Washed in the Blood
SHELTON L. WILLIAMS
Genre: Memoir / Biography / True Crime
Date of Publication: February 17, 2022 ** 175 pages
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The true story behind the Kiss and Kill murder in Texas in 1961. Author Larry King says: Washed in the Blood is a page-turning read about the time–early 1960s–and place–Odessa, Texas–during its rowdy oil boom days when violence often rode the range. It is at once an examination of local mores and foibles, piety and hypocrisy and an inside-look at the famed ‘Kiss and Kill’ murder of a 17-year-old would-be actress, Betty Jean Williams, whose ghost is said to haunt the Odessa High School campus to this very day.
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Author Shelton Williams’s April 2022 interview with L.A. Putman, author and director of the forthcoming one-act play, “Washed in the Blood“
Lory Steward uses the nom de plume L.A. Putman. She and I have corresponded for years but never met. When she proposed writing a one-act play using my words from the book and a draft screenplay I tried out, I said yes. I thought that if it were good, it would be a great tribute to Betty, who was after all a Texas high school speech and drama girl. Lory, like many other Texas teachers, saw something in Betty that resonated within herself and in the lives of teenage girls. She captures Betty’s essence in the play that is also entitled Washed in the Blood. It is the best version of the story I have seen. That includes articles, screenplays, and a little book that I wrote long ago. Yes, the play is good, very good. — Shelly
Shelly: What do you do?
Lory: I started directing in 1993, and now I’m the Head Theatre Director at Hays High School in Buda, Texas.
Why did you decide to write a one-act play based on Washed in the Blood?
I saw the true story of Betty Williams on the television series A Crime to Remember. The episode is “Bye, Bye, Betty” from 2015. I really related to Betty, and I thought my students would as well. The lack of justice for Betty ignited a fire in me to tell her story. I immediately realized that her final days would make an amazing play for my students, and many others, to perform.
How have your students reacted to the play?
Those of my students who have read it have totally related to it. It is as relevant today as it was 60 years ago when Betty lived it.
If you could ask Betty one question, what would it be?
Did you really want to die?
When will other schools be able to perform the play?
We will stage it here, make some revisions, and publish it in the fall. Then there is a process for it to be allowed in the UIL competition, but it will happen.
NOTE from Shelly: ** Lory’s question for Betty is the illusive element in Betty’s story. My speculative answer is in the book. I just wonder if you’d agree.
Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions, and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now the three books in the Covey Jencks Mysteries series. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
1st: Autographed paperback; 2nd: audio book; 3rd: eBook of Washed in the Blood!
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 5/21/2022)
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