Tag Archives: school

Dear Mr.Basye,

My name is [Fresca Von Happenstance], i go to [Licorice Juice High School] in [Osh Kosh, New Hampshire]. i am 11 yrs. old and im in the 6th grade. i got to meet you personally at the oregon writing festival when you signed my copy of HECK.i love it all ready even though im only on page 9.for my book report i was hoping to do a Q&A with you. 


1. In 5 words describe your writing.

Darkly comic with weird twists.

2. Why do you write?

Because I can’t think of any other way to satisfyingly express the odd things in my head to the outside world. I’m a decent musician but not good enough to really feel satisfied that what I’m thinking is making it out intact. I used to draw but I am terrible. So writing just sort of happened and, like most anything, the more I did it, the better I got at it.

3. How many books have you written and in what genres?

I’ve written 7 1/2 books. Six of them have been published. They are all Heck books, so I guess you could call them supernatural humor books for middle-school kids.

4. What time do you get up and what do you eat for breakfast?

This is an intensely personal question, but I’m sure your intentions are admirable so I will indulge. I usually get up at 6:30-7 since my son has to go to school, like most children. I make breakfast and his lunch while my wife drives him to school. For breakfast, I usually make a really nasty protein shake: a banana, hemp seeds, blueberries, spinach, spiraling…and blender the slop together. Since I drink one of these every day I better darn well live to be 100. I also sometimes have eggs (over-easy) or oatmeal.

 5. Who is your biggest cheerleader?

I wish I had a giant cheerleader…that would be awesome! Like…50 feet-tall with pom-pons that block the sun! Her cheers deafening all within a three-mile radius! But you probably mean “who is my biggest supporter.” I’d have to say my family…mainly because they’re right here and would be mad if I didn’t. But, in all truth, they do help pick me up and dust me off if I need it. My agent is always supportive too, though I pay him to be that way.

6. What one word best describes you?


7. Who are you reading right now?

I’m reading a few things now: the latest issue of the New Yorker; Morning Glories comics; and a book about Self-Publishing. So I like to mix it up. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol I: The Pox Party by MT Anderson was the last novel I read. It was ok.

8. Give 3 great tips for newbie writers:

1) Write 2) Write 3) Write

Really…that’s it. It’s not about waiting for a great idea to visit your waiting brain. It’s about sitting down and writing something—anything—every day if you can. That’s what separates writers from wannabes. Actually writing, not just talking about it. Catching ideas in journals, writing them out, developing them, editing…it’s all writing and it’s all hard and it’s all wonderful.

9. Who was the most influence on you, in your past, for writing; a teacher, parent, or a sibling?

I had some pretty good teachers and my parents were supportive, but I was really only inspired or influenced by writers. I loved Roald Dahl, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov…mainly science fiction authors as a kid. They taught me to think about what was impossible, and make it seem possible.

10. What is your writing process like? How do you begin?

I begin by coming up with an awesome idea…and then instantly regretting it because that’s mean I have to do something about it. The most fun parts of writing are at the very beginning and at the very end. The “coming up with ideas” and the “editing down what I’ve written so it’s fun to read.” Everything in the middle is torture. The actually writing. That’s the part that makes you want to do anything BUT write! The facing the blank screen or piece of paper and trying to make sense of it all…the filling up of plot holes, etc. But I’ll begin with the idea then sketch it out…make an outline, and build the story from there. I like to know where I’m going when I set off on a story. Some writers are okay with just going for a drive, but that would “drive” me crazy…not knowing if I’m going to get lost or what. So I like to map it out with a detailed outline.



Tunes from Heck!

Longtime Heckler Jordan Knapp is a young musician from Georgia without what you would call “formal” training yet has an undeniable talent for composition…a Danny Elfboy, perhaps. Here is his latest composition, or “decomposition” actually since it’s for Heck, called “Enter Bea ‘Elsa’ Bubb.” Be sure to check it out!

Heck Goes Back To School, Part Three

Here are some more Franken-stories from Neah-Kah-Ni Middle and High School!



Heck Nominated for Oregon Reader’s Choice Award!

The Oregon Reader’s Choice Award is an exciting way for discriminating Oregon 4th—12th graders to choose their favorite book in a real-life democratic process.

Oregon students, teachers, and librarians are all able to nominate books based upon a number of criteria, including literary quality, creativity, reading enjoyment, reading level, and regional interest.

This spring, students will decide the winner! Cross your fingers, toes, hooves, and barbed tails!

