Thursday, 3 May 2012

Interrogating Joe Cawley

My 19th interrogation is with Joe Cawley, who will slap you with a wet haddock if you don't enjoy this interview.

How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromise you make, if any?

I don’t.
If you come up with a good story, if it’s written in an amenable and engaging tone, you can snag readers with any subject matter. Having said that, my next book isn’t going to be about the history of nose trimmers or 100 things to do with a carrot. Just not my bag. As a writer, if you’re passionate enough about what you’re writing, that will come across and once people know that about you, they will want to read it.

What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in?

The leap.
I write humour, and never cease to be amazed how my inky patterns arranged a certain way on a piece of paper or screen can jump the ether, reach inside a stranger’s brain and cause it to fire impulses that cause a physical reaction ie jiggling with laughter.
I find it a huge challenge to get in ‘the zone’, but once there, you feel like a magician. Very few things give me more pleasure than watching somebody laugh at something I’ve written. Except almonds. Oh... and Mr. Matey bubble bath.

Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

Too many of them.
After 12 years of keeping notes in notebooks, scraps of paper, index cards then forgetting where I put them all, I’ve finally started using a filing cabinet. Now, if I can only find where I put the filing cabinet...
Seriously though, I’m a huge believer in note-taking. Mainly because my memory is so crap, but also because through my travel writing experience, the more notes you have, the less effort it takes when it comes to sitting down and actually putting the whole thing together. I make notes on people I see, random things I hear, emotions I feel - everything. I also use my iPhone notepad, which is nifty as it’s always with me. Unlike a pen or pencil, which causes huge embarrassment when people find out you’re a journalist.

How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with?

It’s all of me.
More Ketchup than Salsa is about my own journey from working in fish innards on a cold Lancashire market to buying and running a bar in a sunny holiday resort abroad so what you read is me. It’s not necessarily the ‘me’ that I’d like it to be though. I’d actually prefer to have the guts and confidence of my partner, Joy (also in the book), but hey-ho... you can’t have everything. I got the anxiety, she got the looks.

Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

She is.
...married to one of my characters that is (see above).Bbut then again, she’s one of my characters too, which is not easy. I’m currently writing the follow-up to More Ketchup than Salsa, which covers a particularly turbulent time in our relationship so I’ve vowed to let Joy vet it if she feels she’s either not been well-represented or it digs too deep on a personal level.
In general though, she’s highly supportive of my writing endeavours and understands completely when I yank the duvet off in the middle of the night and plod half-asleep to my computer to jot down an idea I’ve just had. “You carry on, love,” she whispers. Or at least that’s what I hear in my dreams.

What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

Pretty much.
I usually have four or five books on the go at the same time. It’s like music... there are different moods for different styles. I’ve always got a non-fiction book on the go as I love to be constantly learning. I also have a humour book half-read on my Kindle, though I’m not a great laugher, more of a sniggerer. I love well-written fiction, especially horror or adventure, but there’s an awful lot of garbage out there that you have to wade through to find the nuggets.
To get back to the question, I guess I do like reading the same genre that I write, which is mainly non-fiction humour.

What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

I threaten people with fish.
Subtle threats, mind... like ‘buy my book or I’ll slap you about the head with a wet kipper’. Seems to work. Even online, where the odds on me actually cyber-slapping somebody with a kipper, wet or not, are remote to say the least.

How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

But thankful. I’m very appreciative of anybody who takes the time to contact me to point our either good or bad.. Thankfully it’s mostly the former, but perhaps I’d be a bit less hasty with the send/receive button if I knew I was in for a deluge of bitterness and English lessons.
It’s a lonely job being a writer, so I love feedback, even if it’s to tell me that I’m an eedjut who can’t spell.

What is on your near horizon?

A world full of writing.
Completing the follow-up to More Ketchup than Salsa is a priority and one that should be accomplished within the next couple of months. After that, the success of getting to number one in Kindle travel and number 4 in Kindle humour has spurred me on to get to the point where I can drop all other writing work and concentrate on full-time e-book writing.

Where can we find you for more information?

My blog:

My Facebook page:

My Twitter account:!/theWorldofJoe

My Wattpad page: 

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