Introducing Author Michael Cavallo
Well, everyone. You won’t want to miss this week’s zany interview with author Michael Cavallo, the author of Michael Did What? You can read my review of the book here. Mike is a funny guy and the great lengths his character goes to to prove to the world how wonderful he is makes for a light read. I found myself laughing more than once. You will too. (Be sure to check out the links at the end of the interview – Michael has a money-saving coupon for you!
Interview with Michael Cavallo
What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?
I don’t really have one. Life just kinda gets in the way. I’m married, with two kids, a house, and that keeps be busy. Aside from writing and marketing, “Michael Did What?” I’ve been mentally kicking around a few ideas for my next book. For now, “Michael Did What?” takes most of my free time. That, and trying to keep those little cups on top of the NyQuil bottles. They’re always disappearing, and it’s up to me to restore order to the medicine cabinet. Can you consider that a pastime?
Who are you as a writer?
Simply put, I’m really just going for a laugh, and there are few rules to that. (One is to refer to bad 80’s TV shows a lot. What the heck was Hart to Hart about anyway?) I’m trying to keep the reader a little off balance so they never really know what to expect. I like to use a variety of techniques, each in a different way, and without a discernible pattern. I like to hit the reader with a joke about F. Murray Abraham and two stalks of celery when they least expect it.
What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?
As a writer, I think it’s awesome. It gives every author an opportunity, which is all one can ask for. It’s also a ton of work, and full of scams. (The Ultra-Golden-Ruby-Premium Marketing package will help you to sell 3 million books in the first 3 days alone! By Thursday, Lindsay Lohan will be cast in the movie version, provided she posts bail! Just send $400 now, and an address where your groupies should loiter!)
I’m self-published on Amazon, so I’m more familiar with that than the others, but I did do my homework. It takes so much time and effort to get your book noticed, but if it’s good, it will be shared, and you’re on your way. Competition is tremendous, as even the most popular writers give their books away for free or 99 cents from time to time. It can be rewarding though, once you invest the time and effort into learning how to utilize the industry, and filter out the nonsense.
As a reader, it can be just as much work separating the good writing from the not so good. You can find some good work in whatever niche you’re into, and you may have to sift through a lot of titles. I’m not sure the world needs a 450 page tome dedicated to the proper storage of garden hoses, (and 67 ways to coil them!) but at least the choice is there. Worst case scenario, you’ve wasted a dollar.
Have you ever ghostwritten? Would you? Why?
It isn’t something that I’ve really considered, but I would love to do it. I think I’d have a great ability to help someone crystallize their thoughts, and inject some humor into their story. I understand Fidel Castro’s English isn’t so good, and, let’s face it, he isn’t known for his humor. I could help to soften his image in his golden years. This could be a win-win for both of us! Do his henchmen read this blog? Maybe then I’ll have henchmen too. That’s when you know you’ve made it.
I’m not sure I have an all-time favorite book. If I had to pick one, Our Dumb World from the Onion would probably be it. Who satirizes an atlas, anyway? Brilliant! Probably a million one-liners in that book. Also America, the Book, by John Stewart. Great sound bites, blurbs, ridiculous comments in a spoofed textbook. A textbook I can scribble in if I want to! I guess I see these as revenge from years of Catholic grammar school.
Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful? Why or why not?
Of course not. A writer only needs a bunch of crap bouncing around inside of his head, a need to get it out, and the means to do so. See those people wandering around Manhattan muttering to themselves, oblivious to the world around them? Those are unwritten books, trying to get out.
You are camping in a tent in the woods. A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent. What do you do?
First, I unzip the flap as patiently and gingerly as possible, sometimes taking upwards of six hours, so as not to draw undue attention upon myself. If the roaring still persists, I will then attempt to distract the roarmaker, usually by screaming like a little bitch. I do this as I make a bee-line for the cooler, and bravely attempt to liberate as many cans of beer as possible, while cursing myself for not finishing them the night before. I will then head towards the car, which, because of the Rules of Scary Movies, is wwwwaaaaaayyy off in the opposite direction. Immediately thereafter, I drop one of the cans, and am faced with a dilemma: Continue on, and enjoy the juice of my labor in the comfort of my ’72 Pinto? Or do I risk it all to go back for the lone ale, reminding myself that people are sober in China? Being as eco-conscious as I am, I make an about face to rescue the lone straggler. This is when, as the Rules of Scary Movies dictate, that the hideous beast emerges from the brush, and the race—full of close-ups, and in slow motion—begins for real. Realizing that if something works, you should stick with it, I then enter Phase II of my plan, namely, screaming like a BIG banshee. The higher pitch and frequency of this brilliant and manly plan usually works to perfection, and within moments I’m sipping a cold one from inside my car, while the defeated monster fogs my window with his rapid panting. All that’s left to do, as the camera pans back, is give that squirrel the finger. Fade to black, roll credits.*
*No squirrels were hurt during the answering of this question.
