Publication date: October 13, 2020 Add to Goodreads Veterinarian Tom Copeland takes a job at a factory farm called Sunnyvale after a scandal...

Author Spotlight || Dane Cobain, Author of Meat

Publication date: October 13, 2020

Veterinarian Tom Copeland takes a job at a factory farm called Sunnyvale after a scandal at his suburban practice. His job is to keep the animals alive for long enough to get them to slaughter.

But there are rumours of a strange creature living beneath the complex, accidents waiting to happen on brutal production lines and the threat of zoonotic disease from the pigs, sheep, cows, chickens and fish that the complex houses.

Suddenly, disaster rocks Sunnyvale and cleaners, butchers, security guards and clerical staff alike must come together under the ruthless leadership of CEO John MacDonald. Together, they’ll learn what happens when there’s a sudden change to the food chain.

Bon app├ętit.

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?

I write books that I’d want to read myself. Given that I read so many different genres, that probably explains why I write across multiple genres, too. But as a general rule, I’m attracted to darker, grittier genres because I think broken and ugly things are more interesting than things that are perfect.

What part of writing do you consider a chore?

Getting the words down is always a challenge because it leaves you feeling worn out, even though it’s also cathartic. But I think the biggest chore is promoting the books once they’re out there, because it’s an unforgiving task that takes up a lot of time that could otherwise be spent writing.

Where were you when you first thought "I need to write this story?"

That’s a good question. I think for me, it’s more a case that I constantly feel that I need to write and I just don’t feel happy unless I’m able to create. The particular story that I’m writing almost doesn’t matter because I have more ideas than I’ll ever be able to work on, so as soon as I’m nearing the end of one book, I start to think about what I want to work on next. 

Did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Not really, but it did teach me the ropes. My first published book came out through a hybrid publisher called Booktrope, and that pretty much taught me the steps that I needed to follow to create a high quality self-published release. They eventually folded, but by that point I knew everything I needed to know to go it alone.

What's your favorite "bad review" that you've gotten?  

Ha! Well, I’ve had a few from other authors who sent me their books for honest reviews and then got annoyed when I gave them three stars and posted 1-star reviews of my books in retaliation. There’s also an ex-girlfriend who gave all of my books 1-star after we broke up. But my absolute favourite is probably the 2-star review I got from someone who just left the comment “I’m hoping to read this soon”.

What comes first for you - the plot or the characters?

They go hand in hand because the characters usually drive the plot and determine what’s going to happen next. For me, I normally start out with a concept and then the plot and the characters spring from that. With Meat, for example, I had the idea of a horror novel set on a factory farm and then I started to think about who might work there and what the horrors might entail.

Do you have any writing superstitions?

No, I’m not a superstitious person. I’m as sceptical as they come.

Is there a word you find yourself using too often when writing?

Yeah, “that”. I quite often write something like “he realised that the sun was going down” when you can easily shorten that to “he realised the sun was going down”. 

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there songs you had on repeat?

No. I’m a lifelong multitasker and so I often end up writing while watching YouTube videos or Netflix. While writing these responses, I’m watching The Boys from Brazil, a 1978 movie based on an Ira Levin novel. It’s not very good.

Do you have a favorite line that you've written? What is it and why do you like it?

Not really, although I do quite often make myself laugh when I’m editing my books and I read something that I wrote a while back and forgot about.

What is something about the genre that annoys you?

It depends on the genre, but most of them have at least something that annoys me. In general, I don’t much like reading romantic subplots, and it annoys me when I feel as though they’ve been added in just because people expect them, rather than because they serve the story.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Stick at it, ignore the people who tell you that studying creative writing at university is a waste of time and don’t worry because you’ll be able to make a living.

What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?

Nobody cares about your writing until you make them care about it.

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?

