Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Confessional: Michael Cargill

On this week's trip into the Confessional, we have Michael Cargill, who if you've read his blog you know that it is riddled with sarcasm and rather unique information.  His books are fantastic, epically so and I love all of them that I've read so far.  My first introduction to this author was Shades of Grey, which I highly recommend.  

From your blog, I see that you recommend anyone unsure of which of your books to start with you recommend Shelter from Thunder why is that? What about this book makes it such a good starting point for your books?

Shelter from Thunder was actually my very first story.  I recommend it as a starting point because it is short, sweet and, best of all, totally free; perfect reading for very busy people on a strict budget.  Or cheapskates with short attention spans.  Or novice translators looking for something to add to their portfolio.  Or that smart gremlin from the film Gremlins 2.

I have had good feedback from everyone who has read it so, what the heck, I thought it was a good way to get people hooked on my stuff.

Sarcasm seems to be a language you are fluent in, and I adore that! Your blog constantly has me getting odd looks from various people.  Where do you get your inspiration for the sarcasm heavy posts?

God knows.  Sometimes the initial idea appears out of the blue after seeing or reading something.  I got the idea for one character after seeing a copy of Horse and Hound Magazine in the supermarket.  Although it's about posh idiots who are into fox hunting, the actual title of that magazine is absurd; the mixing of two completely different animals like that seems like a parody itself.  Other times I look around the room wondering what a particular object, like a lightbulb, would say or do if it could speak.

See, you are now all looking at me as if I am mad which isn't fair.  When Moses spoke about this sort of thing 2000 years ago they followed him all the way across the desert.

Do you currently have any works in progress? If so when can we expect to see them available for purchase?

 I do, yes!  All my previous work has been short stories or anthologies and this is my first novel.  It's actually finished and in the hands of some very kind people who agreed to proof-read it for me.  I had my first response back from one of them this morning and he really liked it which was a huge relief.  My ego is fragile you see, if the first person to reply said they hated it I would probably sit there and cry.

It is called 'Underneath', it is a thriller/suspense thingy and I am hoping that it will be available in the next couple of weeks or so.

In the world of publishing, not all feedback is positive.  How do you handle a negative review? Do you inquire as to why the review was negative? Do you attempt to try and win those that write negative reviews over? Or do you simply let it be?

It's kind of weird actually.  Quite often, no matter how polite or constructive the reviewer is about it, any kind of 'negative' point raised causes me to have a kind of mini-tantrum in my head.  I fully admit that this is childish and irrational, but it doesn't last long.  I have a cup of a tea, simmer down and then re-read it with a calmer head.  I have had some helpful constructive criticism from people and I am grateful for it, despite my initial mini-tantrum.

HOWEVER.  I wouldn't ever try to argue a negative point with a reviewer.  In a way, a reviewer might take their reviews as personally as I take my work.  Also, if I wrote a review of a film or something and the director got all stroppy about it then I would just laugh at them.  If they posted angry comments on my blog I would just edit whatever they wrote to say something stupid about bumblebees and lettuce.

Some bad reviews I have to laugh at though.  One of my books, Diary of a Dork, has got lots of one-star reviews from people on the Barnes and Noble site who specifically state that they haven't read it.  The 'reviews' are so badly written that I wonder if they were penned by the smart gremlin from Gremlins 2.

What is your writing process like when you are working on a story for publication? Any quirks that manifest themselves while you are working?

As much as I hate to disappoint people, my writing process is staggeringly dull.  I just sit there in my pants and type a load of nonsense out whilst working my merry way through a load of chewing gum.  There are no exotic rituals where I surround myself in candles made out of the Pope's ear wax or ask a naked Frenchman to read me some poetry.


My Reviews of Michael's Books


  1. great interview Martha and Michael.

  2. Naked frenchman reading I thought you'd say something about sacrificing virgins! Disappointed, Michael! Great interview Martha.

  3. *facepalm*

    I didn't realise you had posted this yet!

    Thanks for the interview Martha, 'twas fun. Actually, someone left me a review on Amazon after reading this - they mention your blog at the end of it.

    Blogger power, it's real.