Thursday, February 26, 2015

Interview with Kevin D. Patterson, author of Small, Dark, and Handsome

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Small Dark and Handsome Title: Small, Dark, and Handsome
Author: Kevin D. Patterson
Publisher: Dark Peak Publishing
Pages: 270
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Ethan Anderson desperately wants to find his soulmate and he’s convinced that his height of 5'6" is limiting his options. Not wanting to end up like his friends with shallow lives filled with clubs and one-night stands, Ethan turns to a popular dating website where he connects with Anna Collins, a born-again Christian who just may be the woman he’s been looking for. But, when she’s ready for a committed relationship, will Ethan be able to ignore his friends, abide by Anna’s celibate lifestyle, and look beyond her five-inch height advantage to see a future with her before she gives up and moves on?

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What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
Marrying the most wonderful woman in the world, adopting a beautiful baby boy, and writing Small, Dark, and Handsome, my first novel.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I was raised as a Christian and my faith inspires everything I do, including my writing. I was also raised in a household with two women (my mother and my sister) which helped me to develop an appreciation of their perspective on many issues, and as I was writing the story, I was very sensitive to how women, in general, might interpret the words and actions of the main male character.
When and why did you begin writing?
I've written a wide range of marketing materials throughout my career, primarily for software companies based in the Silicon Valley. Some of the more technical stuff wasn't too exciting, but in order to keep eating, I had to keep writing. 
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
The first time I really thought about writing as a career was after reading a few interesting articles about various athletes in an issue of Sports Illustrated many years ago. Back then, I couldn't think of an easier job than traveling the world to major sporting events, watching them from fantastic seats, and getting press access to speak with superstar athletes before typing a few words about what you had just heard and witnessed. Just for fun, I remember trying to write an article for myself about a Super Bowl one year. I actually enjoyed the writing process, but the results were terrible, and after a few dry, dull, sentences, I realized that my career in sports journalism was probably over before it started. 
When did you first know you could be a writer? 
Back in the day, I used to have a fairly "healthy" social life, and found myself on quite a few email lists for various parties and clubs. Occasionally, some friends would ask me my opinion about some of the events that I attended, which led me to develop a weekly email called "Party Time." Each week, I'd give my comedic review of the previous weekend's events, along with a preview of upcoming events.  Within a few months, my distribution list grew from a few people I knew, to a few thousand people I didn't know, and that's when I knew I could write.
What inspires you to write and why?
The fact that I know so many wonderful single people out there who are looking to share their lives with someone special, inspires me to write stories about couples who have some issues and challenges, but eventually make it to where many of these singles want to be: in a loving relationship.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Romantic comedy for sure. I couldn't picture myself writing stories in any other genre.
What inspired you to write your first book?
A few years ago, my wife and I had a chance to live and work in Hyderabad, India for two years, which was a life-changing experience. When we returned, I wasn't certain what I was going to do next, but I knew that I wanted to work on a unique and fulfilling project that would bring me a great sense of pride and passion each day. When my wife suggested that I focus on my first novel instead of rushing back into Corporate America, I gave her a big fat kiss, went straight for my laptop, and didn't stop typing until I had banged out my first draft of Small, Dark, and Handsome.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
I've been a big fan of Mike Gayle for years. For me, he's hands-down the king of Romcom, and even though our styles are different, he's definitely had a big influence on my work.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

My biggest challenge of all was the editing process. I did work with a professional editor who was excellent, but I had no idea that the process would take so long. Coming into the editing phase, I expected it to be finished within a few weeks, but six months later, we were still going at it. When we finally finished, I was definitely pleased with the final product. I had also developed a new-found appreciation for authors, especially those who are able to crank out high quality stories on a regular basis.    
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
I've spent over fifteen years in marketing, so coming into this project, I couldn't wait to start the marketing phase. Seven months into it however, the phrase "Be careful what you wish for" is still ringing in my head.  Marketing this book has truly been the most challenging project I have ever taken on, but it has also been the most fulfilling, and I look forward to continuing the process of connecting with audiences for it and for all my future book projects.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
I do plan to continue writing, but I may do it in my spare time while working full-time in a marketing role that excites, challenges, and inspires me.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
Not really, but in my first novel, the main character relies heavily on sarcasm throughout the story.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
Developing atypical characters and blending them into everyday scenarios that real people can relate to.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I'm very open to getting criticism and ideas from others.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
(Outside of the office) Sometimes I'm a little too candid and give up TMI (too much information) when answering a question.  
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
"Everyone has a plan, 'till they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

I doubt that Iron Mike was thinking about anything besides boxing when he said this, but I think it applies to many situations in life, including business, relationships, and even one's faith. I've found that when adversity hits and they're forced to throw their plans out the window, the most successful people are able to continually get back on their feet and do what it takes to ultimately be victorious in the end. When people talk about me after I'm gone, I hope they'll be able to say that I was always one of those people.

Kevin PattersonKevin D. Patterson is an experienced marketing writer and has developed communications for many of today's leading brands, including HP, American Express, Oracle, and Deloitte. After much encouragement from friends and family, he decided to pursue his passion for creative writing, and the end result was his debut fiction novel, Small, Dark, and Handsome. Kevin was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and has also lived in Michigan, New York, and overseas in India. He currently lives in Plano, Texas with his wife and son. A graduate of the University of Michigan’s MBA program, Kevin is an avid sports fan and tennis player. You can keep up with Kevin and his upcoming projects at

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