Meet the Members: Bobby Horecka

“Get involved. Just do it. Much like those stories don’t write themselves, this organization is exactly as useful as you make it.”

— Bobby Horecka on WLT

A member of the Writers’ League since April 2016, Bobby lives in Victoria.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Bobby HoreckaJust about every genre, really. My most pressing project right now is completing a short story collection for my MFA thesis project in the University of Houston-Victoria’s creative writing program. Once that’s finished, I plan to jump back on one of three novels I have in progress. The farthest along falls under the crime thriller heading — it’s completely fiction but based, in part, on a real news story I covered a few years back. For a change of pace, I might tinker a bit on one of the two poetry collections I’ve been building for a few years.

I’ve written everything that’s ever found its way into a newspaper: News stories, features, columns, editorials, ad copy, obits, classifieds, Santa letters… you name it. I worked newspapers large and small across Texas for 25 years—even picked up a few awards along the way, from Texas regional on up to national press groups—before I went back to school to try my hand at something a bit different. My last news post was as field editor for Texas Agriculture (a semimonthly news tab) and Texas Neighbors, a quarterly features magazine. Both were published by the farm bureau in Waco, where I also wrote a weekly news column for the Waco Tribune Herald, dabbled a bit in video for the bureau’s RFD-TV Network shows, and recorded many interviews for their statewide radio news programming. I’ve also ghostwritten speeches, legal briefs, legislation, how-to manuals, proclamations, issue talking points, and formal letters, and have lent my pen to a few election campaigns. I’ve helped research and write a good half dozen scholarly books and articles, and I authored and edited a locally published pictorial history book on the 75th anniversary of a state institution in 2008. Oh yeah: In my free time, I also teach college essay writing and developmental English classes at Victoria College. I’m particularly fond of the narrative essay, and I’d like to try my hand at some book-length literary nonfiction at some point in the future.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

BHThat’s a toughie. For drinks, it would probably be a toss-up between Ernest Hemingway, Edward Abbey or Joe Lansdale (of course, if I had my druthers, we’d all get together, make an event of it—call it “Midnight in Paris (Texas),” or some such).

As to questions:

Hemingway: When are we going fishing? (Because I truly dug his boat.)

Abbey: What inspired that cabrito scene in The Fool’s Progress? (I can’t read it without belly laughing and I’ve read it every couple of years since I was 20.)

Lansdale: I can see Hap as [Lansdale’s] alter ego pretty easy, so was there a particular person who inspired Leonard? (Leonard Pine is probably one of my favorite characters in fiction right now.)

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

BHOther than How to Build a Seaworthy Vessel from Nothing But Sand and Twigs, I’d probably go with any of the following:

Abbey’s The Fool’s Progress: An Honest Novel; Elmer Kelton’s The Man Who Rode Midnight; or Lansdale’s shorts collection, Sanctified and Chicken Fried.

(Give me all three, maybe a couple more, and “stranded” would probably become “permanent address—do not disturb.”)

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

BHThat I haven’t made near enough use of it. I’ve focused primarily on my studies since I joined, and now that those studies are about to end, I’m kind of kicking myself that I didn’t do more. I can’t help but wonder where I might be now if I had. Take, for instance, this very Howdy Do.

If that qualifies me to pass on anything on from this, I guess it’s this: Get involved. Just do it. Much like those stories don’t write themselves, this organization is exactly as useful as you make it.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

BHI was asked quite nearly the same thing by my thesis advisor a few months back, and I think my answer is probably as good now as it was then: If, in a year or two, I’m living the high life on some foreign beach in a hammock, spending my days cashing royalty checks, I certainly won’t complain.

But if, more likely, that writing of mine simply lands me my degree and brings me closer to a teaching job someplace where I can continue to write and work with others to help them chase their own beach dreams, I don’t think I’d be too disappointed either. I’ve rather enjoyed my teaching gigs so far, and I don’t know if it’s simply the gray hairs talking or what, but I think I might finally be getting to a point where I have a thing or two I can pass along. Can’t say it’s much more than just a thing or two, but perhaps it’s a couple of things they won’t have to waste time figuring out on their own.

Not much more you can ask for when it comes to teaching someone else. Not really. Other than staying in Texas to do so. I’ve kinda grown attached to her after 45 years.

Me taking writing somewhere? Fat chance. There are far more gifted wordsmiths than me who are far better suited for such tasks. I’ll happily let them.

Besides, writing has already taken me more places than I ever expected to see (from DC to California and eight foreign countries, to be exact). Way I figure it, that’s not half bad for some runt farm kid from South Texas. Plus, I don’t think my ride’s over just yet, either. The more I write—I mean seriously write, unbound and unleashed—the more I realize that I have a lot more stories tucked away than I ever realized.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

BH: Skip Hollandsworth’s The Midnight Assassin—Most of us know Skip for those often wrenching and quirky stories he finds for Texas Monthly magazine (“Midnight in the Garden of East Texas” springs to mind as a good for instance. Richard Linklater later used it as inspiration for his film, Bernie, starring Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey). In this book, Skip presents the following premise: In the wake of several grisly murders in the newly formed Austin township—murders no one ever truly solved despite putting the Pinkerton Detective Agency on the job (the wrong Pinkertons, it turns out)—is it possible that England’s infamous Jack the Ripper killings got their start here in the Lone Star State? Skip makes an intriguing case that, in fact, they did. 

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion! 

BH: Looking forward to meeting a few new faces and hopefully start making some appearances in print again soon. I miss seeing the old byline. That book of mine ought to be done by December of this year, and hopefully, it’ll do more than just fulfill a degree requirement. If you get a chance, check out my blog, “On boots and bars and motorbikes…” (https://bootsbarsmotorbikes.blogspot.com) or visit my new website, Outlaw Authorz, home to what will hopefully be my literary empire someday (https://outlawauthorz.com). Or not. We’ll see about that, too, I suppose. But what use are dreams if you don’t dream big, right?

Other than that, I’ll see you at the next waterin’ hole. Write on (or, for my biker friends, RIDE on) and stay safe!

Thank you, Bobby!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

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