Friday, December 27, 2013

Interview with Joseph & Marisha Cautili.

Full Name:
Joseph Cautilli and Marisha Cautili

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
Joe & Mish, Misha.

Philadelphia, PA for both.

Current hometown:

Favorite city and why?
Joe- Philadelphia, as I get older I appreciate my home more.
Marisha- Philadelphia because it is so historical.
It is pretty historical, isn’t it?
Marisha: Yes, Independence Hall is filled with history.  The Liberty Bell is also there.  City Hall is pretty, I went to the top.  It is largest brick building in the world. Other buildings are larger but not made of brick.

Birthday / Age:
Joe: 5/1/67, Marisha 8/24/05

How would you describe yourself physically?
Joe: I am big. I see myself as being somewhat out of shape but I used to be in shape.
Marisha: Athletic- I am a gymnast, swimmer, and soccer player. I do karate and archery.
It’s interesting to see two people on opposite ends of the physical fitness spectrum.  Maybe if Joe tried a bit more gymnastics and swimming he’d be in better shape!
Joe: At my age of 47, I worry that physical fitness could be a short cut to the grave.  I walk a lot but try to keep strenuous work to a minimal.

How would someone else describe you physically?
Joe- I try not to think of that….
Marisha- I am in good shape but I don’t know why that question is on the list.
Marisha, some people realize that people sometimes see them differently than they see themselves and some interviewees have fun with the question.

Religion, if any?

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
Joe: Nothing.
Marisha: Heights and nightmares.

Current occupation / Dream job:
Joe: Psychologist
Marisha: Dreams of being a zookeeper.
Joe, do you find that working as a psychologist helps with your writing?
Marisha, you should find out if you can spend a day with a zookeeper and see what they do.  It couldn’t hurt to ask, might be fun, and would definitely be a learning experience!
Joe: I would say so.  I enjoy my work as a psychologist.  I have worked with many populations from severely autistic children to adults with schizophrenia, combat related issues, and even those in prison.  I have spoke first hand with people who have killed and people who felt that they may die.  It does give you an interesting experience base to draw from when writing.
Marisha: I would love to spend time with a zookeeper.  I met some of the workers at Philadelphia zoo, when I was younger.  We used to have season passes and it was a lot of fun.  I play World of Zoo on Wii and it allows me to see what needs to be done in caring for animals.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Joe: Write fiction, guide my daughter in Cyber School, fishing and sleeping.
Marisha: Watching television.
Does Marisha go to cyber school exclusively?  Like kind of a home-schooling thing?
Joe: Yes and no.  She goes for her public education completely to Cyber School.  She takes all the classes as far as her academics there but she also goes to a Polish language/cultural school on Saturday.  There she learns Polish (my wife’s first language) and she learns Catholicism.
On the second part of the question, it is school at home but not home schools per se.  Homeschoolers create their own curriculums for their children.  Marisha logs on and does the curriculum for the school.  In addition, I serve as her academic guide but she has a teacher, who grades her online tests and gives her feedback on her homework.  Marisha engages in discussions with her teachers via blackboard.  She even has virtual classes for her gifted support.
Cyber School has offered Marisha a lot.  Not having to compete for teacher time, she has been able to really advance through the curriculum.  At 8 years old she is halfway through the fifth grade.  In addition, she has been able to take a number of elective courses including 2 semesters of Spanish and German.  She is now taking French.  She has had typing and now has digital photography.
That’s amazing!

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Joe: Hold down the fort.  Ensure that there is a huge wall between me and the zombies and work on getting the items needed for survival.
Marisha: Do what my dad tells me to do. Build “Robots” fight with the “Robots” teach the “Robots” language.  Make a suit of armor (I love Samus in Meteoroid).  Harvest crops raise the Animals and eat the Animals.
I like where you’re going with the whole “Robot” thing.  Guess I’ll have to check out your books!
Joe: Thanks.  We appreciate all sales!

Weapon of choice:
Joe: Tire iron, nail gun, flashlight, & Deawo shot gun.
Marisha: Bow and arrow, yo-yo, Baseball bat.

