Interview With Devon McCormack
Recently I had the pleasure of discovering a new author, Devon McCormack, and his kinky-arsed, erotic book, Clipped. I have to say I love finding new authors, especially when they can write, and Devon McCormack can definitely write. Will it be for everyone? Well, if you like erotic LGBTQ writing then possibly yes. It has a really interesting plot, plenty of action and sex. It isn’t the ‘expected’ M/M fare. But the characters are terrific and the reviews I have read are very much in the positive. Everyone seems to be asking for more. So, with that intro I would like to welcome Devon McCormack to On Top Down Under Book Reviews.
Interview with Devon McCormack
Kazza: Let’s probe Devon a bit, shall we? We like to probe our visitors. Find out what makes them excited. Oh yes, Devon. Don’t lie. This Aussie can pick up on it and she has stalked you enough to know things. Yes, things! It’s a perfectly technical term. Remember, any false answers and my blog partner – specially trained in covert Australian Vegemite torture techniques – will be on your doorstep before you know it. You can run but you can’t hide. So with that horribly nasty threat hanging over your head, *Kazza smiles sweetly* welcome Devon to OTDU Book Reviews interrogation. I mean interview.
Devon: Is this an interview or an interrogation? Never mind…I think I know the answer. Let the water-boarding begin.
Kazza: Forget waterboarding, a box of funnel-webs are on the way. Be nice to them 🙂
Kazza: I believe you have a degree in Film/Video. What made you take Film/Video as a major? Is there something you would like to achieve with this? Original screenwriting? Adapting a book to screen? I may just be putting ideas in your head, but have you thought about these before?
Devon: I love telling stories, and I always wanted to make movies. After I graduated with my Film/Video degree, I moved to Los Angeles, where I edited scripts for a production company. I wrote a few screenplays. Had a few agents/managers. Outside of editing other people’s scripts, nothing ever came of any of it. And after about three years of dead ends, I decided to move back to Georgia, which is where I’m from. At the time, a friend of mine was starting up a distribution company for horror films, and I helped him with some admin type shit and wrote a few pieces for him. I still like to do stuff here and there. But largely, I’ve found that I enjoy writing a book more than a screenplay. With a script, I haven’t created the final product. It can be fucked up by a crappy director, actor, editor, etc. With a book, if I fuck it up, I fucked it up. And I like that. I can do bad all by myself. At the same time, I know I’ll continue to write screenplays. I don’t know. There are some things you just can’t stop. Like meth.
Kazza: I’m now going to ask you to finish the following sentences. Hmmm, let’s see how good that Film/Video degree is, shall we?
Complete the following Mommie Dearest sentences –
Kazza: “No more …. hangers.”
Kazza: “I fix all my uncle’s ….. this way.”
Kazza: “Don’t fuck with me, fellas. This………………………”
Devon: …ain’t my first time…at…the…rodeo.
TINA: Yes, Mommie.
JOAN: Mommie what?
TINA: Yes, Mommie…dearest…
JOAN: When I asked you to call me that…I wanted you to mean it.
Devon: Do I get extra points?! As an aside, the Razzie’s can suck my hole. Faye Dunaway’s performance in that movie is brilliant.
Kazza: Yes. *grumbles* Damn, you’re a tricky sucker! PS: My son and I are in agreement re: the Razzies. Go, Faye Dunaway!
Kazza: I know this may be hard to narrow down – I know I would find it hard. But just say your life was under threat of, well, highly-skilled Vegemite torture, what would your favourite two – three movies in terms of screenwriting be, and why?
Devon: Howard Hawks’ Bringing Up Baby is hands-down the best screwball comedy ever written. Clever dialogue. Iconic comedic situations. And it makes me laugh so fucking hard. His Girl Friday usually gets all the credit, but I get bored by the dialogue. It’s like watching a Mae West film. Eventually, I start speaking over her, “Well…blah dee da dee…da da.” You know, mocking her inflection and delivery. That’s what I do when I watch His Girl Friday. With Bringing Up Baby, I quote the lines out of reverence.