And, until then, check out the Heck Discussion Guide, courtesy of the Multnomah County Library.

Plot, Plot, Fizz, Fizz

When I do readings and school visits, I often trot out a fun group exercise (no, not my infamous and merciless Jumping Jacks and Jills) where we write a story LIVE. Here are some of the stories we’ve spun:


Characters: Good Wizard
Bad Wizard

Setting: Super Mario Land

Each of the wizards have their own army. The Bad Wizard tries to kill the Good Wizard’s friend, but the Good Wizard intervenes and receives a broken leg for his trouble. Little do they know, but both wizards are secretly brothers. The Good Wizard stumbles on this (it’s pretty easy to stumble with a broken leg) as he uncovers the Bad Wizard’s plot to kidnap a member of the Wizarding Royalty. The Good Wizard begins his quest to rescue the abducted royalty. The Good Wizard breaks into the Bad Wizard’s secret hideout, rescues the queen, and—upon being discovered—wages a catastrophic battle with the Bad Wizard. Unfortunately, the world blows up, leaving but one large piece of rock floating in space. A passing rocket ship of surviving astronauts, in orbit during the disaster, dub the rock New Earth as they go about their mission. One person, however, is still alive on New Earth. Lindsay Lohan! She, after examining the rubble, learns of the wizard battle that destroyed her planet and vows to become a wizard herself to begin the New Earth, populating it with her conjured slaves!

Newport Prep Academy:

Characters: Bugs Bunny dressed as Superman
The Incredible Hulk

Setting: A Magic Shop in the Forest

Bugs Bunny dressed as Superman and the Incredible Hulk are best friends and like to hang out at the Magic Shop in the Forest. Unfortunately, Bugs Bunny dressed as Superman is playing with a large magician’s hat to see if he can fit inside, you know, like pulling a rabbit out of a hat and it falls on the Incredible Hulk’s nasty green feet. Since he never wears shoes and is prone to explosive anger, he is enraged. Bugs Bunny dressed as Superman tries to run away, but the Incredible Hulk grabs him. Bugs Bunny yells and drops the hat again. Hulk screams “Hulk smash Bunny!” and Bugs Bunny dressed as Superman yells “Help me mom!” Bugs Bunny’s mom, who is also dressed as Superman for reasons unclear, arrives quickly on the scene and, wielding a wicked potato, hurls the spud squarely at the Incredible Hulk. “Hulk mash potato!” yells the green mass of rage. The Incredible Hulk is so furious that he begins to punch himself in the face. The Incredible Hulk quickly subdues himself and falls down, with Bugs Bunny dressed as Superman stomping on his face. He and his mother make an army of evil mutant carrots using the various potions in the Magic Shop in the Forest yet, unfortunately, they bring about doomsday…or do they???

Isaac Newton Magnet School:

Characters: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Sadie Blanchette (student at Isaac Newton)

Setting: An Eternal Void of Nothingness

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sadie Blanchette are fighting over a giant pickle on Facebook, using the social networking site’s least popular application, Fight Over a Giant Pickle. The contested pickle, without warning or provocation, runs away. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is suddenly incredibly depressed while Sadie, meanwhile, spins around in her chair, rubbing her hands together, laughing “Moo-ha-ha!” The Giant Pickle, freed from Facebook, is almost instantly assassinated–apparently—by Shadow the Hedgehog who is working in cahoots with Sadie Blanchette as her paid ninja killer. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, upon learning of Sadie’s treachery, releases his secret army of Barbie dolls, equipped with deadly lasers and saws. Meanwhile, the Eternal Void of Nothingness spreads and explodes, but—being nothing—its destruction results in Everything. The universe shifts subtly yet irrevocably as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger weeps softly to himself at his desk in Sacramento, California. His arch nemesis Sadie Blanchette and his beloved Giant Pickle—not assassinated after all, it seems—have gone missing. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger performs a few dozen bench presses and then rides into the sunset on his pretty pink unicorn.

Online Release Party!

Join me NOW for an online release party, chat and contest at Bitten By Books. The event starts at 12:00 pm Central and runs all day and into the evening. The contest portion of the event runs until 11:59 pm Central on 5/13.

I will be talking about my new book release Blimpo: The Third Circle of Heck. Book three in the Circles of Heck series.

Ask Heck: What was your favorite book when you were a kid?

At first, the Peanuts anthologies, then the Hardy Boys, then Jules Verne, then the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov, then Dune, then Catcher in the Rye, then Crime and Punishment, and then a book of matches.