Jacob Paul Patchen is a multi-award-winning author and poet of various genres and age groups. He writes children's, teen, young adult, and adult fiction. His books often reflect on real-life experiences, examine what makes us who we are, and instill goodness. For Jacob, every book has a purpose. Patchen earns his inspiration through experience, where he writes about the things that built him: Love, Family, War, and Learning things the hard way. A former Marine and combat veteran, Jacob graduated from Muskingum University, where he studied Creative Writing. Jacob is a member of IPBA, MWSA, and has books published by TouchPoint Press, Black Rose Writing, and Adelaide Books. Currently, he continues to sharpen his craft while working at Muskingum University. Jacob’s most recent books include: Sheltered: When a Boy Becomes a Legend (TouchPoint Press, 2021), Words That Matter: Family Book 1 of 10 (TouchPoint Press, 2021), At Daddy’s Hands: Courage Knows No Age (3x award-winner, Black Rose Writing, 2019), Of Love and War (Adelaide Books, 2018). As our Author of the Day, Jacob tells us all about his book, Sheltered.
Please give us a short introduction to what Sheltered is about.
Sheltered is about a boy trying to survive a war in America while also fighting to hold onto what makes us all human: Compassion, Morality, and Freedom. A natural leader and conditioned by his Marine father, James leads a group of teens to fight back against the insurgents while also fighting against the ugliness of humanity and war.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
As a kid growing up in rural Ohio, I often played “army” in the woods with my brothers, cousins, and friends. It was always a childhood fantasy of mine to fight off an attacking enemy and protect my family, freedom, and homeland. I dug into that fantasy as I tried to write a book that a kid like me would have wanted to read as a teen. But it was important to me to try to promote ideas like compassion, humanity and doing what is right even when everything else is so wrong.
Tell us more about James. What makes him tick?
James, as I imagined, would be my child in the future. I wrote him incorporating some of my own traits (a strong sense of humor, compassion, and integrity), assuming that my future child might carry on some of those characteristics. I think for James, he just wants to make his father proud, do what’s right, and fight for freedom.
Where did the idea for The Risers come from?
The Risers is exactly that – an Idea. It’s a symbol for not giving up, for getting back up even after your nose is bloodied and knees are scuffed. The Risers is that fight within us that comes out when we have finally had enough. And what better way to represent that than a group of tattered kids who just want their families, lives and country back?
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Maybe one of the better skills I’ve held onto for this long is pretending that I’m still an athlete. Working out, running, playing sports, being outside, and enjoying staying active. Also, I’ve taken to crafting lately (which is really weird to say when I think about it). But I created a shotgun shell survival kit keychain that seems to be a big local hit. I guess, sometimes, the creative side can come out of you in mysterious ways.
Why did you pick a 12-year-old protagonist? What drew you to a younger audience?
A little secret about myself… I HATED reading as kid. So, when I wrote Sheltered, I intended to write a book for the 12-year-old me – one that would bring those wild and rambunctious outdoorsy types to the table. It’s also a great pleasure of mine to hopefully influence children in a positive way. I’m hoping this pre-teen and teenage group can latch onto some of those virtuous themes presented in this book.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this story?
I always tell people that I let my characters write my stories. I don’t know if that’s actually 100% true, but part of the fun for me is seeing where the story goes. When I write, I really only have a vague understanding of what I want to happen in the book. And I genuinely enjoy being surprised by what happens next. The fun is discovering the story as it unfolds.
In which way is Sheltered a coming of age story?
Again, I refer back to my own experiences around 12 years old. I remember finally stepping into the light and actually “trying” to be a good kid. I remember starting to write poetry and think about life in such a deep and inquisitive way. It was important for me to show this sort of evolution in James’ character as he bloomed from this sort of shy and shadowed kid into this bright light of hope who guided so many to salvation and victory.
Does this book have an underlying message? What do you hope readers will take away from this?
Hopefully readers will see the virtuous themes I intertwined throughout the action and tension of the story. I want readers to finish the book and think, “Wow. I want to be more like James. I want to fight for what’s right, protect the innocent, and tell a few jokes along the way.”
What are you working on right now?
I finished an adult fiction novel about PTSD and how it affects the family. For now, I’m submitting to agents and hoping to find success with that. I’m also ready to start a new novel, probably an adult romantic comedy about love vs. the “hook-up” culture.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
All of my books are available through Amazon and other major book retailers. My website is Jacobpaulpatchen.com, which has some sample writing and information on how to reach out to me. I’m most active on Facebook (author.jacobpaulpatchen) and Instagram (@jacobpaulpatchen). I always welcome fan interaction, feedback, and questions. It’s a true pleasure to hear from fans.
FEATURED AUTHOR - Jacob Paul Patchen is a multi-award-winning author and poet of various genres and age groups. He writes children's, teen, young adult, and adult fiction. His books often reflect on real-life experiences, examine what makes us who we are, and instill goodness. For Jacob, every book has a purpose. Patchen earns his inspiration through experience, where he writes about the things that built him: Love, Family, War, and Learning things the hard way. A former Marine and combat veteran, Jacob… Read more