Saturday, December 20, 2008

Janie's Got A Gun, ...So I Had to Answer Her Questions

My fellow Texan, Janie needed an interview volunteer and in the spirit of the season, I told her I wasn't scared. Which led her to email me a list of questions. Here be my answers.

  1. What on earth turned you on to writing ladies novels? Like most everything I do, my writing women's fiction came about by accident. I've always read a little bit of everything and even in grade school I had no qualms with picking up a Judy Bloom and Beverly Cleary book. Even those that were thought of as girls books. To me they were simply good stories. And when started writing my first novel that was my goal -- to write a good story. Most likely I failed at since that novel is buried deep on my hard drive. I tend to think the description women's fiction is a misnomer. My favorite books to read and write are ones that primarily involve inner and emotional conflict as opposed to an outside source of turmoil. I like a character that has to struggle within themselves as much as they do with a so-called bad guy. Sure external conflict is necessary as well, but give me a story involving a woman, or man battling his own beliefs, fears and desires over a guy simply trying to disarm a bomb any day. To me there is so much more you can do with a character when the majority of the conflict is internal. But somewhere down the line it was decided that emotions were too off-putting for men so any story involving the heart has to be limited to female readers. To me, that is wrong.
  2. I’ve noticed that you thrown down a pretty eclectic grouping of movies – from high drama to comedy. What would be the movie title for the movie of your life? Please elaborate. Tough question. In movies and in books I like characters. They can be having fun or they can be struggling, but when I turn the last page or watch the credits roll I want to feel as if I really know the person. I don't necessarily have to like them or want to go out for beers with them, but I do have to relate on some level as a fellow human. This is why a lot of fantasy is hard for me. And yes there have been great characters that were not human E.T., Old Yellar, Hank the Cowdog but you know what I mean. So saying that, I'd want any movie about me to convey the real me, roots and all. And I'm guessing it would be a comedy of errors so how about The Hairy Root of Trouble
  3. How much time passes before you can forgive someone? Depends. What'd you do. Sneak a piece of lettuce in my burger, or tell me Plundered Booty is a stupid title for a book. I can forgive that kind of thing pretty quick, especially of you were already a friend. But do something to my wife or kids and chances are I'll be plotting against you for years. I'm not a strike now kind of guy normally, unless there is an immediate need but I am a vengeful bastard and I can be quite sneak and vile if need be. I'll share an example of revenge I once did in fun. I am a Nebraska fan and one upon a time this coworker shoe-polished my car after the Huskers lost to the Texas Longhorns. For revenge I mowed a thirteen foot tall big N in his yard and then used 18 cans of red spray paint to complete the artwork. this was December so the grass did not grow back very fast.

  4. Tell us something you regret (and I’m not talking about the Polygamist Sect costumes from Halloween. That was freakin’ hilarious, by the way.) I'm really not a guy who ponders regrets very much. I'm happy with my life and to second guess it would be to second guess everything I have now. Sure, there have been times when I wished that I had gone away to college and I certainly have wondered where I would be at writing wise of I had starting at an earlier age, but by and large I can see the benefit of even the worst experiences of my life. Heck, most of it has become blog and book fodder so what would I have to write about if I'd done everything right the first time around?
  5. What do you do to help others? Boy, you called me out on the carpet with this one. Let's see ... I rid the world of excess beef and fried foods, I do my part to save the environment by growing excess body hair which in turn allows me to keep my thermostat lower. Oh, and I introduced my wife to Alex Keto's blog. I met Alex at a week long writer's workshop in Arizona and have followed him every since. He is a former White House correspondent and foreign journalist who often blogs about the plight of those in Zimbabwe. He's also a fiction writer and one heck of a funny storyteller. (But don't leave your Scotch unattended when you share a cabin with him) His posts on that subject often break my wife's heart. She is a teacher at a Catholic school and every morning when her class says their prayers she now has them include the children in Zimbabwe so it is my doing that a swarm of prayers are sent skyward each day on behalf the the innocent kids in Zimbabwe.
  6. Since you’re a “the Road goes on forever and the party never ends” kinda guy, will you be trekkin’ down to FW for Dec 30th? If so, you could meet some of your fellow bloggers there! (I know, I is one!) Come Dec 3oth I'll be singing the Robert Earl Keen song I Only Use My Gun When Kindness Fails while waiting in the line for It's a Small World After All at the Magic Kingdom in Florida's Walt Disney World. But Robert Earl is my all time favorite musician and The Road Goes On Forever is his best known song and a great one. I'd love to join some fellow bloggers for the show, but Micky Mouse calls. I've seen REK dozens of times and there is good chance my wife will be wearing a ballcap bearing his name as we head down Splash Mountain. But be sure and have an extra Shiner Bock on my behalf.
  7. And – you know this one had to be in there – why did you start blogging? This is the easiest question so far. I started after attending the aforementioned writing workshop in Arizona and hearing multiple times that even fiction readers need some type of platform. I tried to become a White House intern so I could get W drunk and then write a tell all of our Shiner fueled indiscretions, but I withdrew my application when Dick Cheney wanted me to take him hunting. Besides, I don't look all that good in a blue dress. Then I tried to get famous by challenging Vanilla Ice and Danny Bonaduce to a televised goatee growing contest, but they were intimidated by my ability to produce chin wool and declined. That left me no choice but to blog.
  8. What do you think were the events, things, people that shaped your wicked sense of humor? Hemingway said it best ... "A man has to endure a lot of pain to write a really funny book." Actually I just choose to find the humor in most every situation rather than dwell on the negative. Life is a hell of a lot more fun that way.
  9. And last, but not leastwhat was the impetus for starting My Town Monday? This was a combination of my own desire to share interesting things about Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle and my curiosity about the fellow bloggers that I read about. this goes back to my love of characters and in the end that is what makes a good blog ... the character writing it. The blogs that hold me attention all belong to engaging people ... whether they be halfway around the globe in Germany, France, England, or just down the road in Midland, Texas.

