I first discovered A. S. (Alec) Patrić in 2012 when one of my favourite publishers, Transit Lounge sent me a copy of his short story collection
Las Vegas for Vegans and I went along to the launch at Readings in St Kilda We had a lovely evening and I left hoping that there would one day be a novel from this exciting writer, because novels are my favourite form of reading. Las Vegas for Vegans went on to be shortlisted for the Australian Short Story Collection – Steele Rudd Award in the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards, and Alec went on to publish Bruno Kramzer in the FL Smalls Series commissioned by another of my favourite publishers Finlay Lloyd and also The Rattler, an eBook published by Spineless Wonders.
But as you know if you saw my review, 2015 sees the publication of the long-awaited novel and it is a beauty. Black Rock White City is a stunning debut and it is well worth the wait:)
Since the name A.S. Patrić looks destined to become well-known to those of us who love Australian literary fiction, I invited Alec to introduce himself to readers of this blog through Meet an Aussie Author, and here he is:
- I was born at the confluence of the Danube and the Sava, in Zemun. Details that now sound to me like something from a lullaby since it was so shortly after birth that I was living in Melbourne.
- When I was a child I wrote poetry. A few short stories a little later on. I even attempted the novel, a Sci-Fi space epic, but pretty girls turned me back around to poetry.
- The person who encouraged/inspired/mentored me to write was… no one in particular. Many a musician dedicates him/herself to playing an instrument because they heard music and it blew open their soul/heart/mind. For me it was (and is) literature.
I write in my study, at my desk. I can scribble a few notes in a café but the only place I can really write is at my desk.
- I write whenever I can. Kids and work means I don’t get to choose my writing time. And yet I write every day. In between daily bursts of writing I’m always preparing to write.
- Research is crucial if you’re going to write beyond your immediate experience, but the essentials are already present before work starts on a story or novel.
- I keep my published works on my bookshelves with authors like Proulx, Poe, Paley, Perlman, Petterson, Pavić, Pynchon, Proust, Packer, Pushkin… the first letter of our surnames being the only thing in common.
- On the day my first book was published I was wondering what it would feel like to finally have a book published. Turns out, not much difference (after an initial thrill).
- At the moment, I’m writing another novel. It’s called Atlantic Black and is set on the Aquitania, an ocean liner sailing to Europe—over the course of one day and one night, new year’s eve 1938.
- When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I remind myself that I’m always stuck for an idea/word/phrase and being ‘stuck’ is part of the process, and what makes getting un-‘stuck’ and flowing for a few hundred words every day so damn liberating.
Alec lives in bayside Melbourne and is a St Kilda bookseller, and he blogs at A.S. Patrić where you can read even more about his remarkable writing career.