Wednesday, October 1, 2014

INTERVIEW: Rick Bettencourt

Today I'm delighted to introduce the wonderful Rick Bettencourt, who comes to us in his Salem cap and his awesome smile!
Hello Rick and welcome to The Hat Party! <3 Thank you so much for subjecting yourself to the RANDOMNESS that is a Raine O'Tierney interview! Please don your best hat, and let's get started!

I’m happy to be here. Thank you so much for having me. I hope you like my hat. I just bought it in Salem, Massachusetts when I went back recently to visit.

You’ve been given the opportunity to go back in time and give your 13-year-old self a message. What do you say?

“What’s with the zits?” No, that’s really mean. I shouldn’t say that to my old self.
In all honesty, I’d tell myself that the acne will clear, you’ll slim down and you’ll be greater than you ever thought of being. “Hang in there!”

So, you were editing along and zombies attack. And they are on fire! What do you do?

Marvel that I’ve finally made it on the set of The Walking Dead, my favorite television show.
“Where’s Michonne? Oh, there she is.”

Describe yourself using song lyrics.

Oh, boy. Just one song? That’s hard. Let me see. How about…
“Can I see your bum Fernando? Do you still recall the fateful night we crossed…”
Oh, wait a minute. That was my character’s bastardized version of the ABBA song. Oh, well. It still it fits.

You have 200 words—Make. Me. Swoon. (PLEASE!)

Alright, this is over the 200, but perhaps you could allow me a little creative freedom in this excerpt from my novel, Tim on Broadway:
“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.”

What makes you inexplicably happy?

Walking my dog, meditating and sitting with my hubby just watching life.

What is your biggest, most-wild writing dream? (Nothing is too outlandish!)

To get all the crazy ideas I have for books written, polished and published. All five-hundred million.

What is your favorite literary quote?

I don’t know who said it, but I’ve kind of changed it up and made it my own. This has helped me get through many a final draft: “Don’t get it right, get it written.”
We all have a tendency to overthink things, but when it comes right down to it you just need to write. Put on paper (or word processing page) your thoughts. You can always go back and edit some other time. Just get it written. Write whatever comes to mind—however silly.

What one food item do you consider to be your arch nemesis?

That’s a real tough one. There aren’t too many foods I don’t like. But if I had to pick, I’d go with grapefruit. That’s one fruit I’ve never been a fan of.

Biggest mistake you’ve made in your writing career and what you’ve learned from it.

Not starting earlier. If only I’d written more and at an earlier age.
Then again, I’m not one to look back and regret. If I hadn’t done all I’d done before, then I wouldn’t be where I’m at. So, I’m happy with the way things have turned out.

And finally, for THE most important question of all: what kinds of dachshunds are the BEST kinds of dachshunds?

Well, I love dogs. All dogs. My neighbor has a little dachshund that is so adorable. I have a cairn terrier. I’m partial to dogs that do not have fur—like my terrier—because of allergies. I believe dachshunds have fur. So maybe an allergy-free one would be best for me.

~ ~ ~

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. 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.