Next would have to be The Silence of the Lambs. Amazing monologues, and the film does a great job of conveying very complicated human experiences in a very short amount of time. Some of that I credit to the editor, but in many ways, an editor is a screenwriter. And finally, Rocky. Rocky, Rocky, Rocky. I think it does one of the greatest jobs of summarizing the plight of man ever. Although, I will say that I am more impressed with the dialogue in the movie than the dialogue presented in the original screenplay.
Kazza: Well, you blew me away with Rocky. I wasn’t expecting that one.
Kazza: I have interviewed, talked to, and read plenty of author’s thoughts who have all said that they started writing early. For as long as they could write they had someone in their head or a story waiting to get out. I also know you minored in English. Was this because of the desire to write? Has that been something that you have always done? Wanted to do?
Devon: It wasn’t something I wanted to do for a long time. When I was very little, I remember having nothing but contempt for reading and writing. They took up so much time…time that could have been better spent playing in the woods or in the newly constructed buildings in our neighborhood. Storytelling really started as just lying to anyone and everyone: parents, siblings, peers. I was such a liar. And a bad one! There’s nothing worse than a bad liar. But everyone was sort of amused by it, so eventually it turned into me entertaining them with stories. One time, my grandfather kept asking me to tell him stories. I tried to make up what I thought was a “story.” It was something about a bunny, because he and grandma had bunnies in their yard. But he didn’t like it at all, and he stopped me and made it very clear that he didn’t want me to make up fiction. He wanted me to make up stories about pretend adventures that I went on (which was what I usually did anyway). He basically was insisting that I lie to him. It’s interesting to reflect on. I have a niece, and my brother is obsessed with telling her, “Don’t tell stories.” But really, most of my early storytelling came from…supervised lying.
As for actually sitting down and writing, even though I disdained the process, I never could resist the impulse to sit down at the computer (or at a notebook) and come up with a story. My dad would say that I was going to be a writer one day, and I made him stop saying it, because that seemed like the most boring thing in the world. I wanted to go on adventures, not sit at a desk all day long. But I ended up at the desk anyway. I have boxes filled with terrible writing: stories, novels, scripts, plays, etc. The early works, if you will. Heinous plotting. Even worse grammar. Semi-British dialogue. Every issue that novice writing is rife with. I recently came up with a very good idea of what to do with all this terrible writing. It involves a very long trip to Mordor.
But I do love writing. It wasn’t until very recently that I really started appreciating the process. When I was younger, if I wanted to write a book, I would just lock myself in my room for weeks till it was done. Now, I’m more at ease. I can pick it up and set it down without requiring the sustained focus to get me to the end. I can just enjoy the characters and the story, and that’s nice. I recently completed a book that I’d been working on since I was ten, and that was very cathartic. It instilled in me this sense that, it’ll get done. No need to rush it. Just keep moving in the right direction. Also, sitting on a stack of screenplays and books that’ll never see the light of day gives me a confidence, like, “Well, if it sucks, no one’ll ever see it, so what does it matter?” It takes the pressure off and makes it easier to pump out the pages…and again, enjoy the process.
Kazza: Recently you commented on an interview I did with another author when there was a religious slant to the interview. I happen to know that you have an interest in religions and cults. I have a fascination as well. So, I would love to hear your thoughts on where this research stems from and why?
Devon: I’m fascinated by what people believe, and why they believe it. Especially if it’s perceived by most people as “strange.” I’ll give a little story here. I tell it a lot, because it conveys how I feel about beliefs. I had this boyfriend, and one night, we were sitting up in bed. I think he was reading a book. The important thing to remember here is that we were both sober and lucid…theoretically. He turned to me and asked, without a trace of humor in his voice, “Do you believe dragons walk among us?” I hesitated, trying to find the best way to handle this. “Mmm…metaphorical dragons?” I asked. I feel that was a more than diplomatic response. He shook his head. “No. Like dragon dragons.” He explained that he thought one of our friends was a dragon, disguised as a person.
