Exclusive Clive Cussler Interview!

October 6, 2010
Clive Fucking Cussler and his fucking watch

Clive Fucking Cussler and his fucking watch

[To be fair, he’s no more or less talented than any other author who has passed the threshold of “writing” and headed for the greener pastures of “manufacturing.” However, he does have a certain look about him and won’t stop showing of that damn watch. Originally published July 21, 2009.]

The following contains transcribed excerpts from a Q&A session during Clive and Dirk Cussler’s promotional tour for their new book, Sparta. Following a publicist-approved interview (read it here), in which Clive discussed, among other things, his new watch, his product placement of said watch into his novels, his product placement of himself into said novels, a little more about the watch and various other watery items.

The Cusslers then threw caution to the wind and began fielding questions from their gathered fans. All audio and video of this event has been seized by their intrepid publicist, leaving only this record of how everything went more than a tad Pete Tong (ask Nobbly).

Publicist Merle Aaronsen (MA): Alright, folks! Now, we’ve got a real treat for you! Clive and his son, Dirk have agreed to a short Q&A session. Just raise your hand if you’ve got a question. Just like back in school.
[some appreciative laughter, mostly from Dirk, whose laugh can be charitably described as an ‘insane giggling.’]
MA: Yes?
Thomas: Hi, Thomas XXXXXX here. Big fan. I’ve read most of your latest novels. I just had a question: are you planning a followup to The Deep?
Clive Cussler (CC): [brief silence, clears throat]Ah. I think you may be confusing my work with Peter Benchley’s. Or vice versa.
A wonderful man, Peter. A wonderful, humorous man… with, uh, a rather unhealthy collection of pornography. Not that I’m judging. He was a witty and thoughtful guest during many weekend getaways, paid for by our mutual publisher.
MA: Thanks. Always a pleasure.
CC: Witty, delightful and hopelessly addicted to painkillers. When he was down we used to cheer him up by playfully referring to him as “Admiral Painless” or “Bluebeard the Rapist.” [laughs]
We prefer to remember his playful qualities and mastery of the sea. Not the other, troubling aspects like the stalking charges brought against him by Jacqueline Bisset. Many of us in his inner circle would never have seen this side of him, if he hadn’t invited us to his London mansion and shown us his so-called “Bisset Shrine.” I still get chills. And a bit of a woody. [laughs] She was quite the looker!
Anyhow, The Deep is by fucking Peter Benchley. Next question?

Not Clive Cussler (note lack of prominently displayed watch)

Not Clive Cussler (note lack of prominently displayed watch)

Alice: Hi, I’m Alice. I had a question regarding your co-author, and son, Dirk. He seems to be coming—
Dirk Cussler (DC): [giggles for a few seconds]
Alice: —into his own. Will he be writing a few novels of his own or branching out to another area of fiction?
DC: I’d like to handle this, Dad. While I have seen much improvement over the years, we, at this point, do not consider it wise to split up the franchise any more than it already is. The kind people at all of the bookstores have informed us that there is simply not enough shelf room for all of novels as it is. In fact, they have seen sales slip because of… what’s this here?
[inaudible discussion, voices of CC and MA occasionally surface, but nothing of use]
DC: … cannibalization. Sounds terrible! Maybe we should make smaller books! [giggles]
CC: He’s right. And well-trained. While we do have many ideas and watches to push, the novel mill suffers from its best friend and unfortunate bottleneck, the bookstore. Trying to find space to plunk another story in between Clancy, Patterson and Nora Roberts is like trying to pitch a tent in an outhouse. Some seamen vernacular there.

