TNA: Hi, Rick, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we begin with the introductions. Tell us a little bit about yourself, if you would.
Rick: Absolutely! Well, first off, thank you so much for having me here today. I’ve heard so many good things about The Novel Approach that I’m just honored to be a guest.And what a great resource to find new books.
A little about me: Well, one thing I feel strongly about is the power of belief. I believe that thought creates action and determines the course of one’s life. I believe people can make profound changes in themselves and others in ways they hadn’t realized they could. I try to get this across in my writing—by, hopefully, inspiring others with stories and ideas that’ll make them laugh, cry, get angry or even arouse a little sexy time. My name is Rick Bettencourt. I’m the author of Tim on Broadway, Marketing Beef, Not Sure Boys and Painting with Wine.
TNA: How and when did your writing career begin? Have you always written fiction, or did you begin in another medium and work your way here?
Rick: I started out as an actor. I wanted to be on stage or in front of a camera, portraying vivid characters and entertaining people. But after years of schooling along with years of working it, I found what piqued my interest more were the words themselves and the crafting of a scene. I learned I didn’t really like being the center of attention, reciting someone else’s words. I wanted to create my own.
I got an idea for a story, wrote the screenplay and…hated it! The screenplay format and I were not good friends. I then turned it into a novel. That story, not yet published, is the prequel to Tim on Broadway.
TNA: What was your first published book? Would you care to tell us a little bit about it, and how you came by the inspiration for the story?
Rick: I published a collection of stories in a book titled Not Sure Boys in August of last year. One aspect I particularly like about this release is that while the stories can be read standalone, to a careful reader there’s a connection between them all. Characters from one short show up in the next and move the storyabout as a novella.
For instance, one character confuses homo sapien with homosexuality and a little fun ensues. I love comedy. I love making people laugh and then five pages later pull the rug out from under them and get them to shed a tear or feel empathetic.
I grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Not Sure is a play on words, in that regard. Some of the ideas for the book came from my childhood—thought it’s certainly not autobiographical or a memoir piece. Inspiration also came from music. I’m forever listening to a song and getting an idea for a story. In Not Sure Boys, early 70s rock and 80s pop had an impact.
TNA: Let’s talk about bit about your serial Tim on Broadway. Creatively speaking, what compelled you to tell Tim’s story in seasons and episodes rather than writing his story in a full length novel?
Rick: Well, first off, it is available as one novel on Amazon—and I actually wrote it as such, in one big go-round. However, in releasing it I wanted to be unique. Since Tim is a big TV buff—on top of his theater interests—and because the story reminded me of something you’d see on HBO or Showtime, with cliffhangers at the end of many chapters, I decided to publish it in a series. Instead of calling each one a book, I went with episode.
TNA: Would you describe Tim as an antihero, or would you say he’s just a regular guy? Do you feel he’s —more relatable because he’s not pretty and perfect?
Rick: Tim’s definitely unconventional. When I create characters, I often like to give them flaws. Even in my story Marketing Beef, where the characters meet the MM romance definition of hot, they have subtleties about them that make them real. None of us are perfect. While I’d love to have washboard abs and buns you could bounce a quarter off, I think portraying a character’s big, fat problems helps to connect the reader to the story. At least it does for me when I read. Maybe if my gym membership starts working its magic, I’ll feel differently. Until then, give me reality—just add a little adventure and spice. That’s not to say my books are all about hideous men engaging in things you’d rather not think about. It’s all about balance.
TNA: What would you say are some of Tim’s most endearing qualities?
Rick: Tim’s the classic underdog you want to root for. There’s an innocence about him (another one of his flaws) that you can’t help but love. He’s also caring and unwittingly funny.
TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from Episode One of Tim on Broadway with us?
Rick: Since you can get all of Episode One for free, I’ll share something more…something that happens in a later episode. This scene takes place at a café. Tim talking to Javier about his diet:
Blurb: Carolyn Sohier, the Greta Garbo of divas, is giving a once in a lifetime concert that Tim can’t afford to attend. Tim—an overweight, twenty-something virgin—regrets lending the hunky bag boy at the grocery store money that could have bought him a ticket. Tim needs to call in his debts, but money isn’t the only thing holding him back.
