"Texas store sells American Flag with 61 stars," "Texas Rep. warns of baby-making terrorists coming to US," "Man attempts to hold up gas station with caulk gun" et cetera. Bill, what the heck is going on in the Lone Star State?
Do you miss teaching college English?
Yes, but that's a qualified yes. When I retired, I'd been an English Department chair for 25 years. A lot of that time I'd been a Division Chair of English and a few other departments, so by the end of my career, I was teaching only a couple of classes. The teaching was fun right to the end, and that's what I miss. What I don't miss: departmental meetings, committee meetings, writing reports on departmental meetings and committee meetings, creating the schedules and assigning faculty to the classes, ordering the textbooks, creating a departmental budget, and, well, you get the idea.
The students were always great, and I especially appreciated the ones who provided me with material in their essays, like the one on MEDEA, in which I ran across "hell hath no fury like a woman spermed," or the one on HAMLET, in which I was informed that "Hamlet always put his mother on a pedal stool."
Speaking of teaching, is it true your brother taught Anna Nicole Smith biology?
Yes, but let me clarify that just in case someone reading this is getting the wrong idea. My brother, Bob, is as straight-arrow as they come, and for many years he taught biology and chemistry classes in our hometown of Mexia, Texas. When Anna Nicole Smith was in his class, she wasn't even Anna Nicole Smith. She was Vickie Lynn Hogan in those days, a kid who worked at Jim's Crispy Fried Chicken on the weekends. Bob says that she wasn't anyone you'd notice if you walked into the room, just a mousy student who sat in the back of the room and didn't say much.
Is there any truth to the rumors that The Fabulous G-Strings will get back together?
Sadly, no. The Fab 4 (or occasionally 5 or 6) is no more. One of our stalwarts, Seepy Benton, has moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where students in the desert are benefiting from his vast knowledge of math and his deeply strange worldview. Rochelle Brunson is shaking her tambourine at Baylor University. Darryl, or maybe it was his other brother Darryl, hardly ever showed up, anyway, and after he was kicked upstairs to the job of assistant to the president, stopped appearing altogether. I've retired, and so has Bill Horine, whose clear tenor was the best voice in the bunch. Only Gilbert Benton remains at the college, and he's likely to retire at any minute. But video is available. Unfortunately.
What's your take on e-books, the state of traditional publishing, and would you consider releasing some of your earlier work in the Kindle format?
Some of my earlier work, from the days when I was famed horror writer Jack MacLane, is now available on Kindle. Buy early and often!
|Murder in the Air comes out August 3 from St. Martins.|
One thing that worries people, it seems, is that with self-published e-books there are no "gatekeepers." No editors, agents, copyeditors, and such. And with thousands of books being published outside the traditional venues, how will anybody find the "good stuff?" I assume these problems will be addressed. There are already websites springing up that purport to tell you which of the self-published e-books are worth reading. We're in the first stages of a revolution. It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.
How did you meet your wife Judy and what's the secret to the success and longevity of your marriage?
One of my best friends was dating Judy's best friend. They decided that Judy and I needed to meet. So they set us up for a blind date. Apparently they were right about us, since things worked out pretty well.
If there's a secret to a long and successful marriage, I don't know it. I've heard a lot of people say that you have to work hard to make a marriage last, but I've never thought that. Maybe Judy has, but it's never seemed like work to me. We've always gotten along pretty well, and while we may have spoken a cross word or two (or more), we've never had a serious disagreement. Could be that we're just lucky. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to vacuum, feed the cats, and take out the trash.
Crider, Gorman, and Reasoner walk into a restaurant. Who picks up the check?
Crider does because of his big heart, his generosity, and his huge bank account. Reasoner would have picked it up, but he was too busy finishing up the novel he'd started writing on the way to the restaurant. Gorman would have picked it up, but he didn't really go to the restaurant. He never leaves the house.