atfmb. His novel, SAMANTHA KANE: INTO THE FIRE is available at all major retailers. His short fiction can be found in the anthologies Space Battles: Full-Throttle Space Tales #6 and An Uncommon Collection, as well as the eBooks Conversations with my Cat, Witchcraft & Satyrs, Consumption, Cahill's Homecoming and Cahill's Unfinished Business. His Functional Nerds and SF Signal weekly podcasts have both been nominated for Parsec awards, and the SF Signal podcast was nominated for a 2012, 2013, and 2014 Hugo Award. His Scrivener Quick Tips articles exploded on social media and the web in 2012, and he’s been teaching writers how to use the software ever since.