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See also:  Tanya Huff's Vicki Nelson Paranormal Investigator series page reading order and synopsis; 160x480

Hal Bodner

answers the Usual Questions

photograph, Hal Bodner with Radu, courtesy of the author; 220x330

Hal Bodner

American horror writer Hal Bodner says on his web site, "Hal has had many jobs and "careers". He was an entertainment lawyer, a scheduler for a 976 sex telephone line and the personal assistant to a television star. He has written theater reviews and journal articles. He now owns Heavy Petting, an over-the-top pet boutique in West Hollywood. He has never been a waiter."

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

With my best known work, the "Chris & Troy" series (Bite Club, The Trouble With Hairy), I know pretty much what I want to do and where I want to go well in advance of writing anything.

When it comes to the "Whirlwind" books (Fabulous In Tights, A Study In Spandex, etc.), I find inspiration in the oddest places, including while I'm at conventions. I once even got an idea for a villain because of the way someone was dressed at a party. But normally, no. It's likely because when I'm at a place where there are lots of fans, I'm usually mentally in something other than a Create Mode; it's more of a Be Social Mode for me.

The one thing fans can do for an author is to cheer you up and give you stimulus to continue working during those inevitable times when something is going wrong and you're pulling your hair out and wondering if you should just chuck the project. I have a sci-fi piece, for example, that I've been procrastinating about for years. But word about it somehow leaked out and, after being urged "We want to read it!" for some time by a great many of my fans, I've dusted it off to take another look.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

There are hundreds of them! For me, most of the stand-out incidents involve panels. I will never forget, for example, the Panel of the Bouncing Boobies. The topic had something to do with paranormal romance and the panelists were Heather Graham, Sephera Giron and Rain Graves at one end, with me and the late Leslie Banks at the other end. Heather, Seph and Rainey were all wearing these gothic-style bodice things that showed a LOT of cleavage. And there were suddenly lots and lots of men in the audience who I do NOT think were super interested in how to write paranormal romance!

Leslie and I were just sitting there, trying NOT to look. And Seph's phone kept ringing and she kept jumping up from the table and BOUNCING into the corner to take the call. And every time she did, all the male eyes in the room would follow her. Leslie leaned in to me and whispered, "I'm a good Christian girl. I don't think my heart can stand this." And I replied, "What are we going to do if one of them slips OUT?"

We were both joking, of course, and we had a good laugh about it later. But at the time, neither of us had ANY idea where we could look where we wouldn't be face to face with all those boobies!

Another time, we were on an Extreme Horror panel down in New Orleans, very deeply into a gritty discussion of torture porn and whether there was any merit to it. It was me, CW LaSart, Bracken MacLeod and a couple of others. And it was a VERY explicit panel which was dealing in some pretty gross stuff.

Well, there was one of those momentary lulls in the room, you know those hushes that come out of nowhere and there's just SILENCE for no reason? One of those happened and, just as it did, my phone rang.

This is nothing odd until you realize that my ring tone is Ethel Merman singing "There's No Business Like Show Business." The entire room cracked up and it took something like five minutes before everyone stopped laughing and we could get back to the panel discussion.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Yes, and oddly she wasn't a horror author. Mary Renault. She was a middle 20th Century author who wrote novels mostly set in Ancient Greece and Macedon, and she was one of the world's authorities on Alexander the Great. Not only is the woman's prose just breathtaking but, by reading her, I learned how to write "sub-textually", in other words to write the actual words but to leave the true meaning of what's going on in the scene to something which operates ineffably and sort of "underneath" the text. The most amazing example of sub-textual writing is, I think, in Fire From Heaven when Alexander and Hephaestion finally end up making love and, in spite of devoting a quarter or the book to the tension building in the relationship, Renault NEVER mentions what happened. Instead, she talks about the two of them watching some foxes playing during some nebulous "afterwards" and it's just brilliant writing.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Oh, it would have to be a space ship so I'd have more time with them! Let's see... It's rough to make up my mind. Zac Efron, Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Reynolds. Do I REALLY need to continue in order for y'all to get the idea?

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

There are two horror writers who come to mind. Both shall remain nameless though, if anyone who reads this is active in the horror community, it's not big secret. One of them is a well-respected author in some circles who I find to be nothing more than an arrogant bully. Oddly, I don't think we've ever met in person, mostly because I refuse to go to any conventions if I know this person is going to be there.

The other one is a VERY well-respected author who LOATHES me to the point where the person will walk out of the room if I enter. I tend to be flamboyant and this particular person cannot stand it.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

Food! I was an athlete when I was younger and now that I'm sedentary, I constantly struggle with my weight. Oh! And I'd want a lovely library jam-packed full of Broadway and West End musical CDs!

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

There's a twofold answer to that. Selfishly, I'd like to be remembered after I'm gone. I don't think there's any rule that says you must live up to your potential. Nevertheless, there were so many things I intended to do when I was a kid and, through the years, I chose not to do a lot of them. So, I would like to leave something behind.

The second answer has changed since I first wrote Bite Club. Back then, I was trying to restore some of our lost sense of humor to the Gay Community. But now, I think the loss of humor has infected mainstream society as well. People are so quick to seize offense at things! I would love it if my work could, in some small way, reflect that contrived sense of righteous outrage back at a few folks and make them realize how silly they are being.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

I'm not sure what you mean by "special satisfaction". Back before I married my husband and when I could still see past my waist to my shoes, being Famous Author Guy might have impressed a muscle stud gym rat or two and helped get me laid. Does that count?

submitted by Hal Bodner

19 August 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: I think Kennedy was still President, or maybe it was still Eisenhower. One of the odd coincidences is that the obstetrician who delivered me was C. Everett Coop, who eventually became the Surgeon General of the United States. He was the man who was responsible for putting warning labels on cigarette packs. So, from birth, I think I was destined to be a heavy smoker!
Resides: West Hollywood, California! My husband and I keep talking about moving. I love the Deep South -- New Orleans, Savannah; he hates the heat. I also keep talking about Salt Lake City; it's a surprisingly vibrant place to live. We also talk about Vegas or Palm Springs -- but there's that intense heat problem again. I think Palm Springs may eventually be where we end up if we ever decide to move out of Los Angeles.
Bite Club, Alyson Books (Re-Issued by Crossroads Press)
The Trouble With Hairy, Phantom Hollow Publishing (Also Crossroads)
In Flesh And Stone, Ravenous Romance (Re-Issued by Phantom Hollow)
For Love Of The Dead, Ravenous Romance (Re-Issue by Phantom Hollow)
Coming From Digital Fabulists:
Fabulous In Tights
A Study In Spandex
The Wrong Shade Of Turquoise

Web site:
And, of course, I'm on Facebook!


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