Cal o Cal, Author of Midnight’s Chicken, on how to make it in Germany

Please meet Cal o Cal, author of Midnight’s Chicken. We recently met during a dinner event where Cal was telling me about his very recently published collection of satirical short stories. These stories are somehow interconnected and are based on Cal’s personal experiences and observations during his travels.

ANDRA: Cal, I did download your eBook from Amazon the same evening we met. I treat it like a box of fine chocolates—I enjoy one piece at a time. How are the sales going so far? Is that you on the cover?

Cal o Cal, global citizen and author of Midnight’s Chicken
Private Photograph

Cal o Cal: The sales have been very good. Better than I expected. People are still reading so I guess I will know what they think in couple of months. Yes, that’s me on the cover.

ANDRA: You call yourself a “global citizen,” having travelled more than 80% of the countries on this planet. How come you ended up in Munich? You have been living here for quite a while, haven’t you?

Cal o Cal: I came to Munich due to my relationship with someone from Munich. It’s been over ten years since I moved here.

ANDRA: What was your impression of Germany when you first arrived and how has your perception changed—if so?

Cal o Cal: I always had a great interest in Germany. In spite of some of the historical setbacks, I always held Germans in high regard due to their work ethic, quality conscience, and their contributions in the fields of science, arts, music, medicine, philosophy etc. I still consider them as some of the most trustworthy people. Germany is evolving. While some of the stereotypes still hold true, they are mostly used in humor nowadays.

ANDRA: Well, I liked what you said about German women and how they are like potatoes. You really have a talent for explaining the most complex issues in a comprehensive and illustrative way. I thought I was the only person in the world who was using dedicated ink-colours for each kind of task I add to my calendar (pink: work; green: leisure-time…), and yes—long-term planning is of utmost importance to many Germans. Is there anything you wouldn’t do that the German’s are known for doing?

Cal o Cal: Yeah, I will never book my flight ticket for 2017 Christmas vacation in 2015 because I am saving a few euros. And I will never eat a sandwich with a fork and a knife.

ANDRA: That night we met, when I was asking for the cheque in this restaurant, right after I had finished my meal, you were pulling my leg. It was so packed, my fear was I might be stuck in there for hours when everybody intended to leave some time later. Would you say that I did display some “typical” German behaviour or would that rather reflect my personality? I mean, the other three Germans at our table even left before the waitress showed up for the very first time….

Cal o Cal’s Midnight’s Chicken must not be confused with the famous novel Midnight’s Children written by bestselling author Salman RushdieCal o Cal: Well it was in a way an example of one of the stereotypes Germans are known for. While you displayed one of the German qualities which foreigners make fun of, I do not think most Germans are like that either. It is not a reflection of your personality in particular either but rather a trait of some of the Germans. I have known many Germans who are as relaxed as anybody else as well. Like I said, Germans are evolving.

ANDRA: Any advice you would like to give to somebody who first arrives in Germany? Any special things one would have to know when you come to Bavaria (editor’s note: Bavaria is the state where Munich is located, Oktoberfest and so on…)?

Cal o Cal: Again, in my own twisted sarcastic way, I have written in my book loads about how Germans are in general and Bavarians in particular. I myself am a prime example of someone who arrived in this beautiful country and lived through and survived the whole experience and am still around to tell my story. One advice, get a Lederhosen if you are a guy, or a Dirndl as soon as you arrive in Bavaria if you want to become part of local culture and appreciate it. You will be amazed how much more the Germans will respond when you make an effort to get involved in their traditions.

ANDRA: Cal, according to your profile on Amazon, you feel you belong everywhere and you belong nowhere. Therefore–we learn–you enjoy picking on everybody equally. Can you explain?

Cal o Cal: Yes, I consider myself a global citizen and therefore look at everybody as part of one big global family. Family members can often look past the differences and have the license to poke fun at each other without actually offending each other. I like to live in a world where everybody could say things without being too sensitive about every word being said. I believe we should celebrate our differences with a sense of humor.

ANDRA: That sounds nice, now I understand. One last question: Why did you decide to self-publish? I there any advice you would like to give to others playing with that thought?

Cal o Cal: Well, I think the publishing business has evolved in recent years and has given the independent author both freedom and control on how and who he wants his writings to reach without being rejected. Self publishing is a good tool to test the pulse of the readers before going for traditional printed publishing methods. In fact, any author can offer both electronic and printed versions without having a publisher. The only difference is, you will have to find your own way to reach the audience, while in traditional publishing, the publisher will take care of it.

ANDRA: Cal, thank you so much for your time and good luck with your book.

Midnight’s Chicken is a collection of satirical short stories that are somehow interconnected and are based on author’s personal experiences and observations during his travels, and while living in Germany. Using Munich as his base, the author takes you on a sojourn around the world where fact, fantasy, and fiction come together in a bizarre concoction of life in Bavaria, God, chicken, cheese, beer, fortune cookies, Germans, dirndls, dinosaurs, loch ness monsters, yellow pants, Buddha, Genghis Khan and Dalai Lama. It is neither a travel guide nor a travelogue. In this first leg of the journey, the author takes you through Germany, India, Burma, Philippines, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mongolia, Tibet, Scotland, Portugal and Spain.

Cal o Cal can be contacted via Facebook under the same name.


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