Patrick Ryder

Writer of dark fiction

Author Biography - Longer Version

Past

I have enjoyed writing ever since I could write. My favourite lessons at primary school were the ones in which the teacher gave us a title and simply asked us to write a story. While doing my A' Levels, this jumped to a new level when I began to wonder if I could write anything as long as a novel. I bought a 200-page lined pad from WHSmith, sat down at the dining room table when I got home, and simply wrote at the top of the first sheet 'Chapter 1, Page 1' . I did finish the novel, but it was not of a professional standard. I keep it today as a reminder of how much I have learnt since. It goes without saying that it was rejected when I tried to sell it, but it didn’t matter. Writing had me hooked.

For some years, I did temporary jobs to keep my head above water while I tried to make it as a writer. I had several short stories published in small-press magazines, such as The Edge and Xenos Magazine, and these received excellent reviews. One short story, 'The Kids from Snape' (which is one of the stories in my first short-story collection, Spiders in Your Mind: Collection 1), was shortlisted for inclusion in an anthology of best new horror of the year. I gave myself a rigid time limit to 'make it', and when this ran out and commercial success still eluded me, I stopped writing, trained as a Software Engineer at the University of York and got myself a 'normal profession' – much to the relief of my parents.

After university, I joined Revolution Software, who are best known for their story-based adventure games, including such classics as 'Lure of the Temptress', 'Beneath a Steel Sky' and, of course, the 'Broken Sword' series. It was an exciting and highly creative environment. It was a small company and so, although I was employed as a programmer, I got to mix with the writers in and out of the pub. One of the writers, my friend Jonathan Howard, has recently published the Johannes Cabal trilogy.

Present

I am now juggling my writing alongside freelance software development, focussing on projects that hopefully in time will complement each other (more soon).

I see now that all those years spent doing diverse temporary jobs was not the waste of time I believed it to be at the time. The situations I found myself in and characters I met while doing those jobs gave me a deep pot of experience on which I can draw for my writing. You name the obscure job and chances are I have done it. I now regard this as one of my most valuable writing credentials.

Though most people who know me would regard me as a Yorkshireman through-and-through, I was actually born in Norwich, because my father was then in the RAF and serving at nearby RAF Coltishall. I left Norfolk for Yorkshire before I could speak though, so my accent is one-hundred-percent northern, for better or worse.

I am currently lucky enough to be living in the Howardian Hills, just outside the beautiful city of York. Though I have lived in this area for more than twenty years now, I still (usually) manage to pause whenever I am in town to appreciate York's amazing old buildings and, of course, York Minster itself. Now that I have moved just out of York, I feel I have the best of both worlds - the stunning scenery and nature of the Howardian Hills and York just down the road. If you have never visited York, I highly recommend it (and, no, unfortunately I am not being paid by the local Tourist Board to say this). York is a natural home for a horror writer. It has so much history, much of it gruesome, and many of the buildings are apparently haunted - which is easy to imagine when you go in them. On top of that, Whitby is nearby, and we all know what once slipped ashore there...

~ Patrick Ryder

 

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