Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease A.W. Hazzard, Jr.
Your Name or Pen Name you use:
A.W. Hazzard, Jr. is my name. penbuddy is a pen name that I am not yet published under but use for twitter and in WEbook.com.
Title of the book you are promoting:
“The Hassard Zone” is a novel, my first attempt at a novel, that I am currently working on. You won’t be able to buy it right away, but you will want to when I’m finished with it. Until then, YOU can purchase a couple books that have a poem within them.
(I) The first is “Private Jones’ Reality.” It is a powerful poem about the reality found in the trauma of death in Viet Nam. It is my first published piece. I am very proud of it and would like everyone to read it. This piece was especially emotionally invested in its creation.
(2) The Second piece published was “I Cried Once”, another poem. This message was about love lost: A common poetic theme with a twist. It was selected by Outskirts Publishing, being published in an anthology called “Fandemonium” which was sold with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross. How cool is that?
(3) Master Koda has selected several of my works for publication in their next anthology called “Literary Treasures ” This link only shows where I was chosen to be included in the publication. http://masterkodawritingcontest.com/ This project is expected to be published a little later this summer. I’m excited. I can’t tell you what works will be in it. It is a secret until it is in print. Keep an eye here at https://authorteasereadings.wordpress.com/
Link to purchase your Book:
__The Very Best of WEbook Poetry 2009__
Welcome AWH…I, LH have some questions for you 😉
LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?
AWH: I wanted to be a preacher, a teacher, a lawyer, a cop, a famous author…I’m sure there was something else. J In some degree, I have done these and more. This is not fiction, it is fact. But these experiences, albeit some very short lived, have given me a great background for writing. At least that is what I keep telling myself.
LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?
AWH: I was well exposed to both classic and modern writers. I was a “book club of the month” member and that helped me become aware of some. I really liked Shakespeare…a lot. I purchased a 33-1/3 rpm vinyl cut of Hamlet with Richard Burton playing the lead. Short stories interested me a lot in class. I like the idea of writing about one thing, uncomplicated by a bunch of elements, yet with a simplicity that develops the element being highlighted in the short. Poe always jumps to mind when thinking short stories; but many others have had an influence also. Poems, oh so many including Shakespeare, Frost and so many others have inspired me. Hemingway jumps to mind when thinking of fiction writers. Lois Lamoure also inspired me. These are a sampling of the literary inspiration in my younger days.
Why did I want to write? That is the Question. Because it is an art form I could do. I always loved to listen to a good story teller, and that brings Samuel Clemons to mind. Now there was a story teller. My first writing pieces were in HS and college. I did not get great reviews from my HS English teacher. There was a little history there which time and space forbids me from embellishing now. My college professors were more supporting. Then I became involved with WEbook which has peer interaction. Authors post projects and other authors comment on those chapters, poems, shorts etc. This is peer review and their support is very helpful. MasterKoda.com, WritersWriteOn and other Facebook groups focused on member support are great places to find encouragement and practical personal experience in publication and promotion.
LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?
AWH: I am a published poet and soon to be published prose and poetry author in the Master Koda Select Publishing. I have thought about self-publication, but never took the step, not the least of which was because of cash. I have a lot of respect for great authors who have went the Independent Publication route. It is just not for me.
LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies! Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?
AWH: I live in the Southern Tier of New York State, just a few miles west of Elmira, NY. This is where Samuel Clemons owned a house and wrote in a garden cottage in his back yard. I’d love to spend some time in his garden with a bite to eat and a beverage. I’d talk about anything he wanted to talk about. There would be no out of bounds area, except for me. I would be the subject we would not talk about. Having time with Mark Twain, I can’t think of anyone so egocentric enough to talk about oneself. I’d say “Mr. Clemons, tell me what is on your mind, please.” I am sure that politics of the day would be included. Somehow I believe I would like that.
LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?
AWH: I totally agree that the seedier side of the human experience is glorified in today’s media. Hot sex scenes and gory graphic scenes of bodies being blown up, cut up and shot up are not needed.
The art of imagination is being lost due to the leaps we have made in cinematography and the digital world. The kids are exposed to too much too fact and too often. This desensitizes them to the horror of death and dismemberment and often creates addicts that crave that type of stimulation. Am I surprised to hear about a couple of kids shooting fellow kids in their school or a frustrated college student shooting unarmed movie goers? Not really. Like the terrorists around the world, the messier the scene, the more body parts flying around the air and louder the screams, the more successful they see themselves.
The same can be said about sex scenes. One used to infer events and now they show them. Our kids don’t need to go to movies, rent them or watch them on cable TV with adult activities, partial nudity or worse and heavy breathing with sweat dripping off their brows. Adults don’t need to see these things and kids shouldn’t be encouraged by those scenes.
LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
AWH: I would change the hearts of men and women. I am a preacher, an evangelist who has gone to Cuba to assist the local churches and to spread the Gospel. The Gospel of Christ is all about love…love God, love your neighbor, love your spouse, love your children, and love your enemy. The Gospel of Christ, if accepted would in fact bring about World Peace. Those like me who have turned in their M-16 rifles for the Word of God know the horror of war and the cause of it as well. Poverty does not cause wars. People who want power cause wars. I don’t care what their politics are, their so called faiths are, the only reason there is war anytime anywhere is because someone wants power over someone else. Hate and religion or philosophy are tools that the greedy and would be power monger use to get people to fight their wars, but it is the lust for POWER and CONTROL which feed the flames of discontent among the people and then cry to them to take up arms. It has been the same since Cain rose up against his brother Able.
The greatest moment in my community experiences were when I was able to take a former communist and immerse them in the waters of baptism for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2.38) As a U.S. Marine, I fought Communism with bombs and bullets in Viet Nam. As a Christian evangelist, I fought Communism with the message of hope found in the Gospel. The irony is that Islam is called the religion of peace, yet their Koran teaches them to kill the infidel in order to advance their faith. This is the diametric opposing view of the Gospel of Peace where we are told to love our enemies.
LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?
AWH: I spent a lot of time in the Restaurant and Hospitality business to put food on the table while I engaged in those things I loved, like writing and preaching. I tell you this because PRESENTATION in the industry, food or hospitality, is VERY important. Okay, I’m old school. You need to establish contact, eye contact to draw the potential buyer to your product, rather than the book next to yours. Once you have their attention, then the synopsis and pitch is key, but you have to create the interest first. Titles can help do that, but titles can be so far off the mark when it comes to content and anyone who’s been looking has learned that quickly. Have a catching image (symbol) creating interest and then close the sale with a great pitch.
LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?
AWH: I’ve touched on this earlier. Reading opened the world of the book and storytelling to me. The more of it I did, the more I wanted to write a best seller. My HS Eng teacher dampened my drive a bit, but he did not shoot the writer down. Time opportunity and appreciation have moved me to write since the mid 1980s and on. That would be thirty or more years from my birth.
LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?
AWH: I am very much a humanist as a writer. The personality and its interaction with other personalities is what I love most about stories. I’ll watch a drama on TV and my wife just doesn’t understand why. LOL She will watch Sci-Fi or True Detective shows and I just shake my head. She and I are different and that is a good thing. The people, how they feel, what motivates them and their thought process and emotions…that is what trips my trigger as a writer or a reader.
LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?
AWH: I have wanted to capture my experiences growing up. Before that I used to do assignments and write almost a dime store romance novel type short story. That is where my HS Eng teacher degraded me, calling my work by that description. I told my college professor that story and he told me I should have kept writing them. They sell like hot cakes. When I was in high school writing those stories motivated by youthful passions and classic poems of love, I wrote to express that passion. Now I try to capture my past, memorable moments in my past, for others to read and enjoy. I really want to do that for my kids and their kids and so on. I have a friend on Facebook that responds to my goodnights with “Goodnight John Boy”. I wouldn’t mind being remembered for those kinds of stories.
Fiction. I have mentioned that I am writing my first real fiction story. Often times some folks say that a fiction novel is a conglomeration of the author’s life. When I have my first novel, The Hassard Zone, written, it will be just that. Drawing from myself and my experiences and folks I have known, I put together what I call “Potato Head” characters. I’ll take something form one person I knew and put it into the character like we used to take plastic parts like ears and eyes and poke them into the potato. War, crime, investigations, ministry all has a part in the story. Why not? They all had a part in my experience. Sometime the story line flows and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll get spurts of an idea for a paragraph and write it down and might not get to the story again for weeks.
LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?
AWH: I am working on the novel, THE HASSARD ZONE
LH: I’m working on #6…3 are published and the other 3 are due out this year… How many books have you written? How many have been published?
AWH: I have an interesting project involving others which is a collection of prose and poetry, non fiction in nature called “Reflections of the Imperfections of Humanity caught in Insanity” This project has some whimsical stories/poems and some intense emotional stories/poems, each having been experienced by the authors. I am trying to decide if I will end up with the other authors’ work or just keep it mine. They have some great pieces in the project which are worthy of publication. I’ll focus on that this fall, Lord willing. Most of all the creation is done in the project and now I need to edit and format but mostly select what I will include. It would be hard to cut anyone who trusted me enough to include their work with mine and do it with great enthusiasm. I feel emotionally invested in them. Maybe this collection can be done in two or three volumes.
LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?
