Interviews

A Conversation with Joelle "Wendy" Cohen Wright on her new book “A Soh It Goh!”

Written by Xavier Murphy

This week we interview  Joelle “Wendy “ Cohen Wright who recently penned her second book “A Soh It Goh!”. Joelle “Wendy” Cohen Wright is fast becoming one of the Caribbean’s well-loved comedy writers. With her irrepressible sense of humor and a flair for dramatics, Joelle’s writing style has the right comedic timing that is sure to induce laughter through her storytelling abilities in Jamaican patois. Her first book “A Soh Wi Do It!” was a resounding success.  Many of her ‘Jamaicanized’ stories and original sketches have been ‘viral’ on the Internet for several years. Many who have read her work has been known to laugh uncontrollably from the hilarious portrayal of the characters in the sketches. Wendy’s impressive writing portfolio includes the very funny Jamaicanized version of the Titanic, Cinderella (Punchinella) and  the sketch on the American Airline crash in Jamaica. Her work is featured in the Jamaicans.com forums and  “Wendy’s Story Corner”   for over 13 years and also enjoyed by many around the world. Here is our conversation with Wendy.

When we caught up with you last you just published your first book. Now you are on your second book. Tell about this book?
-    My second book, “A Soh It Goh!” is a hilarious sequel to the first book.  The book broadly represents the humorous side of Jamaicans as they go about their daily lives on the island. The collection of stories portrays characters that are humorous, entertaining and relatable to our everyday lives. The readers will be guaranteed a hearty belly full of laughs non-stop.   

How different is the second book from your first book?
-    The only difference in this book is that all the characters and stories are new. Two new series introduced – Taxi Tales and Yaad Dog Vs Farrin Dog. One other notable difference is that the book is thicker than the first. I got carried away with the length of the stories. (LOL)

You have been doing the media rounds and meeting different people in the media, entertainment and book industry. Apart from your interview with us (DWL), what has been a pinch yourself moment so far?
-    My pinch myself moment was my chat with “Barry G” on Jamaica Mello FM. Simple because I have been listening to him since I was in my mother’s womb. Well, not that long – but you get the point. He is a truly broadcast icon and I was a little star struck when I was on air with him. I don’t even remember what I said in that interview! Still waiting for him to send me the transcript so I can re-live the moment.

You were writer, publisher, editor and promoter for your last book. What lessons have you learned after being “the head cook and bottle washer” for the first book?
-    I do have a team of editors that work with me but the other hats I do wear.  One lesson I learned is that I have a very strong will to succeed. At first, I was thinking this project that I took on was not going to net anything substantial. All I wanted to do was to satisfy those folks who pushed me to write.  Next thing I know I turned into a business woman overnight (LOL).  And one other prominent lesson I learned is that even though I wear many hats, there is still a need to for support and networking.  This has become a collective effort by all that surround me and those I have met along the way. I thank them for all they do.

What inspires you to write new skits/stories?
-    I am inspired by people who make me laugh. It is contagious because I turn want to give it back ten fold. Not to mention people who approach me online pointing me in various directions – someone is always asking me to write a skit. Some of the skits I wrote in 2012 were as a result of reader requests.

Where did you come up with the characters in your skits?
-    JAMAICANS! The characters in my sketches are Jamaicans to the core, which makes them easy to develop. Jamaicans are natural comedians. I simple think about what story I will be telling and type away. The mannerisms of the characters and their personalities come from my brain to my finger tips. I probably have a memory bank of funny people I have met in my life time (LOL).
 
What is your favorite skit in the book?
-    This is a tough one because I love them all. I work very hard in ensuring that each character gives the readers something to remember and to laugh about. But I did enjoy writing that very feisty, cantankerous and ill-mannered Yaad GPS.

What is next? Are working on book number 3?
-    Book number three is in the works. It will be titled, “A SOH DEM GWAAN!” This will pretty much feature a lot more of the same “bad behaving” nature of Jamaicans. Bad behaving in a funny and comical sense, by the way.

Do you have any major promotional events pending?
-    Yes. I will be launching by books, A SOH IT GOH and A SOH WI DO IT, in Jamaica in October as a part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. The event will be hosted by Sangsters bookstore. The official launch will take place on Saturday, Oct 13th, 2012 at Mall Plaza, Constant Springs at 7 PM. Followed by book signings Friday Oct 19 at Sovereign Center at 4-6pm and  Saturday Oct. 20, 2012 at Mall Plaza at 3- 6pm. Should be a lot of fun!

 Will we see some of the skits in your book become a theatre production?
-    I wish! I hope! I pray! I will need the help of production geniuses. I may wear a lot of hats but theatre producer is not one of them (LOL).

What comments do you hear most often from your readers?
-    That the books should have a warning label on the front that says: DO NOT READ IN PUBLIC!  This is because they have not been able to control the outburst of laughter in public and they get very weird stares from on-lookers.  One reader sent me an email saying she got so caught up in the book that she did not hear her boarding call and missed her flight. I was horrified for her but it was gratifying to know she was enjoying the book that much.

 What are your 2 favorite books of all time?
-    Bway, I have to go way back to High School days to answer this one. I am not an avid reader of books these days. So I will say “Huckleberry Finn” and “Green Days by The River.” Don’t laugh.

 Seven day, six night, all expense paid, my vacation destination is…
-    Paris, the city of love and romance. I am a romantic at heart.

My favorite guilty pleasure is…
-  My guilty pleasure is Reality TV.

 Growing up my hero was…

-    To answer that I will have to reflect on where I am today and what I have become. With that said, I had a lot of “hands” that raised me and they are my heroes.

On behalf of the readers of Jamaicans.com thanks for providing us with this interview. Do you have any closing thoughts for our readers?
-    Yes sure. If you have not picked up a copy of any of my books, what are you waiting for?  They are the best thing money can buy (so I’ve heard). LOL. But seriously, I would really like to thank Jamaicans.com for being the foundation that started this all. I sincerely have a lot of gratitude for those that keep encouraging me and for those that continue to wish me well. I will do my best to make you all proud.
 

The book “A Soh It Goh! ” is available on Amazon.com.

About the author

Xavier Murphy