Do you have any special skills?
Joe: I was an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). I have had some survival training (years ago) and when I was a much younger man, I was a pretty good shot.
Marisha: Shoot bow and arrow.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
Joe: I went to college for psychology with a minor in biology.  I did a master’s degree in counseling and then a second in applied behavior analysis.  I did a Ph.D in school psychology and a post doctoral master’s degree in clinical psychopharmacology.
Marisha: No. I am eight.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
Family pet – Sandels
And what is “Sandels”?
Marisha: Sandels is our cat.  She is black American short hair.  She is very cute.

What is your favorite animal?
Joe: None.
Marisha: Anything cute.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Joe:  When people wake me up after I have fallen asleep.  When my daughter imitates me.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
Joe Favorite foods- frozen yogurt (chocolate), sushi, and most foods.
Marisha favorite: Pasta
Marisha least favorite: Sushi

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
Joe: So many.  Hard to chose one – maybe Franklin “We either hang together or surely we will hang alone.”
Marisha: It’s now or never.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
Joe: I married my wife Halina and then my wife had our daughter Marisha about a year later.  After that, I would have to say building my business - Behavior Analysis and Therapy Partners.
Marisha: When I passed out of gym one and into gym 2.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Joe: High cholesterol.  I had to change my whole diet around.  Also, reactive airway disorder was pretty bad.  I taught at the university level for year.  When I got the reactive airway, it made it tough to lecture without coughing.  Now I teach online.
Marisha: Last year I lost my goggles in a swimming competition.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Joe: I have had so many broken hearts, it is not worth talking about.  I think I might hold the record on getting dumped after long term relationships.
Marisha: No.
Oddly enough, I think “Give it time.” is a decent response for both answers.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
Joe: I built seven journals in behavior analysis online.  I sold those journals to the APA.  It felt great to have my work recognized.
Marisha: Not really sure might have been all the work I have completed on the book but I know I have better books to do.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
Joe: I was pretty mean to some co-workers when I was younger.  I think I could be ruthless.
Marisha: When I somewhat messed up my room. I jumped a lot and cracked the ceiling.

If you could kill one person, consequence free, who would it be and why?
Joe: I would never kill anyone.  Not really my style.  When life is going good, you generally don’t think of killing others.
Marisha:  No. No-one.

What do you do?
Joe: I own a company.  We treat adults and children for psychiatric issues and developmental disabilities.  I also write.
Marisha: I swim and do gym and karate. I love going to Florida in the winter.  I write.

How did you get started doing what you do?
Joe: I use to write with my friends in high school and I wrote some cyberpunk stories in college.  I started writing recently with my daughter.  It was away for her to practice writing for her state test.  We had pretty structured writing sessions.  I would give her a half sentence lead and then she would look at it for a minute and write for 3 minutes. Finally she would edit for one minute.  She produced about 50 words each time.  She did about 3-4 a day.  I would take the writing sample and then try to expand it into our outline for the story.  It is how we wrote both Zombies vs. Robots and Zombies vs. Robots 2: Out of the rubble.
Marisha: It was fun writing with my dad.  We sometimes clash when we look at what we have written but overall it is fun.
Well, creative clashing often occurs whenever you collaborate on a project with another author.  As long as the clashing creates something better than it would have been without the clashing then it’s a positive and productive part of the creative process.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Joe: When you write stories, it is about the characters.  No matter if it is horror, sci-fi or drama.  I used to tell people when I write, that I write about people, and also my books have some monsters in them.  Create strong characters that people can bond with emotionally and then go from there.
Marisha:  I think that it is very important to come up with a good idea.  Give people something that makes them want to read the book.  You want a lot of action but too much action can wear people out.
Good advice.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.
Joe: We have completed Zombies vs Robots & Zombies vs. Robots 2: Out of the Rubble.  We are working on Zombies vs Robots 3: Emma’s Army.
Marisha: The same as above.  We are working also on the third book.  This is the tell all book.  All the mysteries in the book are revealed.

What projects are you working on now?
Joe: I am working on a book with James Andrews.  It is a book that is more along the lines of a futuristic detective novel and Marisha and I have another project.
Marisha: Our other project is about 12 princesses who have birthstone dragons each and tigers.  It is much more fantasy than this book.

What are you watching?
Joe: I like to watch the sci-fi channel.  I liked Robot Combat League.  I also like Being Human, Haven, and Continuum.
Marisha: I like watching mostly cartoons.  I like Spongebob and Sam and Kat, iCarley (which is no longer).  On Sci-fi, I loved Faceoff and Robot Combat League.