AWH: I have written for money. That was as a freelance columnist for a local weekly newspaper. It wasn’t a lot but it was a great experience while I was working in a factory to pay the bills. My ‘literature’ is not written for money up to this point in time. I’d like to reap a few bucks to help in these lean years; but I have something to say and write it for the purposes I’ve mentioned earlier. I write for ART. Does that sound high-browed? I don’t mean it that way. The skill, the art of word smithing is the challenge, that and telling a good story like Samuel Clemons. These are the things that motivate me.
LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends when writing?
AWH: I have no problems with my family, any of the generations and now I am the eldest generation. The rest of the family better have some respect for the old man. I would only write a “tell all” book in a novel. Again, I wouldn’t put the characters as copies of people I know or myself. I’d mix it up some. I suppose those who really know me and those I’ve known…wait, most of them are dead. I’d want to protect the guilty while they are still breathing.
LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
AWH: I haven’t been under the gun to write, except for that freelance gig. Because I haven’t been under a time constraint, I don’t worry about block and I can usually get past a “I don’t want to…” with just a little self-talk, but why? I did say I’m not under the gun, not yet.
LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?
AWH: Yeah… I’ve got advice. Put Pen To Paper. Pay attention in English Comp (except when your teacher berates you.) Let others read your stuff and tell you what words you misspelled (oh, spell check does that now.) Read, read, read and then pick up a book and read some more. Every writer develops their own style. Mostly they do that by reading and writing over and over and over again. Does that sound like work? It is. Don’t even think about writing a book unless your really have something to say. The world doesn’t need another book, just another great book. The book you write may be that next great book.
LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
AWH: I wouldn’t change a thing either. No regrets in this heart. Besides, I never learn from my mistakes, so I’d probably make the same ones again. (thinking of my first wife here. Even that wasn’t a mistake. We had two great kids and some grand-kids to boot. Love produced them and bad choices broke our marriage up.)
LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?
AWH: I think the founding father did it right. It is easy to look back and be critical of their decisions. The biggest issue that would pop into my mind at the time is the calling a negro 2/3 of a human in the Constitution. Out of context, that sounds horrific. The fact is that many didn’t want to give the negro and claim to humanity. The 2/3rds compromise was a great step forward in their day. I have had a lot of my ancestors who fought against slavery. I have some who were slave owners at that time. But I only bring this up because most if not all of the “got it wrong” items the founding fathers are accused of were actually great and bold steps forward for all of mankind. (Woman suffrage did come in time. As a free people, we usually will get there.
LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?
AWH: I am not sure what you mean. You can be shy and still have a book made into a screen play. You would only interject yourself into the process as much as you wanted to. I would want to insure that the essence of the story was kept in the play. Other than that, I’d probably give them a pretty free hand.
Thank you for that well thought out and insightful interview AWH…Now… for the fun stuff!
Favorite Beverage? Iced tea on a hot day. Freshly ground coffee made into expresso on a cold morning.
Exercise or Bubble Bath? Can I pass on both? LOL I like to soak in a hot bath when my muscles are sore.
Favorite Color? Blue… the color of my eyes blue.
Take out or Dine in? I am a pain as a customer. I spent some years in restaurant management and I find myself looking for dirt, clean tables and windows. I was a chef and am exacting on the food. You wouldn’t want me in your restaurant to eat. It would be different in your home. I would be relaxed and enjoy every moment. I love home cooked and home folk. My fondest memories growing up was with family around a home cooked meal.
Camping or Hotel? The weather would determine that one. Camping is cheaper and I love sitting around an open fire with a cold one in my coolie.
Sports or Chocolate? That depends, but I can tell you that I always love Chocolate and only sometimes want to watch sports.
Dogs or Cats? I love animals. I grew up with cats dogs and horses. Had some chickens too.
Favorite Food? I like all food prepared well and with love. We hear a lot about comfort food. To me comfort food is anything that reminds me of a “home cooked meal” and usually means stuff I grew up eating. “Eggs, bacon, hot cakes with maple syrup and a side of grits.” That is some good eating. To change it up, throw in some sausage and/corn mush.
Favorite Song? How Great Thou Art
Favorite Movie? The Black Arrow (I saw it when a kid, that was the name; but I haven’t been able to find it in the last 40 years. It was a Robin Hood type but the signature item was the hero’s black arrows.)
Favorite Car? 1969 Camaro or Pontiac Custom S (same car but more classy.)
Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Then both it is, but at my age the Chocolate melts to fast and the sex don’t last. 😉 Cuddling can last a long long time.
And now for the essay part of the interview 😉
If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?
AWH: I would stay at home, with my wife and have a housekeeper do the chores for a week. We would cuddle and sit out back listening to the birds sing while we sip on our favorite cold beverage on a hot summer eve as we sat near the open fire pit.
Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of A.W. Hazzard, Jr.’s work
Keep an eye out for “The Hassard Zone” coming soon!