Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Ernesto Patino author of In the Shadow of a Stranger, Web of Secrets, The Last of the Good Guys and most recently, One Last Dance.
Ernesto grew up in El Paso, Texas and lives in Southern Arizona where he divides his time between writing and working as a private investigator.
Norm: Good day Ernesto and thanks for participating in our interview.
How did you get started in writing and what keeps you going?
Ernesto: My interest in writing began when I took a post graduate course in children’s literature. It inspired me to write a children’s book, A Boy Named Paco.
I wrote my first novel, In the Shadow of a Stranger, shortly after my retirement from the FBI where I worked for 23 years as a Special Agent. Writing is my passion and that alone is what keeps me going.
Norm: I notice you are a part-time private investigator. What kind of cases do you take on and does this in any way influence your writing?
Ernesto: I’m very selective about the cases that I take on. My clients tend to be large corporations or individuals seeking to supplement the work of the police on difficult cases. Many of the characters in my novels are loosely based on people I met during the course of my life as an FBI agent and later as a private investigator.
Norm: Could you summarize your writing process. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two?
Ernesto: I would have to say that I write more from intuition. I enjoy being able to develop a plot, chapter by chapter without knowing what happens next. I put myself in the reader’s perspective so that I can enjoy the story as it unfolds.
Norm: What motivated you to write One Last Dance and did you know anyone who had undergone a heart transplant?
Ernesto: Being a Ballroom dancer, I’ve always wanted to write a book set in the world of Ballroom dancing. The characters in the novel are composites of dancers that I’ve met over the years, including my principal teacher. She was delighted that I used her name throughout the book.
I’ve never known anyone with a transplanted heart. But the subject intrigued me and so I made it a part of my story.
Norm: How much research did you do before writing the book?
Ernesto: I did a lot of research on heart plant recipients. To my surprise, I learned that a few took on traits of the donors. There’s no scientific basis for this. Much of what I found consisted of anecdotal experiences.
Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
Ernesto: Sustaining the plot’s premise was the most difficult part. I wanted readers to believe that a heart plant recipient (Julia) is capable of falling in love with a perfect stranger (Marco)—a man determined to connect with the spirit of his beloved Susan whose heart now beats inside Julia.
Norm: Did you write the story to express something you believe or was it just for entertainment?
Ernesto: I wrote the novel strictly for entertainment. It is a love story that allowed me to use the world of Ballroom dancing as a backdrop. Many of the scenes take place in the dance studio where I first learned to dance almost 12 years ago.
Norm: Did you know the end of your book at the beginning?
Ernesto: I did not know the end of the story when I started the book. I was midway through the story when the ending came to me—not completely, but enough for me to
think about the way I should write it.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your books?
Ernesto: The best place is my website: www.ernestopatino.com
Norm: What is next for Ernesto Patino?
Ernesto: I’m in the process of doing the final editing for a mystery novel tentatively titled Enough to Make the Angels Weep. The plot centers around the discovery of a lost diary of an Irish soldier who fought in the Mexican-American War.
The novel brings to light the little known story of the St. Patrick’s Battalion composed mostly of American soldiers of Irish descent who identified with the enemy: Catholics, like themselves. They deserted and joined the Mexicans, knowing full well that if Mexico lost the war, they would be hanged as traitors.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
Ernesto: I would ask: Are your novels plot or character-driven? My stories are plot-driven. I write mysteries which require the use of intricate plots, and a fair of amount of twists and turns to carry the story to its logical conclusion. I want my novels to be “page turners” and therefore I avoid long descriptions of people, places and things.
Norm: Thanks again and good luck with all of your future endeavors