Today my guest is Wesley McCraw, author of The House of Cabal books!
Where did you get your inspiration for House of Cabal?
First, let me thank you for having me.
House of Cabal was inspired by quite a few things because I started writing it in late 1999 and I’ve been working on it off and on for the better part of sixteen years. Initially, the idea was a combination of my two favorite children’s books, The Thief of Always and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. I wanted to do something like these books, only with more adults themes.
Fast forward quite a few years into the creative process. Pinsleep, the witness angel, was a framing device that I invented later on that took on a life of his own, inspired by a lot of my own musings on religion and faith. The Garden of Eden was always a feature in the series but was originally revealed much later in the plot. Once I created Pinsleep, the conclusion of the series hit me like a bolt of lightening and I discovered where I had to start my story.
What made you want to release it as several volumes?
House of Cabal was always going to be more than one book but the idea that it would be released in short episodes (45-55 thousand words) was something that I tried out a few years ago. I created stronger arcs for each episode and found that it enhanced the natural rhythm of the story I was telling.
The idea for House of Cabal is massive, but I wouldn’t say it has literary pretensions. I want its complexity to be easily digestible even though it has so many characters and spans all of time and space. It’s meant to be mysterious and fun, like a pulp serial, and while it has deeper themes, it’s not War and Peace.
I also found that the seed for House of Cabal can bear an endless number of fruits, and while I know the climax, there is plenty of room for play before I get to the conclusion. My main goal is to fulfill the promise of the idea to the best of my ability.
Besides, I don’t necessarily like reading huge tomes all the time. This is the story I would want to read in the way I would want to read it.
How many volumes will House of Cabal span?
When comics are collected into trade paperbacks, they are called volumes. These paperbacks are how I like to read my comics. Who wants to read a single issue? I want a big taste and a complete arc, even if the story doesn’t end there. That’s why House of Cabal is in volumes; it’s to suggest that the House of Cabal series might have a long run like a comic book series. To answer your question more directly, at least five.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in self-publishing?
The main challenge I think for any writer starting out is finding readers. There are a huge amount of quality books being published; even if your work is amazing, how do you get noticed?
What are you working on right now?
There are quite a few thing in the pipeline this year. I’m releasing House of Cabal Volume Two: Estate very soon. I’m writing weird short fiction for my collection The Queen in Yellow. And I’m rewriting my next novel, Brief Pose, about an advertisement campaign that makes people lose themselves in fantasy, which should be released this summer.
What other books have you written?
Only one that I have published. My first novel is The Forgiving. It’s a more straightforward horror novel about a cult, but it also has some unconventional elements.
What is your favorite genre to read and who are some of your favorite authors?
I mostly read speculative fiction, but I like a wide variety of things. Clive Barker is probably my biggest influence. The nonfiction book This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, the graphic novel The Sculptor by Scott McCloud, and the memoir The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch were my favorite books from last year.
Where can readers find you?
Thank you for joining me today, Wesley! I’m looking forward to the next volume of House of Cabal and will definitely review it on here as soon as it comes out.