Sure, I always have something ongoing. At the moment, I’m working on my self-edits for the fourth book in my Leipfold series of quirky cosy mysteries, which will go over to my editor and eventually to my publisher. That’s called Boys in Blue and sees Leipfold and the gang tackling a conspiracy that goes to the heart of government. I’m also slowly but surely writing a coming-of-age novel called Greebos that follows a group of schoolkids as they finish secondary school in a small town in the British Midlands in 2005.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?

Most of the recurring characters in the Leipfold series. I particularly enjoy writing scenes with Maile and Leipfold in because they have great chemistry and they often make me laugh with the things they say and the interactions they have with one another.

Would you and your main character get along?

Yeah, probably. Most of my main characters are based on myself, at least to a certain extent.

Killing off characters your readers love - Risky or necessary?

Both, I guess. Again, it’s all about serving the story, so there’s no point killing them off just for the shock value.

Did any of your characters surprise you while you were writing?

All of the time. The more you get a feel for them, the more they start to feel like real people and to make their own decisions. It’s generally their dialogue that surprises me as opposed to the decisions they make, because the decisions are normally carefully planned ahead of time as part of my outline.

You've watched a movie 50 times and you still aren't tired of it. What movie is it?

I’m more of a TV series kind of guy, but it’s probably American Pie 2. Funnily enough, I introduced my girlfriend to the American Pie movies this weekend as she’d never seen them.

Which animal (real or fictional) would you say is your spirit animal and why?

A wolf, because they’re lonely animals that can also function in packs and they’re active at night. I actually have a tattoo of a wolf howling at the moon.

What would you say is your weirdest writing quirk?

I have something called “The Schedule” where I alternate between doing stuff on my computer, tidying my house and writing. There’s a whole set of rules to it and most people that I tell about it think I’m crazy, but it seems to work for me.

You've just gone Trick or Treating. 

What do you hope is in your bag? 

What do you pawn off on your kids/SO/random stranger?

Anything that isn’t vegan.

What is in your internet search history (researching for your book) that you would want someone to wipe if you were under suspicion from the police?

I think I’d rather they left it up there. That would confuse the hell out of them.

You wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. What was it?

I have a lot of them. I think in the last one that I had, I’d been kidnapped and was being taken somewhere on a train.

What movie completely scarred you as a child?

I’ve never been able to figure out what movie it was, but I remember my dad watching a film where someone got pulled apart by having their legs tied to a tree and their arms tied to a car that then accelerated off. That scene still lives rent free in my head.

What's the strangest thing a fan (or other author)  has said to you?

I always find it strange when people assume that I make enough to be able to live off my royalties. Maybe one day…

If animals could talk, which one would be the rudest?

Hah! Probably cats, they just don’t give a damn. And that’s why I love them.

Your main character is at the hardware store. What do they buy?

If it was James Leipfold, he’d probably buy something multifunctional like a Swiss army knife.

If you were bitten and changed, would you want it to be by a vampire or a werewolf?

Probably a vampire because they seem to be more in control of their transformations.

You're riding through the desert on a horse with no name. What are you going to call it?

Camel, for the irony.

What are your SM links? Can we follow you and pretend we're besties? 

Dane Cobain (High Wycombe, UK) is a published author, freelance writer and (occasional) poet and musician with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not working on his next release, he can be found reading and reviewing books while trying not to be distracted by Wikipedia.

His releases include No Rest for the Wicked (supernatural thriller), Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home (poetry) (literary fiction), Social Paranoia (non-fiction), Come On Up to the House (horror), Subject Verb Object (anthology), Driven (crime/detective), The Tower Hill Terror (crime/detective), Meat (horror), Scarlet Sins (short stories), The Lexicologist’s Handbook (non-fiction) and The Leipfold Files (crime/detective).

His short stories have also been anthologised in Local Haunts (ed. R. Saint Clare), We’re Not Home (ed. Cam Wolfe), Served Cold (ed. R. Saint Clare and Steve Donoghue) and Eccentric Circles (ed. Cynthia Brackett-Vincent)