Patneaude’s newest book takes readers to post-apocalyptic world

  • Written by Deborah Stone
David Patneaude. Courtesy photo.
David Patneaude has been writing books for young adult readers for close to 20 years.

The local man, a prolific reader, always knew he wanted to write. But, initially, he didn’t consciously choose to write for kids.

"It just kind of happened," says the local man. "I fell into it because my idea for my first story had kids for characters. And after that, it seemed natural for me to focus on the young adult audience."

That first story turned into a bestselling book – "Someone Was Watching" (Albert Whitman 1993) and set Patneaude on his career path as an author.

His latest endeavor, "Epitaph Road" (Egmont USA 2010), will hit bookstores this month.

"It’s a dystopic young adult story that takes place in Western Washington, set mostly in the year 2097," explains Patneaude. "Thirty years earlier, a mysterious plague hit the world, wiping out 97 percent of the male population. Women are in charge and men live restricted, subservient lives.The main character, a 14- year-old boy named Kellen who is one of the few boys on Earth, gets clues that there will be another outbreak of the devastating plague. He is worried about his dad, who lives away from the family on the Olympic Peninsula, in a rural community with a group of men. These men live apart from the female dominated society. Kellen sets off with two friends to get word of the news to his father."

Patneaude describes his work as a fantasy adventure that he hopes will intrigue readers with its premise, conflict and world of possibilities.

In discussing his inspiration for the story, the local author says that it wasn’t one specific event or happening that led him to explore the idea of a futuristic setting.

Patneaude_cover"I was sick of the way things have gone in our world and tired of the way men are running things," he explains. "I thought about creating a transformed world where society is operated differently and where such problems as crime, poverty, hunger and war no longer exist because women are in control. The idea appealed to me and I wanted to explore it further."

This is the first futuristic novel for Patneaude.

He says the challenge in writing this type of story was in projecting what the world would be like 50 to 60 years from now, as well as in determining the types of events that would have occurred in the interim.

"Creating a world after a plague hit was interesting for me, yet challenging," he adds. "I knew, though, that I wanted to set it in Seattle and Western Washington."

The Woodinville man admits he gets attached to the characters in his books. Initially, he describes them as "lumps of dough," but as he progresses, they take on personalities of their own and they endear themselves to him.

He works from an outline, which he refers to as his "map." He knows what will happen at the end of the story when he starts out, but if his ideas lead him in a different direction mid stream, he feels free to make changes.

"Basically, I stick to the outline unless something better turns up," he says. "Epitaph Road" marks Patneaude’s tenth published work.

The author is not partial to one book or another; rather, he likes them all, but for different reasons.

"Each one is special to me," he adds. "I don’t have a favorite."

Not one to stand on his laurels, Patneaude is already busy exploring ideas for future projects.

"I’m always working on several things at once," he says. "Writing is a process that involves lots of thought and research before you start to do any actual writing."

"Epitaph Road" is due out in bookstores on March 23.

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