What are you listening to?
Joe: I listen to all types of music.  I like music that has emotions and makes a person feel something.  I like songs that tell stories, especially sad stories.  I love old blues, as well as classical songs like Tony Bennett.
Marisha: Music is a big part of my life. I love everything from jazz to classical and rock music.

What are you reading?
Joe: I love to read Stephen King books.  I like his writing style.  I loved the Stand.  Clive Barker was another of my favorite authors.
Marisha: I read the Hunger Games and really liked all three books.  I just finished Divergent.  Right now, I am reading Insurgent, which is book two of Divergent.
I met Clive Barker when I was coordinating a horror convention in Los Angeles, and he was a really sweet man and quite appreciative of his fans.  I hope to meet Stephen King someday before the opportunity is no longer available
Joe: Both are such awesome writers.  They are very insightful in their writing.

Favorite band / song?
Joe: I listen to so many songs.  I liked one by Tony Bennett “When Joanna Loved Me.”  I also liked a song that was done by Ray Charles but was remade with Ray Charles and Tony Bennett - Evenin
Marisha: My favorite song is Roar by Katie Perry.

Least favorite band / song?
Joe: I really don’t have a least favorite. I grew up on a steady diet of Hard Core pun, grunge, and thrash metal- so I guess I really have learned to have a range.
Marisha: Johnny Mathis’s Christmas song.  I love Christmas music but he just don’t seem to have it.  I really like TransSyberian Orchestra’s Christmas Eve Seravo.  It has a lot of power to it. 

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
Joe: Other than writing?  I am doing it.  Being a psychologist, spending time with my wife, and raising my kid.
Marisha: I like a lot of video games and would love to work as a game tester. I also would love to spend all day in the pool swimming.
Marisha, what are some of your favorite video games?
Marisha: I have gone through quite a few games.  Super Mario Brothers was for a while but most recently it is Monopoly Streets.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met? You get three choices:
Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Joe: I would love to meet Stephen King.  He has written for so long he has defied the horror genera.  Gibson because his work was very creative and insightful.  I was asked by a friend- “What happened to cyberpunk? Did it die.”  I told him no, we are living in the cyberpunk world now.  In many ways, it happened.  Huge powerful corporations. Governments so corrupt they cannot put those corporations in check.  Environment badly damaged.  Unique technologies that have revolutionized our lives but still a very uncertain future.  The world is certainly not the Gene Roddenberry sci-fi utopia.  In some ways, most people worry a zombie apocalypse could really happen - not in the sense of decayed and rotting people but people who are morally decayed and rotting on the inside - leading the world to a final destruction.  While overall, I am not so pessimistic about the future, the demons there are worth exploring.
Marisha: Jennifer Laurence- she played Katnisis in the Hunger Games and Catching Fire.  Ben Franklin- because he was left handed like me, smart and a great inventor, and did experiments with electricity.  President Barak Obama- because he is a caring person and the 44th president of the United States.

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
Joe: I was a Nealson rater.  It was fun.  It only gave me five dollars but it was an excuse to watch television.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
Joe: I believe that our books show a unique view of the future.  They offer scientific and survivalist ways to meet life challenges.  Our book tends to get missed a lot by people but so far, those who red it have been overwhelmingly positive.  Kaarle Kulvik is using a script we wrote, which takes place between chapter 21 & 22 of the first book for a movie.  The script is sort of a helicopter goes down and the characters of our book go out to save them.  It was a lot of fun writing the script.  I think it will be a great short movie.
Marisha: I want people to know that our stories are very creative.  They are about real people.  I think when some people hear the title they think Sharknado but really our books are much more interesting than that.  It is telling that 13 of the 14 reviews on Amazon for book one now are 5 start.  One comment I like is that the book is unique to the genre.
That’s funny, because I hung out with the director of Sharknado last October and he said that he thought that when some people hear the title they think Robots vs. Zombies.  Okay, he didn’t, but I’m sure he’d appreciate the mention regardless
Joe: Funny!

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
Some Indie authors who write in this general are:
A.P Fuch
Phillip Tomasso III
David P Forsyth
Andrea Savar
Anna Stevenson
Derrick LaCombe

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote.   All of them.
Zombies vs Robots
and Zombies vs Robots 2: Out of the Rubble:

Zombies vs Robots 2:

Also the e-book of the original Zombies vs Robots:

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre has probably read everything you've read and can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces Electronic Music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
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