Hi I'm Phil Swales, I am a comedy writer. I mainly write jokes for stand-up comedians across the UK, but I also write sketches, scripts, etc. My first book, a joke book, is being published soon.
Do you have another job or are you a full time author? If you do something else (international spy?) what is it and do you like it?
I used to have a career working in admin, but various mental and physical health problems made it difficult for me to remain in a ‘proper’ job. I decided last year to become a professional freelance comedy writer and book editor. It’s great as it allows me to work from home, doing the hours I choose. Plus I get to look after my dog all day!
When did you start writing?
Movies were my first passion, so I started writing short film scripts in my early twenties. I then set up a film-making group with my friends and we took turns to write, produce and direct several short films. Whilst I was doing this, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety which got worse over time, which affected my creative endeavours and I didn’t write for a long time. I started up again back in 2009 when I joined Twitter and got interested in writing one-liners. My jokes improved slowly over the years until I got to the stage where they were good enough to sell to other people. I also had a brief foray into stand-up comedy, performing my jokes on stage in front of a crowd. Although the few gigs I did went well, my anxiety and fear of public speaking meant I had to give it up, so I concentrated on the joke writing instead.
What 3 things are guaranteed to make you smile?
1. A good joke.
2. Some of the random things my wife comes out with.
3. When good things happen my friends and family.
Do you have any pets? If yes, what, and do they help or hinder the writing process?
I have a Scorkie (Scottish Terrier crossed with a Yorkshire Terrier) dog who I love to bits but who can also drive me crazy at times! He’s neither a help nor a hindrance, except when he demands to go for a walk. Most of the time he keeps to himself and leaves me to my writing.
Copyright: damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo
Who is your favourite author? Do they influence your writing or are they a total break from the sort of thing you write?
Bill Bryson, without a doubt. I first discovered him about twenty years ago when his book “Notes From A Small Island” was adapted into a TV series. I loved what I saw, so quickly read the book and found it hilarious. I have devoured most of his work since then. I love his sense of humour. I don’t really consider him an influence, but he showed me that there are some genuinely funny books out there. I love his books - I have the audio book of A Walk in the Woods and no matter how many times I hear it I always laugh!
Which book(s) are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just finished “Life-Abet” by Aaron Gillies, better known on Twitter as @technicallyron. I’ve followed his account for years and love the stuff he comes out with. Knowing a fellow Twitter user can get a funny book published had a big effect on me and my determination to become a published author.
Where do you do most of your writing?
I work from home and use the spare bedroom as my office. It’s my little sanctuary away from distraction and noise.
What is your favourite biscuit?
A new type of chocolate biscuit called McVitie’s Deli-Choc recently hit the shops. They are Belgian Chocolate on crunchy biscuit and are very moreish. They are the crystal meth of the biscuit world.
Tea or Coffee?
I don’t like coffee at all, so I’d have to say tea, although I don’t drink it very often. Energy drinks are my go-to fuel source. I have a condition called Hypersomnia which makes me tired all the time and sleep more than normal, so I drink them to keep me awake as long as possible!
In the film of your life who would play you? (why)
There aren’t that many short, fat, middle-aged actors on the Hollywood A-list, but if I was given free rein I’d choose Edward Norton. He’s a brilliant actor with some great films on his CV. As long as he can do a Hartlepool accent!
If you could genetically cross vegetables, what would you pick and why?
I’d cross a tomato with a zucchini with a tomato, so that I can have a Little Red Courgette!
To read new jokes daily, you can follow Phil on Twitter.
His joke book, “Swales of Laughter” is on sale paperback and E-book form.
Grab a copy here on Amazon UK
and here on Amazon US