Now, most people’s first thought when they hear this story (other than, “What the fuck were you doing with that psycho?”) is “Didn’t you think that was crazy?” Well, based on what I knew about his beliefs, it really wasn’t. He was into magic and Wicca, and I knew that he perceived dragons as being angel-like figures. I was raised Catholic, and to some degree, there’s a sort of rhetoric in Christian circles about people possibly being angels, disguised as humans, to help us out. So it wasn’t that much of a stretch for me to understand that he wasn’t saying anything more strange than what was a far-more culturally acceptable belief about angels.
My point with that story is, there are a lot of cults and new religious movements that believe what I think most people consider to be strange things. However, when you equate their strange beliefs with some of the more culturally-acceptable strange beliefs, they don’t really seem all that…(yes, I’m going to say it again) strange. Scientology is largely made fun of because of how aliens have been incorporated into their religion. But honestly, is it really more irrational to believe that Lord Xenu brought us here than it is to believe that God created the world in seven days? I don’t think so. People criticize Mormons for naively believing prophet Joseph Smith when he told them that he had received a testament from God, but plenty of people believe (without any evidence) in the immaculate conception. If either seems more far-fetched, it’s Mary. But I think because people are exposed to it more, they tend to see it as less unusual.
Anyway, I study religions with this sort of mindset. I think that, at the heart of all these ideas, there are so many similarities. They’re reaching for the same thing—a way of understanding the world that we live in. Each religious philosophy is just another take on reality. It’s a story to make sense of it all. And each story helps me to look at the world a little differently. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, for example, is someone that I’m fascinated with. She spent her life trying to eradicate sin and Satan from her religion. But ultimately, they cropped up in another, equally problematic form, under different labels. I see this happening a lot in new religious movements that try to eradicate evil. It just reappears in a different, but all-too-familiar, form. That’s fascinating. And I think that it says a lot about psychology and the way that we try to cope with things.
As you can probably tell, I’m very much a fan of people getting to believe whatever they want. If people want to believe that Harry Potter and Hogwarts are real (as they are) then that’s their right. My only issue is if uses their beliefs to justify oppressing or harming others. But I’m gay. Of course I would believe that.
Kazza: Because I wouldn’t interview Orson Scott Card if I was paid a million dollars, I’ll ask you instead – sexiest Mormon undergarment? Come on fess up!
Devon: Are you kidding? I’d blow Orson Scott Card for less than that! But truthfully, all temple garments are sexiest when left on the floor or in a closet.
Kazza: My favourite question. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you like to visit and why? Remember saying Australia may be hazardous to your health. Not answering Australia may be hazardous to your health. That’s right, the question is loaded 😀
Devon: Peru comes slightly before Australia. I love Incan and Mayan history, and I want to hike the Incan trail before I die. But if tumblr is giving me an accurate depiction of shirtless boys in Australia, then I’m willing to toss history where it belongs and fly down immediately!
Kazza: We do have some cute guys here. All that outdoorsy life. Come on over – after Peru – and I’ll point you the right direction. Hell, I’ll even take you on a guided cultural after dark tour 🙂
Kazza: Okay, I enjoyed the bejeebers out of Clipped – twenty inch cocks and the hurt-me-‘til-I-bleed attitude – let’s face it, Kinzer lost the lottery with his twelve inches – pffftt. Tell me about the sinspiration here. I mean I am a size queen myself, but I’d like to hear your take on the big dicked-ness of your characters. Is that a word, dicked-ness? Who cares, if the cock fits…back to the question. Sinspiration?
Devon: It’s funny that I would write something like Clipped, because I’m not a size queen at all. Big cocks terrify me. And as a gay man, they aren’t fun to take…at least for me (I have friends who would disagree). When I started seeing my current boyfriend, I was horrified about blowing him, because he’s…fairly well-endowed. So I bought a comparable cucumber, took it over to my best friend’s house, and worked on minimizing tooth-to-skin contact. I’m twenty-eight, and I just started seeing aforementioned boyfriend a year ago, so that should give you an idea of how long I’ve managed to evade big dicks.