21 comments:

Janie said...

God! Remember to remind me to NEVER piss you off! That N is HUGE!

Thanks, dude. I just put on mascara and I laughed so hard I've gotta go do it again.

You are too funny and I can't wait to meet you and yours! When the REK comes to Lubbock, we'll have to go meet there. We do the Bass Hall thing every year right before the New Year, so maybe next year y'all might go!

Awesome answers. And funny, I thought you'd think the questions e.a.s.y.....

Charles Gramlich said...

Hey, I like Nebraska. I really do. Really.

Enjoyed learning more about you. Great interview.

Kristen Painter said...

I'm not familiar with "friend foods" but they sound delicious.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Travis,

This is a great interview. You are a gem!

Terrie

Aerin said...

Janie missed a question - how old are you going to be tomorrow, and what's your favorite birthday memory?

Design Goddess said...

Thought I'd pop over here to wish you a Happy Birthday too!

Also, why would you be worried about Janie having a gun? Don't you work for the post office?!?! (And I can ONLY make that joke b/c my dad retired from the USPS after 36+ years of service!)

SUV Mama said...

LOL, Janie's comment is hilarious. ditto that.

I'm sure you would look real purty in a blue dress, T. But I'm glad you decided to blog instead.

Have a blast at Disneyworld, don't let your wife lose that REK hat on Splash Mountain, and try not to be a tightwad the ENTIRE trip. :)

debra said...

Hey, Travis. I hear that tomorrow is your birthday! My #2 daughter's b'day is tomorrow, too. She'll be 17.
Happy b'day to you !

Cloudia said...

"What do you do for others?"
You answer questions thoughtfully
You encourage other writers
You make us laugh
Thanks, Travis. Aloha-

Cloudia said...

oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY "Hauoli La Hanau!!"

Annie said...

FAb interview and I think you've been banned from purchasing red spray paint...

inherwritemind1 said...

Happy birthday, Travis!

Hugs,

Tena

Junosmom said...

Happy Birthday!
I think we need a photo, as your fans, to decide for ourselves if your hairy self looks good in a blue dress. Don't you think so, fellow readers?

Andrea Frazer - Pass the Zoloft said...

Loved reading about this!

Sharla said...

Too funny! Happy birthday from another Texan who ALSO writes women's fiction. Granted I'm a woman, but hey! Your blog's a hoot, I'm enjoying it. Thought I'd wave at you from the other side of the state (Gulf Coast).

Melissa Marsh said...

I LOVE the red 'N' in the lawn. Go Huskers!

alex keto said...

your write up was kinder than I deserve. Thank you

Travis Erwin said...

Aerin asked a couple of questions so thought I'd answer them here.

I am 36 today and despite racking my brain I can't think of any particular birthday memory that sticks out. Seems like I should, but I can't.

Barbara Martin said...

Great interview and nice to know a wee bit more about you.

Chicks of Characterization said...

Great interview! I wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog, and for leaving a comment! I am a huge Picoult fan too, and its always great to meet other writers! Hope you'll stop by again soon! Have a happy holiday!

Lana Gramlich said...

"I rid the world of excess beef and fried foods"
*ROFL!* I think Charles & I are on that boat, as well.