Paul chats with
PA: Hi Dan, I have just finished the John Wayne Cleaver trilogy; I'm Not a Serial Killer, Mr Monster, I Don't Want to Kill You. When you started writing I'm Not a Serial Killer, did you originally set out to write a trology?
DW: I knew from the beginning that John Cleaver would be a great series character, but I didn't plan it as a series at first--I wrote one book, and tried to make it the best book it could be on its own. When my editor called to tell me he wanted to buy the manuscript he asked for two more books, so I outlined the rest of the trilogy and made some changes to the first one to make it work.
PA: Did you find it difficult coming back to the same characters and developing them further in Mr Monster and I Don't Want to Kill You.
DW: John Cleaver is a surprisingly easy character to write. I don't know what that says about me, but there it is!
PA: Was there a lot of re-reading of your prior material to make sure you did not get lost or contradict an element of a character and/or story?
DW: I did do a lot of re-reading, because the world of the books is so insular--I was reusing so many characters and locations, and needed to make sure I didn't mess it up.
PA: Would you ever re-visit John again?
DW: I am in fact planning to write another John Cleaver book next year. Probably the start of a new series, but I won't promise anything yet.
PA: I thought the trilogy would make a good tv series - have you have any offers?
DW: There is a John Cleaver movie in pre-production right now, but I have no idea if it will actually happen or not. I'd love to see a series as well, but we'll have to see how the movie does first.
PA: You have since written another trilogy - Partials - do you have a taste for writing a series?
DW: I've written two series and two standalone novels, and I like them both. I just like trying new things. For my new series I'm planning a cross between them: books that are related, but aren't serial, so you can read them in any order. That's how a lot of thrillers do it, and I'm interested to see how it goes.
PA: Is there a genre that you would like to give a go at writing?
DW: I would love to write a western some day. I don't know if I'll ever give myself the time, but it's a genre I love.
PA: Who is your favourite horror, sci-fi/fantasy, thriller writer (is there one author that ticks all these for you?
DW: My favorite writer these days is actually none of those genres, it's Bernard Cornwell, who writes historical fiction.
PA: What was the last book you read that really disappointed you?
DW: I get disappointed in books all the time--I'm a notorious non-finisher of books I don't like, because I don't see the point of spending the time on something that isn't worth it. I never say which books those are, though, because I can't see that it's constructive. I'll rave about books I like, but I won't badmouth the books (and more importantly the authors) that I don't.
PA: How about the last that really knocked your socks off?
DW: Vortex, by SJ Kincaid. Completely awesome SF adventure, like a cyberpunk Harry Potter.
PA: Would you say being a writer is the best job in the world?
DW: I suppose it's possible there's a better job, but I can't imagine what it is. Being a writer is awesome.
PA: Do you feel there is a downside of being a writer?
DW: No downsides that I can think of.
PA: What's the strangest thing you have been asked at a book signing?
DW: I had a bookseller ask me to sign a book to "Mrs. Monster."
PA: What is your writing routine like?
DW: I have an office in my home, and I lock myself in and write from about 10am to 5 or 6.
PA: How do you usually celebrate the end of a writing project?
DW: I celebrate with a day or two (or maybe a week, if it was a hard book) and play video games or paint miniatures or something like that.
PA: Who is the first person to read your work once complete?
DW: I have several friends I send everything to. It's always a toss up to see which of them gets to it first.
PA: Who is your harshest critic?
DW: My harshest critic is definitely my editor, because that's his job. He loves my work, of course, which is why we work together in the first place, but he's also very exacting and dedicated to making it better.