PAC'N HEAT: Meet The Contributors! Tara Betts

PAC'N HEAT: A Noir Homage To Ms. Pac-Man will be available November 2016! Advance Copies will be for sale at CANZINE 2016! Let's Meet The Contributors...

Tara Betts



Did you ever play Ms. Pac-Man?

Yes, I mostly played on an Atari 2600 back in the 1980s.


Do you/Did you play other video games?

I played Centipede and Galaga at the arcade, but I did play games like Pitfall, Boxing, Pac-Man, Q-Bert on the Atari 2600 game system. My brothers were around for the Nintendo and X-Box era, but I was doing other things. We did play Dr. Mario and Tetris together, which was basically the same game. I was playing tennis and boxing on Wii, until my device died.


If so, what do you/did you find most appealing about video games?

Video games could feel like an escape and a sense of accomplishment. It was also another game to bond over, just like how some people play cards or board games, but I don’t play them much now.


What did you find most frustrating?

Hand cramps and feeling like a day could evaporate if you kept playing. You could literally look up and see the sun was gone. I hate missing an entire day that way.


If you used to play video games and don't anymore, why did you stop?

Mostly being occupied with work and other people, but I would be down to try some new games. I think there are so many buttons too. I want it to be simple.


What video game do you wish existed?

I wish there was a game that actually taught us how to solve real problems. Too many people lack practical skills. What if you had a game that could teach basic building or medical care skills? A game that can teach you how to do something with more exciting turns than a how-to video on Youtube.


What about Noir as a genre appeals to you?

As a woman, I am intrigued with the representations of femme fatales and anti-heroes, but I’m also intrigued with that dark, seedy expectation that we expect. To some extent, I think the recent Netflix show “Jessica Jones” and the spin-off “Luke Cage” show are comic book-inspired shows constructed with noir-like characteristics, so I thought of Ms. Pac-Man in a harsh environment, yet still managing to be glamorous.


What's your favorite work of Noir? (Book, Comic, Movie...)

I would probably say “Cape Fear” if I thought of movies, but I am interested in delving deeper into the Noir Series published by Akashic Books. Each book gathers stories organized by cities in which they are set. I want to curl up with Chicago, Brooklyn, D.C., Detroit, London, and Havana.


What are you reading these days?

I recently finished The Education of Sonny Carson, which was one of Lauryn Hill’s inspirations for the album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, some of the books in Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series, Michelle Cliff’s essay collection If I Could Write This In Fire, and Solmaz Sharif’s Look. As far as comic books, I’ve been reading Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and different storylines in The Black Panther and Storm threads. I’m looking forward to reading World of Wakanda soon.


What else are you working on now?

I just published my second collection of poems entitled Break the Habit, and a chapbook entitled Never Been Lois Lane should be coming out on dancing girl press soon. I’m working on some essays for a few anthologies, the third poetry collection, and I’m in the early stages with other projects.

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