Posts Tagged Hooch

Not Quite 20 Questions & Post-#SIBA10 Observations

Below you will find Batt’s answers to his Twitter Questions for the #SIBA10 Writers Block Auction.  But here is some post-#SIBA10 observations from Batt Humphreys:

Writer’s Block SIBA 10

Daytona Beach. Damn.

I woke up in a city that never sleeps. Or perhaps it was just in room 140 next door where the things that go bump in the night, also grind.

It was the Writer’s Block invitation that brought me here, something of a Sadie Hawkins for hack writers who somehow rise to the level of a SIBA nomination.

My name is Batt Humphreys. I write historical fiction.

The evening promised a perfect storm of insecurities, adolescent fears of rejection meets with living adult fears of rejection for this art we attempt.

Wanda met us downstairs, ushered us into our seats then set us straight. She looked at us much like a border collie addresses a field of sheep, with intense eye and perhaps a hint of game. In a warm and supportive way, she drilled us on the events of the evening like a parochial school nun with a half pint of hooch in her and twelve inch piece of good measured hickory for reinforcement. By that to say, she was charming.

“You have a stack of cards in front of you. You wrote the answers, try to read them. By the way, the cards are in the order of the questions as I’ll ask them, do not mix the order.”

Nervous fingers fanned the stacks. One author dropped hers to the floor. A collective intake of breath, with no easy release.

“Let me explain how the dinner works.”

The explanation went on, at one point it began to take on the litany of a calculus class. She could see the collective consciousness escaping, eyes crossed at attempts at concentration.

“Do not try to do the math. You are writers.”

Those waiting exhaled.

“You may now order cocktails.”

We sat up like a Shih Tzu hound.

A short whiskey later we were led into a large room, paraded down a stage and on display like beauty queens without benefit of a push up bra. In front a table of women were looking, their eyes hungry.. yes, like a wolf. I was repulsed, but somehow strangely attracted.

Questions were asked. Questions were answered, mainly. There’s a reason for a script. Writers, write. If we were all blessed with the gift of ad lib, we’d be hosting ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

Sweat ran into my cowboy boots. I wear them to make me look taller because, in fact, I’m 5’2” and weigh just over 300lbs. My eyes were on the back of the room where the bidding was taking place. Offers, for our honor, shameless writers we.

Like a show horse on halter, we were led proudly through the crowd, to a dinner polite.

Back to the bar.

A single bartender facing a room of writers, she could have gone down like Custer but she never showed her fear. What she showed was barely cloaked by a top cut as low as the Grand Canyon, if ever it met the Grand Tetons.

She wore her sex like a Marine wears his tattoo, open and proud. She also wore enough metal to make Cortez march to Kansas. It gave her a gypsy look. Perhaps she stole hearts. But there wasn’t enough bourbon in the bar.

Batt Humphreys, Dead Weight, SIBA Fiction nominee escaped ex-journalist from New York back in the South still chasing headlines, now in Fiction. He’s looking for a little ‘inspiration’.

Favorite book as a child?  A fond memory is my mother’s voice reading and doing the dialect from Uncle Remus.  Perhaps not politically correct but if re-examined is a true Southern Aesop.

What are you reading right now?  Mainly research on my next novel set in WW2. But for a bedside pickup there’s always Raymond Chandler.

Share a favorite segment from your book…   In this light she was seductive, a little worn perhaps, a bit past her prime, but still radiating a tangible heat that made you want to fall into her arms.

Why that title?   Dead Weight is rather intricate to the story. You see, it’s a particular form of execution used at the time and used on the main character.

Why independent bookstores matter?   Without Indy’s I would not be here, as a guest, or an author. Without Indy’s there is no hope, no prayer for an emerging author.

Favorite part of writing a book?  After a career in journalism, fiction. Creating characters, killing characters, romancing the characters.  Being the god of a created universe.

Least favorite part of writing a book?  Dang, sometimes it really feels like work.

Are you working on anything new?  Yes. Exciting, based on true story, sexy spy thriller at start of WW2, begins in Charleston, moves to the South Pacific. It’s a huge true story missed by this generation.

Do you have any superstitions, lucky charms, or rituals around your writing?  I write in my boxers and cowboy boots.

Comment on the writing life…  Love your work, and love people, because sometimes writing is the easy part of the process. If you don’t like going out and really connecting with readers, try WalMart, or CBS.

Hardest part of the creation to publication experience?  Ego. Put it in a box. Editors/Publishers-‘send lawyers, guns and money ‘cause the s**t will hit the fan.’

Why do you write?  Of the things that I’ve been paid to do, it is the greatest thrill.

When do you write?  When forced to. I don’t wake up in the morning with the joy to write, let’s face it, it’s work. My ‘sweet spot’ in the diurnal cycle, after midnight.

When did you know you were a writer?  Never thought about it, until Dan Rather turned to me one day after my bon mots made him break-up on air and said, “Humphreys, you’re a damned fine writer.”

What, or Who, will you dish on, as in gossip about?  Some fine network correspondents, and a lot of network nit-wits, a few road stories of ignominious authors.

What would make you a scintillating dinner guest?  My boxer shorts and cowboy boots.

What is your drink of choice?  A Chateau Lafite ’61.. please who can afford that, except Nick Sparks maybe.  Bourbon, on the rocks for me please.

What is your favorite food?  I like to cook and prefer what I grow (or shoot) at home in the lines of the slow food movement.

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