The first time Tim met Javier, he was blown away by the attention. As an overweight, twenty-something virgin, he didn’t often—actually ever—get a guy, let alone a hot one, pay attention to him. The problem, Javier is straight; yet he gives Tim mixed messages. Tim can’t get Javier off his mind, unless he is pursuing his love for theater—or talking with his best friend, Julia, about the “unattainable” crushes they share on some of the guys back home.
With the Carolyn Sohier concert fasting approaching, Tim struggles to get tickets. If he hadn’t lent Javier the money to, well, have his way with him in the beer cooler at the store they worked at together, maybe Tim wouldn’t have lost his job, and would be able to see Carolyn perform. But Tim’s learned his lesson from all this…or so he thinks.
Excerpt: “I’m determined with this diet.”
“I’m proud of you.”
“Thanks,” I said.
He took another sip of his and put it down. He looked up at me. “You look handsome,” he said.
I could feel my mouth fall open. No one had ever said that to me. Well, maybe my mother but that didn’t count, and the go-go boy said I was cute, but I thought he was just looking to make money. Matt? He was drunk, per usual. “Oh, go on,” I said, waving my hand and jutting my chin out, eager for the attention.
He snickered. “You are.” He picked up his cup and held it with both hands. His elbows were on the table and he hid his smile behind the mug.
I pulled at my shirt. “Something’s wrong with you,” I said. I took a sip of my coffee. It was hotter without all that cream. And bitter.
The waitress came by with her notepad. “Did you get a chance to look at the menu?”
“Oh, no. I’m sorry.” I put my cup down and grabbed the sheet that was in front of me.
“I’ll give you some more time,” she said and started back.
“Wait a minute,” Javier said.
She turned around.
“Don’t you think he’s handsome?” Javier asked her.
My face got all hot. It must have been fifty shades of red. I looked down and glimpsed back at her.
She came forward and smiled. “But of course. Those dimples and those beautiful green eyes could make a lesbian swoon.”
I sat up and could feel a lump in my throat but was determined not to cry. I had already done enough of that.
“See, I told you,” he said to me.
“I’ll check in on you two handsome boys in a little bit,” she said and left.
My hands were shaking underneath the table. Why? I’m not quite sure. There were just so many things going on in my life but it was a good shake. I picked up my napkin and dabbed my nose.
“I’m starving,” Javier said and picked up his menu. “Ah, blueberry pancakes. They have my fucking name all over ’em.”
TNA: It’s been said that it’s easier to make people cry than it is to make them laugh. Do you agree? How would you describe your sense of humor?
Rick: I think they’re both a challenge. In regard to making someone cry, you don’t want to come across as melodramatic. Subtlety is the key. I think the saddest book I ever read was Charlotte’s Web. I cried for twenty years. As for laughter, as a writer, I may actually find that easier. But again, you can’t slap your reader over the head with a dumb line or force your characters to do something just to get a laugh. It doesn’t work that way. Sometimes the funniest of things are the simplest. (Remind me to tell this to my muse tomorrow morning when I sit down to write.)
TNA: Do you have any works in progress or upcoming releases scheduled you’d like to share news about?
Rick: I’m working the aforementioned prequel to Tim on Broadway. Plus, I’ve started Tim’s second season. I also have a Christmas story coming out on November 21st. It’s titled One Nightstand and will be part of Beaten Track Publishing’s Boughs of Evergreen: A Holiday Anthology. I’m very excited about it.
TNA: Thanks again for stopping by today, Rick, would you care to share where readers can find you on the internet?
Rick: You can read my website and blog at rickbettencourt.com. But the absolute best place to find me is by getting on my mailing list. Just enter your email address at http://rickbettencourt.com/signup/ and you’ll get my exclusive newsletter.
Thank you so much.
The Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED