Writer Interview: Andy Betz

Andy is one of the most prolific writers, that The Yard: Crime Blog has had the pleasure of being involved with. He has brought many great stories to us, and we are better for having read them. We were able to catch up with Andy and get him to answer some questions for us.

1. What led you to start writing?

I was employed at an indoor shooting range when a new customer came in.  He worked as a head-hunter for a publisher of bodice ripping novels.  He offered me $300 for 300 pages describing a variety of aerobic activities.  He did not pay, leaving me with the fodder for my first novel (shameless plug, “The Lady in Red Quilt”).  The novel was as far from successful as my budding writing career is promising.

2. Do you draw from events in your life?

I have held a variety of occupations, some (firefighter, slaughterhouse first stage, CPR instructor, crime scene “restoration specialist”, chemist) are quite apropos to the content of The Yard: Crime Blog.  My stories contain elements of fiction and nonfiction that I have witnessed over the years.  It is up to the reader to discover the difference.  Hint: the tally learns more toward nonfiction.

3. What writers do you read or feel influenced by?

I am always enthralled by American historical documents, classic science fiction authors (Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, George Orwell), and fascinating authors (Conan Doyle, Douglas Adams, Tom Clancy, Ellis Peters, Ayn Rand, HP Lovecraft, and Richard Condon).  However, no author has held my attention as Rod Serling does.  He lives “rent-free” in my head.

4. What inspires you, or how do you become inspired?

I get inspired when a flash of creativity moves me.  I can lose track of time, abandon my senses, and push through physical requirements when the right idea intersects my life.  It is then that the real work begins.

5. What are your writing goals?

One day, someone with some influence will read something I wrote and rescue the story from the darkness so many undiscovered works dwell.  Until then, I will keep writing, biding my time between increasing my number of published works and my future hopes for each.

6. Your writing seems to touch lots of different genres, how would you label yourself?

Adaptable.  I have written about what I know and what I had to research.  I find myself drawn to prompts not in my area of expertise.  That is what drew me to The Yard: Crime Blog.  So many categories, so much latitude for creativity.

7. How often do you write each week?

This depends.  Some weeks I vanquish the entire idea of writing a single word while other weeks find me with pencil to paper initiating a poem that becomes an introduction to a story (“The Less You Have, The More It Hurts To Lose It”).  It most likely averages to 40 or 50 hours a week.

8. You have helped other writers publish on The Yard. How does that process work? Do you find them? Do they find you?

I have been a subject prep tutor for nearly 40 years.  I have instructed over 10000 students.  Some of them are far more creative than moi.  I see their passion and try to direct it toward a successful outcome.  Along the way, I may have the honor to collaborate (“Water” and “Senny”).  In doing so, I am all the better for it.

9. Are you determined to be stuck in 1974, or do you plan to enter 2022?

I will most likely forgo purchasing an E ticket for entry into the 21st century.  I do not text, facebook, instagram, open apps, use a smartphone, subscribe to Netflix, have cable, or drive a new car.  I use my manual typewriter frequently and read most novels in paperback.  I still have my rotary dial phone that I had to rent from AT&T while in college.  The 21st century seems far too disappointing, far too inadequate for the effort required.  I am not quite a Luddite, but I am not that far away either.

10. Do you have any advice for writers?

Write early.  Write often.  Write on the backs of envelopes.  Carry scratch paper with you everywhere.  Listen to people worth listening to.  Ask questions.  Ask even more questions.  Do some research.  The rejection letters you receive (I have over 8000) are a testament to your pertinacity.  But, most of all, never let anyone stand in your way.  You have goals and only you can make them happen.

Andy’s Latest Bio: The works of Andy Betz are found everywhere a search engine operates.  Andy has written many great things that have been posted to The Yard: Crime Blog, including, “Water” with Jaysa Brown, “The Less You Have, the More It Hurts To Lose It”, “I Knew Her as Tigist“, “How My New Life Began“, “Et Tu“, “Senny” with Dounia Saunders, “Oleander“, “The Best Advice I Ever Got“, “If I Ask Your Opinion“, “As the Sun Sets“, and “The Saddest Lies

We want to thank Andy for everything he does, and for blessing us with his work and time.

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