Tag Archives: dale basye

Where the Heck is Heck?

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Heck-o, readers on the other side of the magic screen. Long time no…well, no nothing. And if I’m anything, it’s a no-nothing. I have been getting emails lately…that fact in and of itself is less than earth-shattering. Many of you probably receive emails. But the ones I have been receiving have been questioning where, when and/or if the next Heck book will be published. Short answer? Heck-if-I-know.

Here’s the skinny: About a year and a half or so (I forget, exactly, as the wound has since scabbed over), I was told that Random House would no longer be publishing my Circles of Heck series: even though I had already submitted the eighth installment, Sadia: The Eighth Circle of Heck. The company had recently merged with Penguin, becoming something of a Random Penguin. And while it was still a House, it was sadly no longer my home. I knew that the merger had streamlined the company, with editors sharing offices and having to cut whatever titles weren’t make the cut, editing-time-to-profit-wise. Meaning, my editor was spending more time than was deemed worth it on my books so I (and many authors) were let loose and reintroduced to the wilds of the non-published.

This sucked. And, since I had two titles to go in my series, no other publishing house (according to my agent) would want to publish and promote another publisher’s series. The only glimmer of hope is that MGM have the option to make the first Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go book into a movie. They have had this right for nearly five years; with the project on its second director and…I don’t know: third or fourth screenwriter.

If the movie happens, this would—ideally—renew interest in the series so that I could properly finish it (or as properly as I can do anything). The option has been extended until the end of the year, so hopefully there will be some movement in this area. There are a lot of talented people involved, so I would love to see this project kicked into production! If the movie doesn’t happen…I don’t know. I could self-publish, but I would want the books to be as high-quality as possible and not look, I don’t know…shabby in comparison to what came before. I’m not even sure if there is a market to make it worth the trouble, as the last book in the series Wise Acres: The Seventh Circle of Heck—while being my favorite of the series—only sold about 2,000 copies.  And, the weird thing is, that book is literally printed on money, so each copy is worth at least $10,000. Be sure to buy a carton today! In any case, I’m open to ideas! As I said before, Sadia is finished and I can’t stand to work on something and not have it see the light of day, or the dark of eternal night.

So that, in a nut-job, is what the haps.

I hope you all are well and swell and not swelling in a well.

“Beast” Wishes,

Dale E. Basye

Heck Contest Winner: Timothy Spaw!

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Remember that contest I posted a while back, asking Hecklers™ to post a video of them reading a chapter from one of my Circles of Heck books? Well…that didn’t work out so well. I got a few close calls (like Lucy Guzzardo’s awesome Heck video game!) but not a lot of actual Heck-related readings. I did, however, get a batch of CREEPTASTIC SONGS from Heckler™ Timothy Spaw from Syracuse, New Jersey! I’ve included them for all to enjoy this spooktacular season! Timothy is ten years old and loves music (apparently really disturbing music) and I thought, in honor of Halloween (AKA Satan’s Birthday), I would award him with the EXTRA SPECIAL PRIZE of a FULL-SET of SIGNED (or “Singed” if you’re dyslexic) HECK BOOKS! CONGRATULATIONS TIMOTHY AND SORRY I’M WRITING THIS IN ALL-CAPS! I’M NOT REALLY YELLING, IT’S JUST THAT I SPILLED FRESCA ON THE KEYBOARD!

Letters To Heck, Part Two

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for your great letter! I hope you like the first Heck book enough to read the others (the fifth one, Snivel, comes out on Tuesday, May 22nd!). I think they get better and better as they go on, mainly because I think I get a better grasp of the characters and the (under)world of Heck as I continue to write. It’s interesting that you mention them painting a picture in your mind (hopefully not using that stinky kind of paint) because I write what I see in my head as I am a pretty visual person. I kind of see Heck as a movie then just write down the images.

Okay, with further ado, here are the answers to your specific questions:

1) Why does Bea “Elsa” Bubb want to starve Lucky, Milton’s ferret?
Answer: Well, since I wrote the first book about six years ago, some of the details are—like Luck the ferret—rather fuzzy. My impression is that Lucky starved himself in order to squeeze through the bars of his cage to escape. I’m assuming this is the scene you mean, right? (I don’t know why I ask you this in the letter, it’s not like I’d be able to hear you on the other side of this letter).