What is your greatest asset? Why?
That’s easy. My sense of humor. I’ve learned to find the humor in almost any situation, including the most difficult ones. That’s not to say you can avoid your responsibilities, or neglect to do the tough things that need to be done, but I always try to find a way to laugh while doing them. Many people may feel that you can’t be serious about something and maintain a sense of humor about it at the same time. They feel it’s either/or. I’ve laughed in the dentist’s chair, emergency room, and funeral homes. If I can help other people to laugh while in those situations, that’s even better.
What do you treasure most on earth?
That’s a bit tougher. I’d have to say life itself. The process of life, of growing and evolving. Just watching life unfold, and taking from it what you can, and being thankful for it. Most people can look back on difficult times and see how it made them grow, and then appreciate it. If I can accelerate that process, and experience gratitude during the difficult times, then I’ve taken a tremendous step. I have done that. The trick is to do it consistently. That, and pepper-jack cheese. The mild cheese is deliciously offset by the spiciness of the jalapenos. It’s like there’s a party in my mouth.
What did you like to do as a child? Favorite games, pastimes, friends, etc.
I played hockey a lot, usually as a goalie. There’s was nothing like it. When I’m focused, nothing else exists except that puck. I wouldn’t feel cold, or tired, or worry my car insurance is due. Time would sometime slow down, and I’d see the play a few seconds before it unfolded. Other times, it would speed up, and I’d have no recollection of plays after the game. The outside world would just cease to exist.
What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus-far on your writing journey?
I’d have to say the confidence I’ve gained, just learning to open up a bit, and put myself out there. You immediately set yourself up for criticism, and need to understand it comes with the territory. And this is just from a simple joke book, it’s not like I’ve published my personal memoirs. Of course, the positive feedback helps too.
How important is being successful as a writer to you?
I enjoy making people laugh, so that is my primarily goal. If I can do that, and make a few bucks, even better. What I don’t enjoy is the constant work promoting, and marketing the book. In a perfect world, I’d have an army of minions to take care of that.
The genie is going to grant you three wishes. What are they?
Well, the most obvious answer is for world peace, but I don’t want to sound like a desperate Miss America contestant. Another would be for my kids to get along, but this would not be possible without supernatural intervention. They could rule the entire Earth, and they’d still fight. Stuff like:
One son: “This is MY ocean! Why don’t you go play in the Atlantic?!?”
Other son: “But I saw it first! I want to play here!”
Either son: “Moooommm!”
The other two wishes? I don’t know. Can I donate them to charity?
You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want. Describe the day (money is no object)
Money is no object? What about resurrecting the dead? If that isn’t an object, then I’d go drinking with Jim Morrison. I would describe the day in great detail, but unfortunately I’d have no recollection of it. Trust me, we had a good time.
Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?
I’d have to say Douglas Adams, and Dave Barry. Dave Barry could write an article about any topic, and take it in any direction within 3 paragraphs. No matter where he went with it, it was hilarious. Adams too, but he’d build a full novel around it. I also have a tiny (3 inch square, hardcover) book on my desk about the New York Mets. I don’t know the title, but it’s the crappiest book I have ever come across. About 30 pages, with one ‘fact’ on each page. The thing is, the facts aren’t even impressive. Stuff like, “Mike Piazza hit 2 doubles against L.A. on August 9, 2001.” From a major publisher, with a price of $7.99. An average fan could do better right of the top of their head. I’m not sure where I got it, but keep it as inspiration. If this book can be published and sold, I can challenge the Bible.
Readers, I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview as much as I have. Please leave Michael a comment to let him know you stopped by! If you’d like to find out more about Michael Cavallo (who wouldn’t?) check out his links below: