Thursday, October 14, 2021

An Interview With Terrence McCauley

 Terrence McCauley and I have been friends since we shared a panel at the Albany Bouchercon in 2013. He’s an even better person than he is a writer, and he’s a damn fine writer with a range that encompasses crime, thrillers, Westerns, and whatever he puts his mind to that day. He recently accepted a position with Wolfpack Press, a growing force in the industry, which gave me an excuse to catch up with him. (“Excuse” as in “He’s a person I’d interview just to bullshit with him but space doesn’t really allow for that.”)


One Bite at a Time: Hi, T-Mac. It’s been a while. It’s good to see you here again. You recently took a position with Wolfpack Publishing. What’s the new gig and how did it come about?


Terrence McCauley: It’s always great to hear from you, my friend. I when I reacquired my rights to my previously published books, Wolfpack was interested in breathing new life into them. New covers, a new marketing plan and a chance to add to the existing stories I’ve told. I was impressed with the team they have in place at Wolfpack and told them I’d be happy to help them in any way I could. As we began talking about ideas, we all decided it would be a good idea for me to take on the responsibilities of Director of Public Relations. I did it in the public sector for twenty-five years, so I had a lot of transferable skills that prepared me for the role. They’re a fine bunch of people and I’m honored to be working with them.


OBAAT: I’ll confess, Wolfpack was under my radar until I read your hiring announcement. I checked the website and saw authors there who have considerable juice. Tell us a little about the company, such as what its goals are, and how it plans to achieve them.


TM: The company was started in 2013 by Mike Bray and L.J. Martin. It has quickly grown into a powerhouse in the publishing industry. They company is proudly built on publishing new and classic western novels and will continue to do so. They have recently expanded into Young Adult titles with their Wise Wolf imprint and Mystery/Crime/Thriller novels through the acquisition of Rough Edges Press.


Their goal is simple in all the genres they publish. To give readers the best fiction available for an affordable price in both digital and, in their newer publications, print format.


When they announced the acquisition of Rough Edges Press, we sent notices to every writing organization we could think of to let them know we were open for business and eager to give under-represented voices a chance at publication. That commitment was one of the main reasons why I agreed to work for them and I’m excited about the future, both for my work and for the work of all the writers who join us.


OBAAT: This is a great opportunity to get your books consolidated under a single umbrella. Was that part of your consideration when taking the job, or was it a serendipitous benefit? Were there any problems with getting the rights?


TM: My westerns are still being published by Kensington, where I have a spinoff series coming out next year. Wolfpack acquired all my Terry Quinn, Charlie Doherty and University Series novels. They’re also publishing the new Doherty novel, The Wandering Man, and the new University novel, The Moscow Protocol. I had already signed with them for several weeks before we discussed the possibility of me joining the team. I was lucky that everyone involved agreed that Wolfpack Publishing was a better home for the kinds of novels I’ve written and want to continue to write. So, Kensington is home for my westerns and Wolfpack/Rough Edges Press is home for everything else and I couldn’t be happier. 


OBAAT: You write in as many genres as anyone I can think of. What are you working on now?

TM: Right now, I’m finishing up a western novel, then will switch over and write a prequel to Prohibition I’ve tentatively titled The Duke Of New York. It’ll be about Terry Quinn in the days after he joins the Doyle mob and how he helps that mob grow in power and prestige. It’ll take place in the same timeline as The Wandering Man. My goal is to write three books apiece that lead up to the events in Prohibition and Slow Burn respectively.


I got the idea for those novels because a lot of people have told me they were interested in Quinn and Charlie’s backstories. The Doherty books are in first-person, so I get to show that world from his jaded perspective. Quinn is third person, but anchored in his point of view, so the reader experiences the story from his place in it.


I’ll also continue The University Series with as many books as Wolfpack wants to publish.


OBAAT: You recently began both a blog and a podcast, both of which I keep tabs on. (And encourage readers to do the same.) What prompted the decisions to do both, and how is it working out for you? Do you enjoy one more than the other?


TM: Both are fun in their own ways. I did it because I realized a lot of people did not know that I write in other genres. Fans of my westerns often suggested I write suspense. I was happy to tell them that I have and show them my other books. That’s why the podcast is interesting for me because I cover my approach to each book I’ve written. I talk about the struggles I faced writing each western and how I overcame it. I plan on doing that with all my books in the hopes that writers can hear it and learn from what I went through as I wrote across genres. No book is written in a bubble, and I think others can learn from what I did right and what I did wrong. The podcast also taught me some new skills, which is always good.


The blog allows me to mouth off about topics that are top of mind. I like to discuss something current, such as conventions, then add another topic like protecting yourself as a writer.


OBAAT: I looked at your website while preparing for this interview (I do prepare for interviews), and it’s beautiful. I see your name next to the copyright notice, so I have to ask if you did it yourself. (Note to Maddee James: No worries. I have no thoughts of changing web teams.)


TM: I had done my original website by myself, but after I left my state job more than a year ago now, I decided to invest in my writing career. I worked with Krista Rolfzen Soukup at The Blue Cottage Agency about ways I could enhance my online presence. She suggested Corey Kretsinger of Midstate Design to build it out. Together, the three of us worked on creating something unique. I wrote the content and created the logo. That much I can take credit for. The rest was a team effort and I recommend Krista and Corey to anyone who’s looking to refine their digital presence.

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