2) Why hasn’t Marlo stood up to Bordeaux and Lyon yet?
Answer: When Marlo is first in Heck, she is very confused. She’s outside of her comfort zone. She’s used to being the bad kid and now she’s surrounded by bad kids and is unsure about her identity…her place in Heck. So she probably lets Lyon and Bordeaux get to her more than usual because of this. Bordeaux and Lyon appear in future Heck books and Marlo is better prepared for them.

3) How did Bea “Elsa” Bubb know that Milton, Marlo, and Virgil escaped?
Answer: Again, it’s been a while since I’ve written the book, but I know that Principal Bubb was initially tracking them by using Cerberus, who was disguised as Lucky. Once alerted, she realized that there was a ruse, and she corners them just outside the Gates of Heck for the standoff at the end of the book.

4) Why did Bea “Elsa” Bubb give Milton and Marlo the Gummo Badger candy to shut them up?
Answer: Principal Bubb did this for two reasons: One, to be mean by providing candy that really wasn’t candy, and Two, this candy happened to seal their mouths shut like cement. So while she could have simply told them to be quite, this way provided more wicked fun for her.

5) Does Annubis show up in other Heck books?
Answer: Yes, he does. I won’t tell you which ones, specifically, but he does appear in a couple of future installments.

6) Why was the happy song playing in the sad bank like place?
Answer: Because, in my experience, sad bank-like places are always playing depressingly happy music in an attempt to soothe the irritated people that are forced to wait and wait and wait in an irritating place. Plus, there seems something particularly cruel about playing happy music in a sad place…kind of rubbing your face (or ears, actually) in a happiness you will never experience.

7) Why did Marlo lie to the Praying Mantis teacher to get into the Time-Out room? Why did the Teacher believe Marlo?
Answer: I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean. I re-read the scene and don’t recall Marlo lying to the teacher. Maybe I read an earlier draft.

8) Why didn’t the kids notice that the clock didn’t change in the Almost Christmas house? How did you think about the Almost Christmas house?
Answer: The children were locked in a state of perpetual anticipation, as punishment. By being impatient when alive, their sentence in the afterlife was to be forever trapped in a moment, and not just any moment, but the moment right before it’s Christmas, which never comes. If they had the ability to notice that time didn’t advance, then they’d be able to step out of their anticipation and realize it’s a trick. I came up with the Almost Christmas house because it seemed like a fitting punishment for edgy, impatient kids. I remember how excited I’d get right before Christmas. It’s almost unbearable!

9) Why did Blackbeard pick on Virgil and Milton?
Answer: The real reason is because I wanted Virgil and Milton to do something interesting, which was walk the plank. In the story, Blackbeard probably picked on Milton because he asked too many questions, and Virgil was sitting right next to him, and that’s usually how teachers operate, even dead pirate teachers.

10) What is your favorite book that you wrote?
Answer: So far, my favorites are Fibble: The Fourth Circle of Heck and Snivel: The Fifth Circle of Heck. Fibble was fun because I used to work in advertising, and Fibble—since it deals with lies—focuses on advertising. I’m proud of Snivel because it’s rather ambitious: there’s a lot going on!

11) What other books of yours would you recommend to a reader like me?
Answer: That’s easy since I’ve only published five so far, all of them in the Heck series! I’d just be curious how you enjoy the next installments of Heck. I view them all as one really big book rather than a bunch of little ones. The Heck books will now be released every nine months, so I don’t have much time to write anything else. When I’m through with the series, I’ll be pursuing a lot of other ideas I have: a few for younger kids but most of them for teens.

12) How many books are there in the Heck series?
Answer: There will be nine: Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go, Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck, Blimpo: The Third Circle of Heck, Fibble: The Fourth Circle of Heck, Snivel: The Fifth Circle of Heck, Precocia: The Sixth Circle of Heck, Lipptor: The Seventh Circle of Heck, Sadia: The Eighth Circle of Heck, and Dupli-City: The Ninth Circle of Heck.

13) What inspired you to write the Heck series?
Answer: My brain, mostly. That’s where I get most of my answers from. Once I got an answer from my left foot, but that was only because I stepped on a Post-It note. Okay, seriously: I’ve always had a dark sense of humor, and one day I was thinking about Hell. I mean, that seems way too intense a place to send bad kids, so maybe bad kids would go to Heck since that’s not as bad a word as Hell. Plus, I was thinking about my days in middle school. I really didn’t like that time of my life too much, because I wasn’t a little kid who could just have fun all of the time, but I wasn’t a big kid who could drive and stuff. It’s sort of this weird “limbo” time…where everything seems to just go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…you get the idea, Elizabeth. So I did a mental mash-up of those two thoughts and came up with Heck! The rest was pretty simple. There’s lot of material to work with regarding the afterlife!

