Exclusive Interview With Author "Patrick Greenwood"
After his military service, Patrick Greenwood embarked on a 25-year career in the information technology field working in various roles. Many of his inspirations for writing came via his business travels to places such as Vietnam, China, Japan, Taiwan and Portugal. A true believer in listening to one’s passion, Patrick began writing in early 2020 based on several trips he made while cycling in various countries. In his debut novel, Sunrise in Saigon, Patrick draws upon several events that happened in Vietnam, including the war with the US, the last days of Saigon falling and the chaos at the US embassy. Having remembered these events as a young man, Patrick grew up wanting someday to travel to Vietnam and visit these places for himself.
In 2012, Patrick finally make the first trip to Vietnam to find the lost US embassy and the Catholic nuns that helped with “Operation Babylift” (the name given to the mass evacuation of children from South Vietnam to the United States and other western countries at the end of the Vietnam War). Patrick followed his passion for cycling by completing several bike tours in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong delta regions.
Patrick is a holder of a B.S and MBA in Global Marketing, along with completing several post-graduate certificate programs in information security, Internet of things and global management from MIT. Patrick is married and resides in Carlsbad, California.
Tell us about your new book, Sunrise in Saigon.
Sunrise in Saigon is a story about a man, Jack Kendall, who realizes his life needs a change for the better. His health and marriage is deteriorating with every breath; this makes Jack remember a childhood memory of the fall of Saigon in 1975 and his desire to see Vietnam. Even with so many life challenges, Jack sets off to Vietnam to meet up with a young lady he met online.
Jack also has a passion for cycling, and at this point it becomes more than just a hobby. He finds himself becoming a stronger, healthier and happier person with every push of the pedals around the various parts of this new country. Only after experiencing Vietnam, and his brief, but intense, relationship with Linh Ngo, does Jack finally begin to see a better road ahead.
Take us through your journey in writing this book.
Many parts of the novel were inspired by actual events. I do remember the fall of Saigon very well. As an adult, I took up cycling to become healthier. I also have made several trips to Vietnam to cycle and discover the whereabouts of Catholic nuns.
I began writing the novel in 2019 during COVID-19. The events that inspired the story happened between 2012-2014.
You're turning the book into a series; tell us about that.
Yes, this first novel will introduce the world to Jack Kendall, a corporate troubleshooter, Forest Adams, a CIA officer in Vietnam, and Jack’s children, William and Regina. Towards the end of the first book, one of my future “bad guys,” Travis Jones, begins to surface, and he plays a more pivotal and sinister role in the next novel, Codename: Dragonvault.
Jack is drawn into an international event filled with intrigue and suspense in the next novel. While on vacation in Europe, Jack is unaware that Travis Jones, along with PLA cyber forces in China and the hacker team in Vietnam, is about to pull off the hack of the century against Taiwan.
The books will follow the adventures of Jack Kendall, tell us about him.
Jack is a classic, over 50, overworked, unappreciated man in feeble health from way too much business travel. With challenges in his marriage to Silvia, Jack still focuses on being a great parent to his wonderful children while continuing to survive the grind in the technology business. Jack’s choice to have a distant relationship with Linh Ngo only draws him into a more profound depression. Only through help from his friend Forest Adams and a priest in Vietnam does Jack understand the path to correctness.
Why did you decide to base your books in Asia?
I love traveling to Asia for both cycling and business. I have worked in Vietnam, China, Japan and Taiwan. In my fifth novel, Bridges over Budapest, along with novel number six, Sunset in Paris, I plan to base those on my travels in those countries. Spoiler - Jack barely makes it to Paris :)
What do you want your readers to take away from Sunrise in Saigon?
What you have in your heart is the voice you should always follow. Knowing that you want more in life comes with consequences and rewards. None of those are equal. In every life, we all make decisions that we think will lead to something better; only until we see the adventure play out to the very end will we know if it was the right decision to pursue.
Tell us about your cycling, and how it has inspired your writing.
There are a few things that have inspired me. Cycling is therapy. Espresso drinking is therapy. A while back I discovered a water company in Vietnam that I later invested in to help create cheaper water to help people become healthier.
Tell us about your excellent work with "Safe Roads for Life" in Vietnam.
This connects back to the first time I visited this beautiful country. While cycling around Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), I was up against 8 million scooters and cars too big for the road. Yet, these incredible children, even in danger, cycled without helmets just to go to school or the market. How could one not want to help after seeing these children trying to ride in a culture that doesn’t always see them?
Proceeds of my novel Sunrise in Saigon, my coffee and mug sales from www.cyclewriter3espresso.com, will go to help support helmets for kids in Vietnam.
What are you working on now, and what can we expect from you next?
Hopefully, Sunrise in Saigon will be released in 2022. In 2023, I plan to release both Codename: Dragonvault and Shores of Okinawa, and in 2024, I hope to release Green Kyoto and Bridges Over Budapest. Hopefully, in 2025, I hope to release Sunset in Paris and Coffee in Tehran.