Donald: Hi, Donald here, retired Navy. I noticed that early on in Sparta you referred to the frigate displacing nearly 6,500 tons of water, which would be true if it was fully loaded. But nowhere leading up to this statement do you give any indication that it would be.
CC: Well, it very well could have been. Perhaps they had loaded at the last dock—
Donald: No. No. In fact it says here, “…the frigate, running light after offloading the last of the rescued crew, displaced 6,500 tons of water, like so much air out of a balloon…”
CC: [silence] It… it may have been a Class B, which are known to displace—
Donald: Two sentences later it says it’s a Class C lightweight frigate—
MA: I don’t think this line of questioning is going to help sell, I mean aid in enjoyment—
Donald: I mean, not to nitpick, but you severely overstate the amount of torque allowed by that motor type and I think you may have forgotten to carry a 1 or something when figuring the fuel efficiency—
CC: I don’t think this is going anywhere. We have a staff of fact-checkers to verify this stuff, do we not, Merle?
MA: Absolutely. They—
CC: And I will not be questioned as to the veracity of these claims! These are books written for enjoyment, and while I appreciate you bringing this to my attention—
DC: Dad, remember what doctor said about the stress—
CC: You’ll shut the hell up, Dirk. I splash your name on the book and what? You can’t even check these things out? They have to show up in public?
DC: But I can’t understand the fact-checkers. Merle outsourced that job. Venkater…man…swo… Have you talked to them? It’s like nothing gets through, no matter how loud or slow I talk—
Donald: I’d also like to point out that the Mary Celeste’s name is misspelled no fewer than 8 times between chapters 16-20. Sometimes as Marty, McLeste, Virgin Mary Celestine, Mary C. Less—
MA: This has been a problem, but I can assure—
CC: You can’t assure shit! You get a handle on this or I am out of here. The Silver Phantom is parked right outside, and I can drive it myself, believe it or not—
DC: It needs fixing. The door handle fell off when the chauffeur didn’t open my door. I had to get it myself because he was angry that I had been kicking his seat—
CC: Will you please refrain from talking? Please! I would like to see a return to some propriety here and I want that man out.

Dirk Cussler (left) making his dad happy by not talking; attempting to smile

Dirk Cussler (left) making his dad happy by not talking; attempting to smile

[some scuffling noises and a few protests, but it sounds like Donald leaves on his own terms]
Donald [somewhat faintly]: Fuck you, Clive! Do your research!

MA: I think we have time for a couple more, but let’s keep the questions fair, shall we?
Mark: Hi, Mark here. I was doing some research—
CC: [some sort of warning growl]
Mark: —and I came across some statements you had made concerning your naval knowledge. It reads, and I’m quoting here: “no one has time to do the research. It’s just the way it is. I’ve been cranking novel after novel for years without any issue. Here’s what you need to know. Ships float. Except when they don’t.”
CC: I don’t recall saying that…
Mark: Quite possibly not. The anecdote indicates that you were probably drunk. Anyway, I guess my question is more of a statement. Or an accusation. There seems to be some indication that your research is very weak to say the least—
CC: Get him out, Merle. Get him out or I send my idiot son out to your house for the weekend. I know the pets will probably rebound but I’m sure those repairs couldn’t have been cheap.
MA: I’m getting him out. You keep that little moron away from my house.

[At this point, we are left to deal with little more than some muffled talking, as Mark is presumably being escorted out. There is no parting shot from Mark, but there does seem to be arguing between CC and DC with only a couple of audible phrases. One from DC: …it would be happier with a saddle on it but then I think Merle scared it… One from CC: …Jesus Christ Almighty! I should have named you after a blunter object…]

[Some general concerned chatter resumes in background along with the Q&A, which Clive sadistically decides to continue.]

William: Hey, um… kind of a weird question… the Sparta book seems to have a lot, and I mean a lot, of homosexual overtones. Is this intentional?
CC: The fuck if I know. I barely read the damn things. Ask my son.
DC: I just wrote some stuff and then Paul (Kemprecos) edited it.
CC: Well, there you go. He’s Greek, for Christ’s sake. That explains that. Next question.
William: Actually, it’s in one of yours written with Dirk, according to Thriller in a Manila. I don’t think that Paul was involved—
CC: You have got to be fucking kidding me. Is anyone reading these things before they hit the shelf? I’ve got a brand to maintain. I should be getting drunk night after night and counting my money until my hangover goes away. I’m not going to micromanage this mill. Merle, you are about 30 seconds from hitchhiking home with Zorro the Gayblade over here. Let’s wrap this up. I don’t know why I even bother.
Did you all get a copy? I had better see more hands in the air. This is bullshit, Merle.
DC: Dad, dad. Let me get your pills—
CC: The only thing you need to get is few thousand more brain cells. I’ll just give God the benefit of a doubt and assumed they’re backordered. Get our stuff, Merle. You help too, monkeyboy.
DC: I would like to thank you all for coming. Merle and I appreciate your support—
CC: Put that fucking note down.

MA: I would like to take one more question.
CC: What? [inaudible] fired for [inaudible] complete abortion of [inaudible] your ass in a fucking sling [inaudible]
MA: [inaudible] resignation when I get back [inaudible] embarrassing yourself [inaudible] looks like about 10 years old [inaudible] this publicity [inaudible] asshole for not taking a child’s question.

Ma Cussler steps into the fray...

Ma Cussler steps into the fray...

CC: Alright. [very heavy sigh] One more. From the youngster towards the back?
Youngster: Is this the line for the Harry Potter midnight release?

[some crashing noises, yelps from the audience, a mic hits the ground with a burst of feedback]
[sound of fist hitting flesh]
[more noise, some indeterminate, a loud roar from Clive(?)]

