Pitch Madness #7 – Patrick Holloway and “Judgment”

1. Let's hear your pitch.
When a teenage misfit ends a school shooting with his bare hands, it places him in a religious conspiracy to kill God.

2. Who is your target audience? What genre is your book?
Young Adult/ Contemporary Fantasy (I guess you could call it a thriller if you wanted)

3. How did this story come about? Who or what inspired you/this story?
I got this idea over a decade ago. At the time, I was a foreign exchange student in Japan, and just beat a video game where the villain was called “Deus.” I thought it would be cool if someone took out all these metaphors and symbolic references and just said “Here’s God, here’s religion, it’s present day, they are actually evil, go stop it”.
Since I was six, I wanted to make video games, which was why I was in Japan in the first place, since Japanese was a huge plus. I loved the storylines of old video games like Ninja Gaiden (The NES ones), Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger (my personal fav), and I hoped I’d get to craft my own RPG one day. Unfortunately, I went from studying computer science at the University of Idaho, to visual technology (video game art), to finally English with an emphasis on literature and creative writing (play to my strengths was my thinking). I wound up working video game storytelling into my papers (yes, if Shakespeare was alive today, he’d be a game developer or a professional wrestler) and thought I’d start at the ground floor doing storyline concepts and character biographies. That was what I wanted to do all my life.
The dream never happened, mostly because video games evolved and I started to feel distant from an industry I lived and breathed (The fact no one would hire me and give me a chance didn’t help much either). Miffed, I took the storyline ideas and outlines for a massive game and converted it into this novel about 7 years ago. I realized I liked writing a lot since I didn’t deal with anyone and decided this worked better. Then, I just had to learn how to write. Still working on that.

4. Is this your first book?
As far as writing beginning to end? Yes. Querying? No. I actually tried to do a memoir about growing up in the video game industry with Nintendo, Sega, Sony, etc, and what it was like when video games were ‘not cool.’ I don’t think there’s a better person who lived and breathed that stuff to tell it. Since it was non-fiction I thought I could get by with a proposal.
Unfortunately, my platform sucked and so did my writing abilities (I doubt much has changed). After about a year, I gave up after a literary agent I became friends with over the internet asked if I wanted to write anything else. After telling her about Judgment’s 7-book plot she told me “Why the hell haven’t you written that yet?!” While we have lost touch, I finished Judgment. And a now-7 year journey has had me watch time pass me by as I cling to those dreams. I started writing this at 25, and I’m 32 now. Written a lot of other stuff, but keep coming back to this.

5. Why did you enter #PitchMadness?
I actually wasn’t going to. Every contest I say it’s going to be my last just because it seems more stressful than querying and the disappointment after just pisses you off and makes you question your very own existence. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just psychologically, you wonder if after your second or third contest if they see your name/manuscript and groan saying, “oh it’s this guy again.”

6. Do you have any past experiences with this story you would like to share?
Contest-wise, I’ve been in and out of the scene. I never made it into the second rounds of any of Brenda Drake’s contests if that’s what you’re asking.
Beyond that, I entered Judgment into the Pacific Northwest Writers Association literary contest for four years straight. Every year I was rejected but got a little better. By the 4th year, I was a top -8 finalist. The manuscript sample I submitted was highlighted for its plot and characters. When I went to the awards show, a lot of agents introduced themselves and asked I contact them later. However, they all had the same reply after that first email.
So far, that was the high mark of my writing career. I lost to a book about fairies. A very good book about fairies, mind you, but they were fairies none the less. The runner up was some horror novel I didn’t know the plot of.
While I do think I may have gotten in on a fluke, it certainly gave me a sense of accomplishment to how I progressed. It was a great honor to beat out a few hundred other novels in a competitive contest. Especially when you’ve been on your own during the whole battle. I might have not been good enough to win the whole thing, but it was still an honor.

7. What can we expect from your story in the future, do you have any plans?
At the urging of some close friends and people who have read it, I am looking into self-publishing this in eBook format. At this point, fame and sales numbers really don’t concern me. If I can get to one or two people who understand where Trad and everyone else is coming from, I think it was worth all the work. I’m kind of tired of what’s happened in traditional publishing and almost just feel alienated from it. Writing’s fun, everything else isn’t.
That said, I’m dividing my time between twelve short stories in Judgment’s world written as promo material. All of them reference June 18th 2017, the day Trad and Judgment fight in Jerusalem, yet no one really knows what happened. I’m also working on the prequel right now as a “Hobbit” of sorts that sort of preludes the crazy plot.
Outside of Judgment, I am writing a story about Gargoyles; think the movie “Gremlins”, but with mini-gryphons and Gargoyles. Don’t let a gryphon see its reflection…and for the love of God and all that is holy do NOT cover it in complete darkness.

8. Can we hear an excerpt?
Elohim’s mirthless laughter echoed throughout the room. His pinched bangs hung over his eyes like daggers. Chalk-white lips blended in with his pale skin, baring his fangs while his tail swished back and forth like a clock pendulum. Those beady red eyes fixed their stare on Kelita’s face, the mere glance feeling like the beginning of a death sentence.
There was no room to fuck up. Despite the advantages of a crucifixion, Elohim could probably break out any minute if need be. Once those surges of dark, violet electricity surrounded Trad’s body and that black dome concealed him – it was a thin thread of tiptoeing. Trad was a nightmare you could wake up from, Elohim was eternal.
“That’ll make a nice scar, Kelita,” Elohim said. “Too bad I wasn’t the one to give it; I’d have made it deeper, maybe taken an eye along with it.”
The pain had dulled rather quickly, but once Elohim made reference to the scar, the hairs on Kelita’s neck bristled in unison with the radiating agony from his new facial feature.
If Humans were ants on a sidewalk, the kid with the magnifying glass hung on a cross in front of him.
“So…we meet again.” Kelita shook his head and paced in thought for a moment. “Why are you using Trad’s body?”
“His rage, his misery, called me. His despair pleaded with me. However, I think that was ‘their’ intention.”
Kelita tried to keep his pace and posture as fearless, but like meeting a violent dog, he knew he was showing some sort of hesitation. “What are you after?”
“Nothingness. Only that can put me in touch with Zohar and help me create universe of non-existence. Just as it was before the bang.”

9. Have a website or social media platform for your story?
Working on it. Follow me at @patoholloway for now. Most of my tweets are abrasive, abrupt stuff regarding football and video games, but there will be a website coming.

10. These short stories you're doing for promotional material. Tell me about them.
I think a good parallel would be how The Animatrix was intended to expand the Matrix universe. It wasn’t anything required to understand the sequels to the film, but you appreciated a lot of different things having seen them and felt you had a better understanding of why some things happened in the main films.

11. Do you plan to one day animate or see Judgment animated? It sounds written for a fast-paced medium.
I wish I could see it live action, but I’m not sure how I would feel about all the CGI.

 

You can connect with Patrick on Twitter @PatOHolloway