The Author Strikes Back – Ian McKay Interview

I am absolutely delighted to welcome Ian Mckay to take part in the third interview in my Author Strikes Back category.   Ian has recently published “Something Fishy” – a comic novel centred around a fishing trip and I am very grateful that he has found time to respond to my questions.


It has taken you quite a time to put out your debut novel.  How did this come about? 

I suppose that the best way to answer your first question would be to say that I’ve been so busy ‘living an  eventful life’ that I haven’t really had much time to sit down and devote the time I needed to actually write my first book.  So, as you can imagine, apart from a few sporadic forays into the worlds of short stories and poetry writing, the economics of paying the bills and putting food on the table for a wife and four children: plus the emotional trauma of an acrimonious divorce 22 years later, left me with very little time to pursue my passion for writing. For anyone who cares to know a little more on the reason why I didn’t publish  my first novel until the age of 76, the ‘About Me’ page on my web site, will tell you more.

Ian is certainly an inspiration for all of us who have put the writing on the back burner and is proof that it’s never too late to realise your dreams .

Your Disclaimer at the front of the book states it is based on “some true events”.  Without giving too much away could you reveal one of those true events for us?

In my disclaimer I did, indeed, say parts of my book were based on ‘Some true events’, one of which was the incident that happened on the charter fishing boat. When, much to the amusement of the other fishermen, the character ‘Mara’, sneezed and his false teeth shot out over the side of the boat and into the sea. 

One of the other anglers, who also wore false teeth, covertly took out his     dentures and tied them to the end of his fishing line, to fool Mara into thinking that he had ‘caught’ the set of dentures that Mara had sneezed out over the side. What he hadn’t counted on was that, when Mara popped the dentures into his mouth; and, realised that they didn’t fit, that he would take them out and throw them over the side, back into the sea.  

  The subsequent discovery of the teeth inside a large cod was pure invention on my part; and, believe it or not, the episode, back in Liverpool, when they ‘took Charlie Abbott home’ did also actually happen, however, to protect the guilty, I can’t say any more about that!

What books have made you laugh?

The books that have made me laugh are those written by Tom Sharpe, such as ‘Porterhouse Blue’; and, in particular, the ‘Wilt’ series, absolutely hilarious!









Who are your comedy heroes?

My comedy heroes are many; however, if I had to make a choice, it would have to be the inspired ensemble of the whole cast of ‘Only Fools and Horses’.


I think that the writer of the series; who, sadly, died of viral pneumonia in 2011, was a comic genius.   Most people will remember the names of the main characters Del-Boy & Rodney, but how many remember the name of the man, without whom the series would never have been born, John Sullivan, the man who wrote ’Only Fools and Horses’?



I also have been found, on occasions, collapsed in a heap, laughing at the ‘Allo Allo’ series, a brilliant comedy set during the second world war, in Nazi occupied France; incongruously brilliant.

What’s next for Ian McKay?

Ian Photo For Authors Interview008

Well, as my M A degree is in writing for film and television, I have one or two comedy film scripts to my name that I intend to re-format into books: and, as a point of interest, ‘Something Fishy’ started its life as a feature length comedy film script too.

Paradoxically, I am also writing a factual series called ‘The Nazis’, which covers the period from the end of the 1st World War up until the Nuremburg war crimes trials. The first two books are titled as, ‘From The Kaiser to Weimar’ and ‘From Weimar to Hitler’. The third book in the series, ‘Hitler’s First Year’ is still a work in progress.

I would like to thank Ian for providing me with a copy of “Something Fishy” and for answering my questions and I’d like to remind you that this comic novel is available from Amazon both as a paperback and as a Kindle edition by following this direct link. Ian’s non-fiction titles mentioned above are also available from Amazon or by following the link from his website

Buy “Something Fishy” from

My original review of “Something Fishy” can be found here


Something Fishy – Ian McKay (2015)

I had decided that I would only feature books on here from publishers and avoid self-published work.  That seemed to fit in with what my fellow reviewers were doing, although I did recently note that best-selling author Chris Kuzneski self-published his first book because he was fed up with rejections and I know from experience it’s a tough world out there.  I decided to bend my rules when author Ian McKay got in contact with me.  I was interested in this author from Liverpool’s own story, in particular his self-publishing of his debut novel at the age of 76 (he won’t mind me telling you).  I had a look at his site at Ian and was interested enough by what I saw (he has written a number of non-fiction works) to want to read this debut.  So here are my thoughts on “Something Fishy”.


Now a word about comic novels. Of all the writing genres this is the most difficult to pull off as our response to humour is so subjective. There seems to be two ways round this, one is the scattergun approach of cramming as many different types of humour into your work, which if successful, can result in a comic tour de force but is more likely to bewilder the reader. (Paul Murray’s “Skippy Dies” is a recent example of this not quite working- but he has pulled it off big time with his “The Mark & The Void”). The alternative is to stick with one type of humour which, if it appeals, will be an absolute joy to the reader and if it doesn’t they will realise this very early on. And, to an extent, this is what Ian McKay has done with his self-published work “Something Fishy.” He gets into his humour groove early on and sticks with it throughout his 350 page novel. Sustaining the comedy at this length is another achievement.

“Something Fishy” is about a five men from a Liverpool Social Club going on a fishing trip for a weekend in Ireland. I’m not a fisherman so I wasn’t convinced it would appeal but the trip itself, although the central point does not take up as much of the book as I was expecting. McKay’s humour is broad. There’s much “banter” between the main characters, the men are fearful of the women who dominate them and there are gags involving toilet humour, false teeth, nuns and vicars. You will know already whether this will appeal to you.

It’s written in a type of humour which was prevalent in the 70’s and parts of the 80’s, which has remained underground throughout the years (in the form of Viz comics and popular club comedians) and has had a big mainstream revival in the last few years with “Mrs Brown’s Boys” and “The Inbetweeners”. Both of these programmes I find funny, almost against my better judgement, and this also applies to “Something Fishy”. There is a definitely a market for this type of humour, but are they book readers?

If they are then there is much to enjoy in McKay’s debut. When he is on plot the tale is involving and the comedy feels natural. He is quite keen on detail and a bit of pruning might have made a tighter read. There is a sex scene between two minor characters which leads nowhere and might have only been put in as titillation? This section did remind me of the Timothy Lea “Confessions….” books we passed around in secondary school. In those days we got our kicks from “mucky passages”, nowadays there’s the risk of it feeling incongruous, which is the case I think with this particular scene. There’s an incident early on in a plane involving too much Guinness and a couple of nuns which did lead to me to think that this book might not be for me and I wouldn’t get through it, but I did and I am glad I stuck with it.

Plot-wise it is strong, humour –wise it is up to you. The author comes across as a great character and is to be applauded at making his debut on the comic novel scene at the age of 76.


“Something Fishy” is available on

I’m having a little summer break from the blog but will be back here posting hopefully next Sunday!