I think the reader can pick up on this sort of squeamishness about big cocks in Clipped, because they’re never glamorized or revered. They’re always approached very practically, like, “Oh my God, this cock is enormous. What am I going to do? What do I need to do? Is it going to kill me?” Treycore is a twenty inch angel, and Kid has a mortal hole. So Treycore’s always worried about hurting Kid, and Kid’s always worried about his innards falling out of his crack. Romantic, I know.
But it’s this fear of big dicks that I think largely contributed to the inclusion of mega-cocks. In some ways, I’m screaming at you size queens, “What the fuck is wrong with you? You don’t want that thing in your ass! Why aren’t you putting on more lube?!”
Kazza: I applaud you overcoming you size fear. It’s a tough job but you’re a trooper, Devon.
Devon: More like a Kill Bill fetish. I adore the sword fights in that movie. I usually think sword-play (which sounds like a dangerous sexual fetish) scenes are boring, and I was worried about that with Clipped, but for some reason, it seemed ridiculous for angels and demons to be carrying around guns. It probably isn’t, and someone probably has already done that well, but I just couldn’t bring myself to.
Kazza: I grew to love Maggie in your book. She had this resigned hooker, let’s-get-this-over-with attitude after a while. Where did Maggie come from? And also the whole Antichrist take on good and bad? I’m guessing this ties in with the religious fascination. Right? Wrong? Meh?
Devon: I had a dream about Maggie many years before I even had the concept for Clipped. She was my side-kick in this epic adventure. She was jaded, foul-mouthed, and snarky. I adored her. I tried to write a few stories just about her for awhile, but they never turned into anything. When I came up with the idea for Clipped, she naturally found her way in as the anti-Mary, and I’m so glad she did.
Of all the characters in the story, I resonate most with Maggie, because she reacts the way I’d react to this shit. When we first meet her, she’s been kidnapped by two angels. She’s tied and gagged in a trash-ridden room. The main character, Kinzer, is furious with his angel pals for being so inconsiderate. He unties her and explains the whole God is bad, Satan is good bit and that she’s the mother of the Antichrist, which will basically be able to stop the apocalypse. So he asks her if she understand, and she agrees. As he’s about to brag about his down-to-earth approach to handling mortals, Maggie knocks him over the head with a lamp and scrambles to escape. I remember loving that, because I was like, “That’s totally what I’d do.”
As for the twist on good and bad, making God the bad guy and Satan the good guy, that definitely stems from my interest in religions. A lot of the cults and new religious movements that I research strongly reject the jealous, hateful God that certain Christian denominations are known for presenting. The gurus and leaders of these cults/nrm will regularly make snide comments about how this angry God makes Satan look like the good guy. Also, they tend to twist the myth to serve whatever story they’re telling, so taking one of the biggest religions on the planet and twisting it to serve one’s own needs is something I’m very familiar with. But I’d never considered Clipped’s slant until a little over a year ago when I was reading Mark Twain’s Letters From the Earth. Letters From the Earth does a similar thing that I do in Clipped (makes Satan out to be not all that bad and God out to be a wrathful megalomaniac). Somehow that got me thinking about God and Satan as ex-lovers, and I was off and running. My Catholic upbringing and obsession with movies like The Omen and The Exorcist helped with the rest.
Kazza: I think it is time for you to tell the wonderful people who pop on in to OTDU a bit more about Clipped. What would you like to say about it that I may not have covered in my review and my deeply…probing questions. And, most importantly, is there going to be more of Kinzer, Kid, Treycore and company? If so when can we expect a sequel? Any working title yet?
Devon: I just hope that people who read Clipped enjoy it. I wrote it to be a fun adventure that the reader could lose themselves in for a little while. It’s not all lovey dovey, but I like to think that it’s passionate. That’s what I was going for. Wild, reckless, overwhelming passion. That aside, readers need to lay off Dedrus. He’s mine. They can have Treycore and Kinzer, but Dedrus is some good boyfriend material. He’s the kind of angel I’d want to grow old with.
