Professionally, Patrick Hemstreet boasts experience as a neuroengineer, entrepreneur, patent-pending inventor, and Navy medic. Artistically, he has credits in acting, stand-up comedy, and, most importantly, writing. That long list of achievements feels impressive, but Hemstreet managed to distill his varied expertise into 2016’s surprise sci-fi bestseller, The God Wave. Originally self-published, Hemstreet’s novel explores advancements in human brain power—and the military-industrial complex’s nefarious attempt to harness it. Technical insight and deft plotting propelled The God Wave to excellent reviews (especially at Kirkus) and soon added a deal with HarperCollins, a film option, and upcoming sequel, The God Peak,to his impressive CV.
You have a wide-ranging resume. What eventually led you to writing?
I’ve always written. In fact, it’s something that I regard as the most effective form of expression. The reader can spend as much or as little time with your work as they desire, pondering the elements of your story over and over. While this may be possible with other mediums, the ease at which the written word facilitates this makes, in my mind, writing the most lasting and penetrative means of communication.
And what led to The God Wave in particular?
In my professional life I measure the electrical qualities of nerve impulses and brain activity. In my personal life, I am an ardent student of mysticism, esoterica, and mythology. The idea for The God Wave came as a melding of my professional knowledge and my “other” knowledge. I’d often wondered how mind over matter might look on an EEG (an electrical measurement of brain activity). What came of that was the literal God Wave as described in the book.
Had you always planned on publishing The God Wave independently?
I’d planned to publish it any way I could. I began querying agents immediately. My thought was that I would give those queries time to bear fruit before embarking on an independent publishing route. Let’s just say I met my timeline.
Did response to the The God Wave take you by surprise?
Not until my first review, from Kirkus I might add, did I ever dare to presume that this was something that might have wide appeal. I was just floored when I received a starred review. To be honest, I was not expecting that. Soon after the review was published I had a great agent and major publisher behind me. The favorable review from Kirkus opened up so many doors. The attention it drew and the credibility it lent to The God Wave were not only invaluable, but integral to its success.
What have been some of the advantages since signing with a traditional publisher?
By far it’s the networking and interacting with other authors. The exchange of ideas with top-notch writers is something I never thought I’d have access to. The sharing of ideas and the feedback from other authors has a transformative effect on your work. Going forward you can incorporate meaningful critique and praise into your creative process.
You’ve mentioned the possibility of The God Wave being optioned for a film; can you tell us more about process?
The God Wave has been optioned by Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell of Stone Village Productions. They will be responsible for the visual interpretation of it should it make it to the big or small screen. Any anxiety I may have had was quickly laid to rest after my first talk with Scott and Dylan. I am very fortunate that my story is in the hands of someone who understands my motivation and vision utterly.
What can tell you us about the The God Peak?What can fans look forward to?
More action, more mysticism, and more psychokinetic power. I want the reader to ponder, as I do: does human thought evolve, and, if so, how far will that process take us as a species?
Rhett Morgan is a writer and translator based in Paris.