[more smashing noises, shelf tipping over(?), concern has turned to near panic]

[loud thud, feedback, then silence]



  1. I’ve been jumping around your site a bit today and I just randomly decided to leave a comment on this post to damn you to hell for ruining my Infinite Summer. I cannot be expected to read David Foster Wallace’s excruciatingly long but well-constructed sentences and come here and read your excruciatingly long but excellently-researched, thought-provoking, and hysterics-inducing posts and still have time to like, say, feed my family and change diapers and shit.

    In short, I’d rather have a Capitalist Lion Tamer in front of me than a frontal lobotomy. For what it’s worth.

    • *cough*


    • Did you hear something? Maybe it was a draft… or the blog settling…

      Anyway, many many thanks on the kind words, BKT. I’m truly sorry to detain you from any thick tomes with my weighty and overly long postings. This one rang up a hefty 1700+ words, which puts it somewhere between “King” and “Wolfe” on the blogosphere scale.

      I started with only the questions pre-written. The dialog pretty much wrote itself, as anyone can clearly see.

      I just had to channel “Drunken Hack” for a bit. It’s my favorite channel. I know this because TiVo knows this.

    • Oh, hi Alan!

      We were just talking beside you…


    • Look, gentleman, there’s enough of me to go around. I was looking for an appropriate Mae West quote to put here, but they’re all just so full of innuendo and “if I (so much as) asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning.”

      Anyways, I adore you both. Thanks for the chuckles, and for the best damn Fight Club references this side of the Mississippi.

    • Mae West certainly rocked the innuendo. Her legacy lives on with The Todd.

      East of the Mississippi is Cussler territory. Nay, ye won’t be finding a Fight Club reference out there. That way lies madness.

  2. And also, you there, the one with the bronchial spasms? Surely you must know a hacked Dorothy Parker quote when you see it, and who in the world would that be directed at?

    Sheesh. 😉

    • Ha! Oh, you. 😉

      My guess? That hack Parker directed it a Mr. Benchley.

      Seriously though: “Trapped like a trap in a trap” is one of my all time favourite quotes.

  3. Hee hee…

    Dirk’s an insane giggler. They’re the best kind!

    Hee hee hee!

    • Yes, yes. Dirk probably just needs some heavy medication.

      If York’s awake, it must be well past America’s bedtime.

      Nice to see you, York.

  4. Another reason to not be ashamed of my illiteracy.

    • True that. And your local newspaper isn’t going to change that either.

      Buy it for the coupons.

      As the disciples said to their main man, it’s great to see your re-animated corpse up and around. Welcome back, RR.

  5. I never realized until now what Clive’s initials were. I also realized that if there was any shelf space left, my cover could brush against his.

    CLT, can you take one of your blogs, flesh it out just a little and write under the pen name Capitalist Cooper for me?

    • There will never be any shelf space left, what with Clancy trying to shove his way in as well.

      I could flesh my blog out a bit, I suppose. Are you suggesting some saucy photos?

      Great to see you, CC.

    • Do you have saucy photos? of??

      That wasn’t necessarily the flesh I was referring to, especially since I’ve seen many images of the Lion Tamer family and I already offered you an eraser. However, as long as it puts you on the shelf next to me, I’m totally in favor of saucy photos

    • I only have photos taken at saucy puppet shows, unfortunately. Marionettes, mainly, as hand puppets usually got the performers arrested.

  6. This is for real,right ?? Because if it is,I’m not suprised at all. Finally, we get to see what a complete asshole Cussler has always been. If it’s not for real,then, as we all, there’a lots of truth in humor….

    One thing I agree on—“Fuck you,Clive,do your research” !!!

    • Sorry about the delay in getting this cleared up. Been at work and all that.

      As to your question, in a way it can be true if you really want it to be true.

      In a much more accurate way, the “Fake News” tag it’s posted under tells it like it is.

      In my mind, Cussler is an arrogant and dismissive asshole. In all reality, he may be the nicest man in the world. But I think we would have heard something about his niceness if that were true, possibly from Reader’s Digest.

      The truth is probably somewhere in between. The same goes for his son, who can probably communicate clearly in the English language. Again, I don’t know.

      I’m glad you see the humor in this and thanks for agreeing on the research bit.

      Thanks for the comment, Nick. It’s great to see a new visitor to the site. Hopefully, you’ll be back.

      If you’d like to see another swing I took at Cussler, follow this link:


      Click forward one day to see a broad swipe at Tom Clancy.

