Dave McCluskey Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
Dave McCluskey: My name is Dave McCluskey, I write under the name D E McCluskey for my adult books, and for my children’s books (of which my debut novel should be out in June) I write as Dave McCluskey. I changed these as I don’t want the kids who like Seagull’s Tale to google my name and pick up some of my horror titles… although, that could be a good way of hooking future readers.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
If you don’t buy my books I will send you selfies of me in the shower…
That should scare anyone enough to buy every single book I have ever written.
IBB: Where do you like to write?
On the beach in Acapulco, but seeing as I am from Liverpool in the UK, that is a whole dream away.
I enjoy writing somewhere noisy, hectic, and buzzing with people. I love to put my headphones in and allow myself to disappear into my own little mad, crazy world, while all around me, people are going about their business, their days, and their lives. That is my little happy place, my little oasis.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
Music… I need distraction. I think the best investment I made was signing up for one of the major music streaming services. Every song I want is available to me at the click of a link. It had rekindled my love of music, all styles, all forms.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
Cheesy answer alert… Stephen King’s The Stand is one of the all-time greats. I read it when I was 12 and have re-read it about 15 times since. Each time I get something new from it.
Then there is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This book is a must-read, or at least it was for me.
Then there is Big Fish: A Novel of Mythical Proportions by Daniel Wallace. I read this book just after my dad died a while ago, and I think that this is the single, most important book to me, the one that made me want to write…
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
Having a sick mind, a sick sense of humour, and a sick work ethic. Also, I have broad shoulders, and I don’t take criticism to heart.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
Re: my answer to Q3… beach on Acapulco!
I would love to just be comfortable, financially. I know that’s hard to do self-publishing, and very few people actually get to do it, but it’s what I want. I want to dictate my day, I want to choose when I write, and what I write.
I would also love a film or a TV series. Just for the feeling of accomplishment that must give, to sit back and watch people enjoy the live-action version of what was conceived in your own head.
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
My favourite reviews are the short ones. Don’t get me wrong, I love long reviews too. I love reviews that are written by people who are comfortable with words, and who can eloquently dissect my narrative into bite-sized chunks…
But my favourite are the ones who write ‘Great book, would read more by author’ or ‘not my cup of tea’. The reason I loved these ones more is that the writers are so not comfortable with words, yet, they have taken the time to write something as a review. Something is better than nothing.
The ones that can annoy me are when you receive a low rating, like a 1 or 2 star, but there is no review, no words to go with it. If you don’t like the book, I have no issue with that, but please don’t hide behind anonymity to give a poor rating. TELL ME WHY YOU DIDN’T LIKE IT…
I know that sounds harsh, because they may not be comfortable writing a review if they didn’t like it, but it’s one of those things.
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
I am a fast writer, but my grasp of grammar is atrocious. Thank God (or whoever you believe in if you do) for editors, and proofreaders.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
Reiteration… reiteration… reiteration… reiteration… reiteration… reiteration… reiter – you get my meaning!
I wouldn’t let a book go to publish without having reiterated it at least 10 times before it goes to editor, then when it comes back, then when it comes back again with changes. Then after it has gone through at least 5 proofreaders, and a few beta readers, and then my final reader (same person every time). Then once more, just for luck before I push the publish button.
I must read the book at least 15 times… and STILL, there are mistakes!!! Shhhhhhhhh….
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
Open, honest, non-condescending, must drink the same amounts of alcohol. Also must be a messed up in the head as the writer.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
If it was a lover of the writing, I would probably take a DNA test to see if we were related, they don’t count!
If it was a hater, I would send them a bottle of their favourite booze, just to see if they had the bottle to drink it… (I am a horror writer after all).
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Just get up off your ass and do it, or don’t… it’s up to you, but the book is not going to write itself, and no one is going to write it for you.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
I have maybe 20 pieces of work in the pipeline. These pieces cover a few different genres and should keep me busy for the next few years. I have also written a few more graphic novels that should be out over the next few years.
I am also about to launch myself as a children’s author too. I have written a few novels that I plan to release as Dave McCluskey. The first one will be in June, called A Seagull’s Tale. So there will be a new direction for me too.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
I have been lucky, in a sense. Because I started off as a comic writer, I got to know all kinds of fantastic artists. It’s a good job too, as I can’t draw a stick!
So, when it came down to creating the book covers, it wasn’t too difficult, as I already knew a lot of them. Once again, luckily for me, the artists that I have used have all been quite striking. I usually have a vision for what I want it to look like, vaguely, then they can run amok with the actual design.
This has done me well up to now, as I am very pleased with my covers.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
Too Much Information here… but I mostly read on the toilet… NOOOOOOO… ENOUGH ALREADY!!!
It’s true. However, I usually have two, or three, books on the go at any one time. But, I am a slow reader. This is a fun fact, it has been known for me to write an 80k first draft in the time it takes me to read a novel! Shocking that.
I love horror. It has been my go-to genre since I first read Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew at age 11.
I’m not a huge sci-fi fan, but I don’t mind a bit of fantasy. I love biographies of rock bands too.
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
There is a guy who has written a series of books called Scouse Gothic. Ian McKinney his name is. The books are brilliant. They are centred around a vampire, living in modern-day Liverpool, but there are flashbacks to Liverpool history. So clever, and so well written.
Look him up. Ian McKinney!
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
For more on Dave…
My website for all blogs, news, upcoming books, and tasteful, semi-naked photos, can be found here: www.dammaged.com
I am on Facebook as @dammagedcomics and @davemccluskeyauthor
I am on Twitter as @DammagedPro and @DEMccluskey1
I am on Instagram as @DammagedProductions