Today Jungle Red Writers welcomes Wayne Pollard, author of Bo’s Café Life, his look at the writing life through the eyes of Bo, an aspiring novelist. Bo spends his time in a café writing and talking to other writers who are also on the quest to get a book deal. Take it away Wayne!
WAYNE: I became a writer by choice – just not mine. I was fired from my last position as the marketing director of a software company. Believing that I should live each day as if it was my last, I gave the president of the company a piece of my mind. This made it rather awkward for me when, apparently, I didn’t die that night.
After I got fired I was angry and I used this to write an article that was published in CIO (Chief Information Officer). CIO was a difficult magazine to get published in and the editor I worked with told me that as a writer, I was either very good or very lucky. That’s when I realized that I was a writer.
Although I created Bo’s Café Life, I am not a cartoonist; I am a writer who’s pretty damn good at drawing cups. I use the cups as a means of showing the strip’s setting: a café.
Like Bo, I spend a lot of time writing in cafés. I go to a café nearly every day and there are two things I know for sure. First, never have two large coffees and a bran muffin before sitting on an hour-long bloggers panel. Second, cafés are not just about the coffee.
I write in cafés because they make me feel more creative. And if I don’t feel more creative, at least I look more creative. Yes, the coffee in cafés can be overpriced, but it’s worth it. I’ve considered trading down but my muse doesn’t do fast food.
Just prior to creating Bo’s Café Life I was feeling down because another agent had decided not to represent me. I wasn’t surprised; I had written a satire about the civil rights movement that guaranteed I wouldn’t get a book deal. I was sitting in a café, telling my frustrations to a chai latte and a blueberry muffin, when the idea of writing a comic strip that takes place in a café hit me.
I knew that I wouldn’t be very good at drawing faces: I wanted to stick with drawing cups. I remembered seeing a few Doonesbury strips that didn’t have people in them, just dialogue and a drawing of something, such as the White House. So, I knew that strips without people had been done before and that I could do it, too. I’ve always liked reading about the relationships between famous writers, such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I wanted to capture some of that but with humor.
Bo’s Café Life is primarily about determination and persistence; Bo is determined to get a book deal. That’s what the strip is really about, pushing on with a dream despite the tremendous odds you face. And Bo will keep trying.
Good luck to you and Bo! Read more comic strips here. And Wayne and Bo are standing by to take your comments and questions.