14) What inspired you to make some of the characters?
Answer: In general, I’m a little bit like Milton and Marlo mooshed together. I can be overly cautious and think too much like Milton, and I can be a little reckless like Marlo. It’s fun to bounce back and forth between both of their perspectives. The other characters either just came to me or were based on people I know.

15) Did you read books that inspired you to write Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go?
Answer: When I’m writing a book, most everything inspires me: what I read, what I hear, what I see…If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader. It’s sort of a fuel that helps you write, or at least to help you think in terms of “words.” For the first book, I was reading a lot of Roald Dahl (Willy Wonka). He was wonderful. Really dark sense of humor but a lot of heart also. I also liked the Golden Compass books. I tried to get into Series of Unfortunate Events when it came out, but it was just too dark…even for me! When I write, I try to have enough humor and hope so things don’t get too bleak.

Well, I hope that helps answer some of your wonderful questions! Thank you again, so much, for reading my books, Elizabeth!

Best,
Dale Basye

Letters To Heck, Part One

Dear Rylee,

I like your name. I “Rylee” like your name! Get it? That’s sort of a joke, though not a very funny one. That’s what I get for writing a letter before my morning coffee. Coffee kind of helps old people act like they’re younger than they are. At least for me. I’m so glad you like my books! I enjoyed writing the “So You’re Dead” part of the first Heck book. I always wanted my book publisher to make that into a pamphlet that I could give to kids, but they never would.

So, without further ado, here are the answers to your great questions!

1) Where did you get the ideas to write Heck?

Answer: From my brain, silly. That’s where I get most of my answers from. Once I got an answer from my left foot, but that was only because I stepped on a Post-It note. Okay, seriously: I’ve always had a dark sense of humor, and one day I was thinking about Hell. I mean, that seems way too intense a place to send bad kids, so maybe bad kids would go to Heck since that’s not as bad a word as Hell. Plus, I was thinking about my days in middle school. I really didn’t like that time of my life too much, because I wasn’t a little kid who could just have fun all of the time, but I wasn’t a big kid who could drive and stuff. It’s sort of this weird “limbo” time…where everything seems to just go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…you get the idea, Rylee. So I did a mental mash-up of those two thoughts and came up with Heck! The rest was pretty simple. There’s lot of material to work with regarding the afterlife!

2) Are you like any of the characters?

Answer: Well, have you read Fibble: The Fourth Circle of Heck yet? I am an awful lot like one of the characters in that book! In general, I’m a little bit like Milton and Marlo mooshed together. I can be overly cautious and think too much like Milton, and I can be a little reckless like Marlo. It’s fun to bounce back and forth between both of their perspectives.

3) Have you written any other books besides the Heck series?

Answer: I have written a couple of other books, but nothing that has been published. One of those I’m hoping will be published at some point. It’s for younger kids. I have a lot of ideas, some for the Heck age group, some for older kids and teens. I just don’t have time to write them. I’ll probably have to wait until I’m through with the 9th (and final) Heck book, which I will probably write next year.

Thanks for the great letter, Rylee! Let me know if you have any other questions!

Best,
Dale

Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck Nominated for Oregon Book Award!

Though speechless, I hope very much that I will be allowed to give a speech! Check it out: apparently, readers will be able to have their say too, so don’t be shy! This is way cool, practically uber cool. Here’s a little background on the awards:

“The Oregon Book Awards are presented annually for the finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in genres of poetry, fiction, literary nonfiction, drama and young readers literature. All finalists are promoted in libraries and bookstores across the state, and invited to take part in the Oregon Book Awards Author Tour, which brings finalists to public libraries and independent bookstores in towns including North bend, Eugene, Newport and Astoria. Oregon Book Awards Special Awards honor some of the state’s most dedicated supporters and lovers of books.”

Heck on the Radio

Radio—the transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves of radio frequency, especially those carrying sound messages—is a medium you don’t hear about much anymore, unless you have a metal plate in your head and can pick up KRAP, that new all rap station in Kalamazoo. In any case, Steve Lindsley of Portland’s KEX Radio called me to chat a bit about Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go. Listen to it: IF YOU DARE. dale-basye4