In-depth Interview with self-published author, Patrick Bentley
Are you writing a book? A collection of poems? A few short stories? Or maybe even a full novel? Have you a dream of publishing it and seeing it in your hand as a finished product? Yet you don’t really know where to start? Editors . . . proofreaders . . . cover design . . . layout of book . . . printing costs . . . Where do you even start to look for help? Most people give up, as it looks too big a mountain to climb. And with so little chance of a main publisher showing an interest in taking on your work, it may well feel your dream has ended before it ever had a chance to start.
One of Ireland’s leading self-published authors and local man Patrick Bentley is now offering all the free advice and contacts to help you on your way to seeing your book in a published format. He’s just a phone call away with all the experience and resources to help you complete the task.
“For many years now I’ve been helping writers I’ve met at the doors get started and it’s been something I really enjoy doing. It’s been my goal to open this up on a wider scale. I’m very aware that there are a lot of talented writers in and around the Fingal area and beyond who write stuff and would love to publish their work, but they lack that extra bit of confidence to link up with the right people to bring what they’ve written to completion. My aim is to meet writers on a one-to-one basis over a coffee, see what they’ve written, and see what needs doing and what steps they need to take to get the work into a final ready-to-go-to-print format.”
Patrick’s offering his time and advice completely free to anyone who wishes to take their work a step closer to publication.
“A guy rang me asking for advice some years ago. By the end of the phone call I had saved him a fortune on his costs. He had a string of people ready to do the work, and it was very expensive. If you’re not experienced and it’s your first book you can end up paying mad money. In the end I transferred the writer to people I knew and he was more than happy with the end result. I think he got the job done for 50% less. And all it took was a phone call.
You can contact Patrick at 086 336 3992. Or email him at email@example.com
Patrick himself is launching his 4th book GREENRIDGE later in the year. A comedy drama based mainly in and around Balbriggan and Skerries and the Naul.
Patrick, who late last year overcame and beat a year-long battle with depression, was dealt a huge personal blow that’s held up publishing his latest book. His beloved brother Alex died suddenly at his home in Pinewood Green Road ast October. Patrick describes the loss as crushing.
“Beating and overcoming extreme mental fatigue was extremely hard,” he says. “I rested myself from everything had just begun to feel back to myself when I lost my brother. I don’t talk about it to people nowadays but inside I’m completely devastated. Losing Alex is beyond human words. We’d shared so many years hanging out as mates. I always had him there if things were getting to me – and he was so gentle and supportive. We hung out throughout our childhood and were way more than just brothers.
“There are days when I sit alone and think about him for hours. Some may say that is not a good thing to be doing, but the depth of my grief is what it is. I cannot tell you how much I miss him. It’s like nothing I’ve ever had to face. I see this as my own personal walk. I wouldn’t talk about it to anyone, as no one can help me with it, can they? It feels like a huge part of me is gone with him and I’m looking for him to come around the next corner and give me a hug and everything will be ok again. But that’s never going to happen.
“Anyone that knows our history knows we shared a lifelong bond. We leaned on each other as kids through very difficult childhood problems. I saw and understood the depth of his own inner struggles and suffering when he was locked up in state-run schools. No one bar me knows what really happened to him, and for sure as a result of that abuse he turned to drink as a comfort. His saying was, we drink because were lonely. He was a survivor in many ways but his childhood issues played a huge part in his untimely death at 56.
“I’ll remember him as a hard worker as we spent years working at the same jobs. He was loved by so many people and I feel for them as well. He was the life and soul of so many people in Fingal, and I know they feel the loss hugely. It’s strange isn’t it. I always knew I loved him to bits but it was only when he passed I appreciated just how deep that love was, and it will remain in my heart till I see him again. You don’t know what’s awaiting you in life, do you?
“C S Lewis said life is so dangerous. And it’s true. We feel safe for a short time, then someone we love is taken and suddenly life is never the same and we feel awoken to the reality that life is so, so short and unpredictable.
“How many people have passed in Balbriggan and Skerries alone in the past year? A lot, so many people are grieving this same loss and I do feel for them. Only in January my wife Sharon buried her father Michael and we were back in the same world of raw grief. But life will go on.
“I remember my last conversation with Alex. He seemed different, and for the first time in his life he admitted he had reconsidered and that he now believed in God. As I was letting him out the door I forgot to give him a hug. I was going to call him back but thought, Ah, I’ll see him again.
“I never did.