As for a sequel, yes, yes, and yes. Oh, I’m wildly excited about it. Treycore (aka Mr. Twenty Inches) journeys to Hell to rescue Kid (aka Mr. Taken Twenty Inches!) from his bitch-of-an-ex-girlfriend, Vera. To get to Hell, he has to approach his pre-Vera girlfriend, Eilee, who Vera stole Treycore from. I’ve fallen in love with Eilee. She’s who I think we all become after those big, meaningful breakups. She’s immortal and isolated, having been left to contemplate her relationship and breakup with Treycore for far-too-long. She’s the reason we have friends, because we need people to pull us out of the house and get us to stop thinking about all that. But Eilee’s never stopped thinking about it. She’s never stopped dwelling on it, and it’s left her full of doubt and insecurity. You think all this time would have caused her to reach these really solidified conclusions, but really, it’s just given her more time to question those conclusions, and she finds herself spiraling in circles. I love it.
Anyway, while Treycore journeys to Hell, Maggie and Kinzer are trying to track down the bad guys, who are working to bring about the apocalypse. They run into this hottie angel, Hayde, who I am crushing on as I’m writing him. I seriously am giving up real people for this character. He’s an angry, little guy, and when I first started writing him, I despised him so much because he’s such a dick (and does some things that are really not cool). But now I’m infatuated with him and realize that he’s just misguided. I can’t say more about him without spoiling the story. But I want his babies. I might delete the manuscript when I finish just so I don’t have to share him with anyone.
That aside, the sequel is full of more weird-sounding names and sprinkled heavily with enough “douches” to make a person question the amount of times the word is likely to come up in everyday conversation. But I’m really excited about the story because it delves deeper into the characters’ back-stories and presents the administrative parts of Heaven and Hell, which are alluded to in Clipped, but never explained. Bound, which is the second book’s tentative title, will really illustrate how Heaven, Hell, and Earth operate and relate to one another. The title refers to a few different things. One is that Kid is still bound to the contract he signs in Clipped. Another is Kinzer and Maggie essentially bounding to get to the Christ. There are a few other ways it plays out, but those are the biggies.
Kazza: Ha ha, Funny boy with your douches (read my review, I grumbled about it, slaps Devon.)
Kazza: I believe you are running a Goodreads giveaway for Clipped at the moment. Please tell us the details and attach a link where people can find it.
Devon: Right now, I haven’t released a paperback version of Clipped yet. It’s just available as an ebook on Amazon and B&N. But for the Goodreads giveaway, I’m giving away ten paperback copies, which are like my beta round of paperbacks. So Goodreads members need to get on there and sign up. You guys should also just friend me, too, because I’m lonely and sad on there and can never have too many friends to fill the gaping void in my heart.
Kazza: Apart from the Clipped world, what other books are in the pipeline for Devon McCormack? And when might we expect them?
Devon: I have a children’s book that took me far-too-long to complete that I’m working on getting published. I’ve also been working on a gay-themed YA paranormal mystery. Right now, the file just says “Gay Hardy Boys,” though it has strayed quite a bit from that initial inspiration. I don’t want to say much more than that. I’m very superstitious about letting people in to my worlds before they’re ready.
Kazza: When you have something you must let the reviewers on our LGBTQ YA sister site, Greedy Bug, have a look-see.
Kazza: Where can people find Devon McCormack? Blogs. Twitter. Facebook. Tumblr….
Thank you to Devon McCormack for this honest and irreverent interview today. As you can see he has a wicked sense of humour and this reviewer/interviewer really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun being involved. If you like erotic writing with some swords, a bit of a topsy-turvy good and bad outlook, and you are an open-minded reader of erotic LGBTQ writing then I definitely recommend Clipped. And go and pester him over at Goodreads as well. He’s a good sport.