  7. See I thought that you were shamming with the Dirk Clussler thing and dammit he exists. I am not just tarded, I am retarded. May the both of them roast in the sulfur bogs of hell. Hilarious.

    • He does exist, FJ, if only to do his master’s terrible bidding. Like Riff Raff or the Pope.

      Thanks for visiting, FJ.

    • If you see it in Fancy Plans, it is so.

      Fundamental Jelly, your little doubts were wrong. They have been affected by the rationality of a rational person living in an irrational age. They believe it isn’t possible that something could exist with such a little mind. All minds, Fundamental, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. Except our blogging circle. Those minds are big. In this great universe of ours Cussler is a mere insect, his son Dirk, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

      Yes, Fundamental, there is a Dirk Cussler. He exists as surely as Sophie Kinsella (not to be confused with Ray Kinsella) and J.K. Rowling exist, and you know damn well they are both better off than we with their royalties.Alas! The world would be too advanced for most people if there were no shitty writers making boatloads of money.

      Yadda, yadda, yadda…not believe in Dirk Cussler! You might as well not believe in the future of newspapers! Yadda, yadda…Scott Oglesby may tear apart Dirk’s head and see what makes the noise inside, but that doesn’t mean Dirk or his dad will wear veils and stop writing. Fairies. Nerk.

      That is all.

    • Well, I’m ready to start a riot now! On to the Barnes & Noble!

      Nicely done, BKT.

  8. I was at another stop on that book tour. The lawsuit is still pending so I can’t say much, but I’ll tell you Clive still has a decent right hook. All I did was ask his opinion on where the genre is headed with James Rollins solely at the helm.

    • I think it’s the watch. It gives his swing so much more quartz movement and momentum. Still, that doesn’t make your point any less valid.

      Great to see you, man-with-no-country. Have one on me (depending on local exchange rate, this could actually be .078 to 11,000). Great to see you, Scott.

  9. Clive Fucking Cussler. Rare to have a gerund for a middle name. Perhaps a nom de traitement de texte?

    • That is exactly what it is, Overconfident! Great call!

      I was looking for those exact words but a few hours of channeling C.F. Cussler had left me with only dirty nautical terms in the grey matter.

      Thanks for the comment, OC. I may have to borrow that indefinitely.

  10. Thanks! I’m not allowed to clip coupons, because I can’t stay inside the lines and I stabbed myself in the thigh cutting a major artery, thus killing myself and therefore causing a even more expensive reanimation process to bring me back.

    • I remember double-coupon day at the Rooster compound back in ’07. The streets ran red with blood.

  11. […] Hammett. Both phrases have been subsequently beaten to death by many authors since, most notably Clive Cussler and his nearly-sentient offspring, Dirk Cussler.  "Insiders noted that De Niro looked 'puffy' and […]

  12. Hey, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you! Thank you for your Thank you For Best Content
    Books Nora Roberts Books Store

    • Nora Roberts has been through pretty much the same thing, only instead of a coattail-riding scion, it was a bunch of pastel flowers.

  13. I think Jacqueline Bisset is still surprisingly hot, considering she’s now a senior citizen. But I have a weakness for British accents and gals who underwater dive in white T-shirts, so my judgment may be clouded.

    • Careful there. You’ll incur the wrath of a presumably drunken/strung-out Peter Benchley. If Cussler’s any indication, these authors are a fiesty and possibly sueable bunch.

    • Pshaw! I can take that Benchley bitch any day…especially if the stakes are some fine tail.

  14. The real story here is Thomas – I really feel bad for the guy. Imagine growing up with XXXXXXXX for a last name. What is that anyway? Estonian?

    • I think you’re right, VAGB. The high level corruption in Estonia has destroyed their economy, leaving many families unable to buy a vowel.

  15. This interview is full of slanderous untruths. It should be removed immediately. Peter Benchley never owned a “mansion” in London; he never had a shrine to Jacqueline Bisset; he never had an “unhealthy collection of pornography;” and the only reason he took prescribed drugs was to control the pain of debilitating orthopedic problems. If Clive Cussler thinks it is amusing to sling about outrageous lies like these, he had better re-think. Both he and the publishers of this interview need to issue retractions.

    • Nat –

      I think your real beef should be with Cussler. After all, if the above interview is true, then Clive Cussler should be held responsible for the comments he made.

      In the meantime, I can at least edit those lines per your information. This will be appended to the post in the near future:

      “Contrary to the inflammatory statements above, Peter Benchley never purchased a mansion in London, thus failing to properly enshrine Ms. Bisset. His pornography collection was considered ‘healthy’ as was his use of prescribed painkillers.”

      Further questions can be sent to me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.


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