Chapter 1: America’s Got Divas

I put down my doughnut, picked up my iced coffee and took a sip. The extra-extra cream and extra-extra sugar gave me a nice little rush. It wasn’t quite as good as Starbucks’ but being unemployed I had to make the best of my homebrewed pot.
I had my cell phone cradled in the crook of my shoulder, talking to my best friend Julia. “With my Kindle,” I said, “I can read them without people staring at me on the subway.”
“I still can’t believe you like girly romance books,” Julia said. I could hear her slurping her own coffee, probably an iced Double Mocha Grande, being that she was at our old Starbucks in Salem. “You’re the only guy I know who has every Chippendale Publishing book ever released.”
I didn’t really but I didn’t want to quibble over details. “Oh my God,” I said, as a bit of powdered sugar sprayed from my mouth and landed on the blanket I had covered over me. I was getting ready to watch TV. “I almost forgot to tell you.”
She slurped some more of her coffee. “What?”
“Guess who’s doing a comeback concert?” I brushed the sugar dust off the blanket.
“Who, Cher?”
“No,” I said, raising my voice.
“I don’t know. You got me,” she said, and from her muffled speech, I could tell she was eating, probably a slice of carrot cake or a blueberry scone. I know what Julia likes. When she eats desserts, she usually goes for something that has a vegetable in it or some antioxidant fruit, because, of course, they’re healthier than my powdered doughnuts.
I pulled the blanket closer to me. “Carolyn Sohier,” I said. “She’s finally coming out of seclusion and doing a concert.”
“Carolyn, who?” I heard the clinking of the fork against the plate. Carrot cake, I bet.
“Carolyn Sohier― you know, the singer who was in Witches of Salem, that movie we saw the night I slipped on the ice in Danvers? And she was also on Broadway in―”
“Oh, her. That movie was terrible.” I could practically hear her nose wrinkle in disgust. Julia was brutally honest.Well, I liked it,” I said. “She’s an amazing singer.”
“She didn’t even sing in that movie,” she said, with her voice trailing off at the end.
“Well, it wasn’t a musical. But she did sing the theme song. Remember, we saw her on last year’s America’s Got Divas. She was the guest judge.”
“I suppose you’ll want me to go with you,” she said.
I clicked the remote control. “We’ll see. Tickets are expensive. She’s decided to come out of seclusion, out from her Greta Garbo cocoon. It’s a one-night only performance up in Bar Harbor.”
“Maine? Who the fuck gives a comeback performance in Maine? Bar Harbor, nonetheless. What, is she going to come out on stage riding a moose?” She laughed.
My neck was beginning to ache. I rubbed it. “I guess that’s where she lives. It’s a benefit of sorts.”
“So are you going to take the train or bus your ass up here to see her?”
By here Julia was referring to New England, where we had both grown up.
“You wanna go?” I asked.
“You mean will I go?” Julia wasn’t a huge fan of divas like I was, but she knew I had no one else to go with and wouldn’t travel alone.
“C’mon, you like her,” I said. “You even said her rendition of that Barry Manilow song was better than his.”
“Is that the song she sang when she shit herself on stage?”
“Whatever,” I said and tossed the remote onto the seat cushion next to me. Julia was referring, of course, to Carolyn’s fairly well-publicized stage fright. Carolyn had suffered a particularly bad spell several years back and, well, embarrassed herself on live television. It was pretty sad. Julia thought it was funny.
I turned as an ambulance’s siren rang out from the street below, followed by a blare from its horn. I hated the sound of ambulances. I got up to shut the window as it took a turn down Charleston Place.
“Five floors up and it sounds like the cops are right next door,” she said. “I don’t know how you can stand living in New York City.”
“It was an ambulance and I’m in Brooklyn.”
I looked at the wall clock, a gift I bought myself. It had logos from nearly all the big Broadway shows over the past two years. “Shit. It’s almost time for America’s Got Divas and I haven’t even set the DVR.”
 “Alright, I’ll let you go. Besides, I should check the dryer.” She was at our old Starbucks across from the Laundromat. “Oh and how are you going to come up with the money to buy tickets for this reclusive diva? Didn’t you just get done telling me you’ve already spent this week’s and next week’s unemployment check?”
I didn’t want to get into it. “Javier,” I said. “This week, he’s finally going to pay me the money he owes me.”
“Oh, God. Not Javier.” I knew her well enough to know that she was probably rolling her eyes as she said it.
“Shut up,” I said, with no real force behind it. Julia could be such a bitch. She was always reminding me of the things I did wrong, which were plenty, and the things I should be doing to better myself, which, quite honestly, were spilling out of my inbox.
I didn’t want to be reminded of the humiliating experience I had had with Javier, the bagger at the Good Barn, my former place of employment. In short, he got me fired. “He’s getting money from his student loan,” I said. “He is going to pay me back on Wednesday.”
“We’ll see about that. Didn’t I tell you not to give him that money? Didn’t I tell you you’d probably never see it again? But no,” she said, holding onto the vowel a bit longer than necessary. “You still went off and gave it to him after giving him a BJ in the beer cooler behind Produce. He’s going to ruin your wholesome, good-natured reputation.”

Available from Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Kobo | Scribd | BN | Inktera
Also, the entire first episode (over 70 pages) is available for free from Amazon


*What inspired you to write the story you’re promoting?
I don’t like the fact that nearly all mm romance books tend to have a svelte good-looking main character. In writing Tim on Broadway, I wanted to take the challenge of writing something where the characters are more realistic–and use their flaws as inspiration.
If you agree, then join my newsletter here.

*Is there anything special you’d like us to know about your book?

Like all my books, there’s a connection to the North Shore of Massachusetts. In Tim on Broadway, Tim comes from Salem, Massachusetts. I was born and raised in the area. It will always be home.

*What are your hopes for this title?

One of the reasons I write is to inspire others to make positive changes in their lives. I believe we all have the ability to make profound transformations—whether it’s to lose weight like Tim or get out of a bad rut.

About the Author: 

Rick Bettencourt is the author of Tim on Broadway, Painting with Wine and Not Sure Boys. He lives with his husband and their little dog, Bandit, in the Sarasota area of Florida. Rick originally hails from Boston’s North Shore where he learned to speak without pronouncing the letter “r”— and say things like “tonic” when he wanted a Coke, or “bubbler” when getting a drink from the park’s water fountain.

A few years ago, Rick was adopted by a Cairn Terrier named Bandit. Recently, Bandit moved Rick, and his husband of several years, to Florida to escape the New England winters and avoid being engulfed by snow drifts when going about their business.

When Rick is not being walked around the block by Bandit, he might be found working on a story about an underdog character triumphing over adversity. Or you might catch Rick watching The Walking Dead or Once Upon a Time, reading something like Running with Scissors or some personal development book, or writing to a group of folks on his mailing list.

In addition, Rick enjoys theater, art, old postcards, and amusement parks. He also loves to hear from his readers. 

Connect with Rick:

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