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*Interview with Writer Al Batt* 

___________________________

Today we run our fifth installment of interviews
with those writers who so graciously share
their precious stories here on HeartTouchers.com.

Al Batt is our most prolific writer and there is not
a week that goes by that he doesn't send me a few
story submissions.  In fact, I had to make a Batt file
just to keep track of his submissions. I receive between
35-50 story submissions a week, so it is hard to choose
which stories to run each week, but I always know that
when I open an e-mail containing one of Al's stories,
I am in for a treat.  His stories will bring a tear to your
eye and a hearty laugh to your belly, but most importantly
they will always touch your heart.

Be sure to write to Al today at: SnoEOwl@aol.com
and let him know what you thought about his
interview, and then check out the web page we
put up on our site just for him.  The web address is
given after the interview...

Thank you Al for sharing your life and talent with all of us!

From my family to yours,
Michael
P.S.  Look for one of Al's funnier stories in your mailbox late tonight!

P.S.S.  Upcoming author interviews include: Bob Perks,
Lynelle Dawson, Mary Emma Allen, Michael and Kristi
Powers, and many more!
______________________________________


Interview with Heart Touchers Writer
Al Batt (SnoEOwl@aol.com)

HeartTouchers: When did you start writing?

Al Batt: In the second grade.  I would have started
earlier, but I kept forgetting that the alphabet was in
alphabetical order.


HT: Why do you write?

AB: It is something that I have found that I have to do.
There is an inner drive that I cannot fully explain.


HT: Where do you write?

AB: Anywhere and everywhere from in airline seats to
my office.  Anywhere there is room for a pen and pad
or for my laptop.


HT: Have you had any odd or strange jobs in your life?

AB: I once sold pots and pans--or I once tried to sell pots
and pans.  My insistence on calling them pots and pans
instead of cookware may have lead to my lack of success
in selling any.  I also worked in a factory making "Cool Whip."
I made sure the stuff stayed cold in its little plastic
containers.  I still like "Cool Whip" to this day.


HT: What book are you currently reading?

AB: I am rereading "Sand County Almanac" by Aldo Leopold.

 

HT: What do you like to read?

AB: A little bit of everything from books (fiction and nonfiction)
to newspapers to magazines to the backs of cereal boxes
to Bazooka Joe bubblegum wrappers.  And, of course,
the wonderful "HeartTouchers."

HT: Good answer Al.  We may just keep running your stories now...

HT: Who are your favorite authors?

AB: E. B.  White, John Steinbeck, Wendell Berry, John
McPhee, Jean Shepherd and Jon Hassler.  E. B.
White wrote like a symphony.


HT: What was your first story to be published?

AB: A story about the annoying habits of a mythical
neighbor named Crandall.  He is still mythical and still annoys me.


HT: What was the first story you remember writing?

AB: A play when I was in the second grade that my
wonderful teacher turned into something worth making
into a school play.  I gave the eulogy at the funeral of
this wonderful woman recently.  I could never thank her enough.


HT: Where does your inspiration come from?

AB: Most of my inspiration comes from the people and the
events in my life that have helped me become whoever it is
that I am.  I carry a small notebook with me at all times and
write in it whenever I feel the need.  I get a lot of ideas while
in the shower, so I am the proud owner of a lot of small,
soggy notebooks.
 

HT: Of the stories you have written, what is you favorite story?

AB: "She's Fine" a story about my mother being attacked
while she was a resident of a nursing home.  It was a story
that taught me a lot while I was writing it.


HT: Hardest Story?

AB: "She's Fine."  I cried a lot while writing it.


HT: Do you have anything to share about when you first
looked at your book, or the book you first had a story
published in?

AB: I felt like I was on top of the world.


HT: Did you dream about being a writer when you were
growing up or did it just happen?

AB: I dreamed about it and was encouraged by parents and teachers.


HT: Did you write stuff as a child or young person that
you can now go back and look at with pride, or maybe
even laughter?

AB: Yes.  I look at it with some pride, but mostly laughter.
It is great fodder to use as writing prompts.


HT: Who do you admire in life?

AB: My wife, my parents and my siblings.


HT: What has influenced you most in your writing for
good or for bad?

AB: My strong beliefs in what is right and wrong and my parents.


HT: Do you have any advice for those who also write or may
be just starting out?

AB: Write in your own voice.


HT: What do you like to do when you are not writing,
i.e., hobbies?

AB: Birding, reading, gardening, volunteering and traveling.


HT: What are your future writing plans?

AB: To publish a book.  And, of course, continue to write
for Heart Touchers.  Writing for Heart Touchers has
brought so many wonderful people into my life--people
who are a blessing that I might have missed without Heart Touchers.


BIOGRAPHY:

Al Batt of rural Hartland, Minnesota is a writer, speaker, storyteller and humorist.  Al, who was born and raised on a farm near Hartland, lives with his wife Gail (a.k.a. "The Queen B") and their dog, Towhee, a Belgian Airhead. Al has been featured in the Smithsonian Magazine, the Star Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Writer's Digest, on WCCO Radio, on KFAN Radio and on Agri-Talk.  He does commentaries for public radio.  He writes a weekly "Nature's World" column and a weekly "Tales From Exit 22" humor column for a number of newspapers, and does a regular show for numerous radio stations. He writes a number of daily cartoon strips that are syndicated nationally.  He is a regular contributor to nature and birding magazines, newspapers and farm periodicals. He has written jokes for a former President of the United States. Al appears each week on "Memories and Musings by Al Batt" and hosts the weekly, "Movies You Could Watch With Your Mother," for public television. He has written for radio and the movies. He is a tour leader for tours of Alaska. Al leads field trips, works with elderhostel groups, does in-school programs, teaches community education, is a tour guide on a sightseeing boat, teaches classes on birding, leads bus tours, volunteers at several state parks, disappears into the woods whenever he is able, usually on the pretext that he is "taking the dog for a walk" and speaks to anyone who will listen.  His mother thinks he is special.

Al is: Husband, father and grandfather. President of the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union, Clerk of Hartland Township, Master Gardener-- Freeborn County, Past President of Albert Lea Audubon Society, Past President of the Freeborn County Township Officers' Association, on the board of the Friends of Hormel Nature Center, Vice-President of the Audubon Foundation, Superintendent of the Conservation Building at the Freeborn County Fair, former President of Jaycees, past officer of Cross of Glory Lutheran Church, Christmas Bird Count Compiler, member Iowa Ornithologists' Union, American Birding Association, Mankato Bird Club, Friends of Rice Lake State Park and Oak Savanna Landscape Project.  He has been honored by Modern Woodmen of America and Delta Kappa Gamma for community service.
To contact Al, write to him at: 71622 325 St., Hartland, MN 56042,
Phone him at 507-845-2836, fax him at 507-845-2147 or e-mail him at SnoEowl@aol.com

 

Click on the links below to read Al's wonderful stories!

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