Not Quite 20 Questions, and more from Rhodi Hawk


Below find Rhodi Hawk’s #SIBA10 Twitter Answers but first enjoy some original content from this award winning thriller writer:

The year I was born, a hurricane tore through South Texas and carved a twelve-foot deep gulley into my grandparents’ land.  I take perverse pride in that fact.  Of course grandpa turned the (dry, after the storm) gully into a dump, because there wasn’t any garbage collection for our 76 acres out in the middle of nowhere.  What we did have was cactus, weesatch, the family graveyard (no body collection out there, either, apparently), grass burrs, and deer, hog, and rabbits.  From time to time, the well would poop out on us and give over to salt water.  There was also a creek bed that ran for two weeks out of the year.  My sister and I used to dam up a stretch of it and for fourteen glorious days during the rainy season, we’d have a swimming hole.

That time has been strong on my mind lately, probably because this year’s SIBA conference made me a bit nostalgic.  Being around so many other southerners brought it all back, and I loved reading the other authors’ works (Kathryn Magendie’s Sweetie, and Ellen F. Brown’s story-behind-the-story about Margaret Mitchell).  The best part of SIBA, by far, was the Feed an Author auction, which was an absolute hoot.  My fellow authors are fraught with sass.  I also enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Eagle Eye Bookshop where I learned a bit about growing up in Alabama.

I could have flown, but had decided to drive to SIBA because I can never resist a good road trip, and it allowed me to bring along my dog and my sweetheart (not necessarily in that order).  I’d stopped along the way to let my dog frisk along the Ponce de Leon Springs, and I thought about that old creek from my childhood.  My novel, A Twisted Ladder, is all about heritage—of the spooky sort.  The title is a metaphor for DNA.  Back in the day, my grandmother used to tell us the family ghost story: a mishap that occurred along that old dry creek and left it haunted.  She was spooky, my grandma.  She could sleep with one eye open, and she could heal our ailments with a wave of her hand.

Now I’m back home after SIBA, and three car washings later I’m still dealing with a constellation of bugs.  But it was more than worth it.  All that time spent laughing and scratching with new friends?  So many fresh memories to add to the old ones.

Rhodi Hawk, A Twisted Ladder, SIBA Fiction nominee: won the International Thriller Writer’s Scholarship Award for her first novel, A Twisted Ladder, a gothic tale of old Louisiana.

Favorite book as a child?  My sister and I shared an illustrated copy of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.  It had belonged to my father and aunts when they were children.

What are you reading right now?  I’m reading a wonderful, very spooky book called The Sound of Building Coffins by Louis Maistros, also a southern author.

Share a favorite segment from your book…  Honey if you say so, I’ll never work no mo,I’ll lay around yo shanty all the time, time, tim, I’ll lay around yo shanty all the time

Why that title? A Twisted Ladder is a term for DNA.  The book explores whether clairvoyance and curses and such might be handed down through generations.

Why independent bookstores matter?  In this digital age, paper novels feel more treasured than ever.  Going to an independent bookseller makes it all the more personal.

Favorite part of writing a book?  Finishing!

Least favorite part of writing a book?  Having to color within the deadlines.

Are you working on anything new?  Hard at work on the sequel to A Twisted Ladder.  It’s called Framing the Bridge, and it’ll hit the shelves next fall.

Do you have any superstitions, lucky charms, or rituals around your writing?  I keep a kind of writing journal / progress tracker to help me focus.  I also like to have a candle burning when I write.

Comment on the writing life…  Writing is for the brain what going to the gym feels like for the body.  Sometimes it’s torture.  Mostly it’s just a matter of showing up.

Hardest part of the creation to publication experience?  Keeping up with the non-writing end.  Sometimes I get so drenched in story that I forget to tend to the web site, interviews, and business matters.

Why do you write?  Beats the funny farm!  If I didn’t write I’d be telling tall tales to every store clerk, UPS driver, or flight attended who crossed my path.

When do you write?  First thing in the morning after running the gully.  I guess that makes it second thing.  Wait, no, it’s third, because I also shower.

When did you know you were a writer?  Before I could even read.  Grandma used to read illustrated books to my sister and me.  My sister became an artist, and I became a writer.

What, or Who, will you dish on, as in gossip about?  Other writers, Wanda Jewell, Daytona beach bunnies, Marc Bernier, the cute shoes people wore to the auction, and airport security.

What would make you a scintillating dinner guest?  I’ll tell my family’s own ghost story about Dead Man’s Holler. If that falls flat I can always play “Swanee River” on air-banjo.

Who is your favorite new author?  Hank Schwaeble.  Also a southerner.

What is your drink of choice?  Wine!

What is your favorite food?  Ice cream or Frito pie.  Otherwise, anything that involves peanut butter, chocolate, or peanut butter and chocolate.

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