“Four days later he was dead. I believe God in his mercy touched his life in that week before he died. I had been praying for him for so many years. I take huge comfort from that and just have a real hope I will get to give him that hug one day. I so look forward to that.
“Thankfully in light of my loss I’ve never been in a much better place mentally and emotionally. In fact I’ve never felt this strong. I went to talk to someone in Skerries after Alex. They asked me would I be interested in a full weekend of group therapy. I wasn’t sure was I strong enough for this, but agreed.
“Goodness! I walked out totally different. One thing that came out was that for close on two years I had been punishing myself over every mistake I had made in my past life. That came as a result of a small fraction of people still throwing it in my face. They feel and believe certain folk can never change and the past must never be forgotton. I felt guilt ridden and totally ashamed of my former life. It’s a good thing to feel remorse, and take responsibility but for whatever reason I had got tangled up in it all over again and that was at the root of my depression. But in memory of my brother that will never happen again. I owe so much to those people, I really do, for their help and council. They’re the best in the world at what they do. Did you know There’s a very powerful verse in the bible that states if you have a relationship with Jesus you’re a new creation, the old is gone the new has come. I seriously think it’s time I took hold of the new and if anyone has a destructive interest in my past, well good look with that but you won’t find me back there. I’ve moved on.
Haven’t reasted and recharged are you going to go back helping young people.
Of course I am. You no we must never condemn any person or persons for taken drugs and drink. We have no right to. The nicest and most friendly people on the planet are people who take a line or a tablet at the weekends. We must never lose sight of that. I care enough about them to become the thorn in there side, I reminder that there is a clean and healthy way to live your life’s without all that. I’m certainly not as intense as I was when I brought Darkline out in 2012 but I am as concerned for all of them.
“If I was to highlight one area that was alarming it would be the amount of young families I tried to talk with who seemed uninterested in this drug problem. You tell them about the risks and availability of drugs and there almost hostile with you. One mother from a town outside Fingal told me, ‘Ah, this is a nice respectable area, we don’t need to hear any of this!’ Hours later it was on the news that a teenager was stabbed to death yards from that woman’s very house.
“Thankfully I’m a bit wiser today and I’m slowly getting back to helping families with kids who are open and who need support and advice, maybe counseling, regarding drug issues. In extreme cases I have become a go-between with TIGLIN – Life Beyond Addiction. They’re a very successful rehab program based in Kildare, and I just refer people to them now rather than taking too much on myself.
“I know last year in a interview Fingal Paper that I was finished with all this but it’s in me, a God-given passion that I feel will always be with me. When I got sick I’d imagine it was a bit like falling off a bike at the TT, or Ulster GP races. And you’re lying there badly injured saying, That’s it, it’s over, I’m never doing this again. But the minute you start to feel ok again and recover, all you want is to get back on the bike again.”
Patrick ended by firing a huge warning at young parents to be watching their kids, who they hang out with, what they’re like when returning home from parties. If they seem unable to sleep yet say they were only drinking the certainty is they have taken a class A drug with the drink.
“There’s still a huge taboo about all this isn’t there. Ireland hasn’t begun to wake up to this problem. One kid we talked with, 16 years of age from a well-to-do family laughed and said, ‘Hey, what’s the problem? We’re all doing it! It’s like drinking a cup of coffee!’
“With the true figures of young people doing drugs standing at the 75% mark and getting higher, it’s time Ireland woke up and the local election folk stood out a little further on this issue. . That’s all I can say.”
Regarding the new book he smiled for the first time. ‘Ah, this time I’m writing to entertain people, no pressure on me whatsoever. It’s a story set in Fingal. Drama – and some laughs. it’s in memory of Alex. I hope to a hold tribute night for him. There was supposed to a night for him but it never happened so I’d love to do that. Hopefully get a band to play. Another plan is to write a book about my life with Alex at some stage. Maybe entwine parts of [his first book] The Jagged Halo into it . . . I’m already thinking of a possible title: The Unidentified shock . . .”
Ending, Patrick thanked those who support him. Jesus my wife Sharon. To all friends who attended Alex’s service. Local kind hearted Skerries businessman and Balbriggan Pigeon Club for their financial support with costs. “Rory O’Byrne from Fingal Arts has given me some financial support which I’m very thankful for. I need all the support I can get to keep going as a writer. I don’t have huge publishers behind me. I do everything and pay for everything myself. Taking books from door to doors with on-going back and neck injuries has been hard going. But it’s the only source to keep the ball rolling. So thank you to all who buy a book. I can’t thank you enough!”