Burke Fitzpatrick on IT and Creativity
Burke Fitzpatrick has embraced the total dedication required to be a creative writer and work a full time day job as a web programmer. His nights are filled by furiously writing the next book in his series of “dark fantasy” novels called The Shedim Rebellion – building his world and the characters that inhabit it – and his weekends take up the business side of running Blade Books, the press he founded. He describes his books as a mix of “heroic fantasy and Dante’s Inferno.”
“It’s all creative,” says Fitzpatrick, “you are creating something out of nothing.”
The trick to self-publishing is keeping the reader wanting more, and then actually delivering on that. Some writers are able to support themselves writing full time simply by churning out the content. “E-book publishing is mirroring the old pulp paperback business model,” he says. His fifth book in the series is in the works.
A lifelong reader, Fitzpatrick devours a wide range of subjects, from mythology to history. It helped that his mom was an English teacher and his dad an amateur historian. He grew up drawing and painting too, and earned his AA degree in graphic design in the mid 90s, surfing the wave of the dot com bubble.
Eventually he came to EWU and pursued a degree in Computer Science. He needed to be able to support his family, but desperately wanted to develop his creative writing, too. So he took as many literature courses as he could handle. Studying programming, calculus, along with ancient British Literature provided a stimulating, if challenging, counterpart to his STEM classes.
Throughout his undergrad experience he made the most of internship opportunities and work study at EWU, first as a graphic designer for Marketing and Communication, then as IT support, and then programming. Upon earning his degree, this experience led to a full time IT job at EWU, where he has been for 16 years.
Fitzpatrick loves learning, and that’s a good thing, with the tech industry changing rapidly with the move to the Cloud and mobile-based devices now making up half of all internet traffic. “In the IT world,” he says, “you are constantly learning new things.”
Wanting to further hone his literary chops, he then earned his Masters in Creative Writing over two and a half years of night classes at EWU’s highly regarded Creative Writing MFA Program.
When asked how coding and writing stories are related, he insists they are closely linked. “It’s all creative,” he says. “You are creating something out of nothing.”