Today I have a great interview with Rick Bettencourt who is talking about his latest novel Tim On Broadway.
So Tim on Broadway is your new novel, can you tell us a bit about it?
I’d be happy to. First off, thank you for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be here. (You are most welcome).
Tim on Broadway: Season One is a funny yet emotional journey about an overweight, twenty-something, gay virgin who his obsessed with getting tickets to see his favorite performer. When the book opens, we learn Tim has been fired from his job at a grocery store for sexually harassing an employee. As we read on, we discover it takes two to tango.
Tim on Broadway is a journey of self-discovery. It’s about believing in yourself in order to succeed in both love and life.
I had a lot of fun writing it. I hope that comes across the page.
You originally released Tim on Broadway as a series, what made you want to do it this way and what was the response you got from your readers?
The story reminded me of a TV show—like maybe Glee or The Office but made for HBO. I thought what better way to compliment that than to release it in episodes. It’s now available as one volume/novel—thus the “full season” in the title. The episodes started in June of 2014. The first being completely free, and still is. The initial episode is about one-third of the story, much more than the typical ten percent a reader would get from downloading a novel’s sample on Amazon.
Each week I released a new episode. After the sixth and final episode, the entire novel came out in one full volume.
The response I got was excellent. People felt that getting a decent chunk of the book for free allowed them to test the waters before committing. It’s done fairly well. I’m pleased.
Since then, Tim on Broadway has been picked up by Beaten Track Publishing—a boutique publisher in Lancashire, England—and on September 15, 2014 the full season was released in paperback.
Tim, from your blurb, sounds a bit of a… well dare I say it loser. Can you tell us a bit more about him and why you decided to write a character that wasn’t tall dark and handsome?
I like my stories to have an element of truth to them. None of us are perfect. I find it hard to relate to flawless characters whose only issue is finding true love or buying the right shirt to compliment his bicep cleavage. Blah! Boring! We all have problems—whether we’re a bit overweight, shy or have a crooked nose—it makes us unique. We can relate! I don’t think Tim’s a loser at all. He’s loveable, fun, quirky and a romantic at heart. He’s just like you and me.
But have no fear. While Tim may not be the conventional hero, there’s still plenty of “eye candy” for readers to ogle over.
If you were trying to describe Tim on Broadway what books, or films, or TV shows would you compare it to?
A reader recently compared Tim on Broadway to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. I love Maupin, so I took this as a huge compliment. In regard to film, I’m a Bette Midler fan. The creation of my character Carolyn Sohier was inspired by Bette and her film The Rose. There’s The 40-Year Old Virgin for obvious reasons. And, as I mentioned earlier, Glee or maybe The Office might be a good television show comparison.
The book is set in Broadway, following a theatre obsessed Tim, how much research did you have to do into the setting and into the theatre, or was this something that you have an interest in yourself.
I’m a former actor. I went to NYU for theatre and had a few bit parts here and there in the industry. Nothing huge. My biggest claim to fame was having a walk-on role in a TV show filmed in Seattle, which starred James Earl Jones. I was a thug in a police station. We used an old elementary school for the set. It was fun, but long hours.
I was also a big, purple pill in a pharmaceutical commercial. And my car got more airtime in a Massachusetts Lottery bit than I did.
I’ve always been fascinated by showbiz. But one important thing I discovered in struggling to make it as a performer was that I didn’t really like it! I know. Big lesson. But I learned that I was more comfortable behind the scenes and less in the spotlight. I would rather be at the canteen talking to the other actors and crew than to be in front of the camera. I also liked watching the actors interpret their lines. That’s how I turned to writing.
Your back catalogue mainly stays in the genre of gay romance, when you write are you intentionally targeting a gay audience or do you feel the books are accessible to a wider audience?
It’s funny you should mention that. While my books involve gay characters, most of my readers are self-described as straight. I write what I know. I am openly gay, but I like to cross genres and do so by being true to myself and realistic. I think that doing this is also being true to my readers.
One reviewer of Tim on Broadway said it best. “You don’t have to be a Broadway fan (or gay) to appreciate it.” We’re all passionate about something in our lives. And we can all relate to Tim’s plight.
As a writer of gay fiction this must be a really exciting time for you. I can’t think of a time when gay romance has been so popular, but also culturally there are some big steps being made in history for gay rights. What do you think work like yours contributes to our society and do you feel that there is a bigger, more open minded reader base ready to pick up your work?
I write because I believe stories involving gay characters need to be more in the public eye. How many bestsellers have you seen primarily involving an LGBT life? While the LGBT community has made great advances over the last few years, there are still children being disowned from their families because of who they are. That’s just wrong. I believe the more realistic our lives are portrayed, the more likely the acceptance. We’re really not all that different. It doesn’t matter who somebody can love.
I think every author has a character, or a scene, or something about their book that is there personal favourite. What is your favourite bit in Tim on Broadway?
Oh, it’s got to be the shower scene. About half way through the book, Tim finds out that other men shave their private parts and he never has. He figures that maybe doing some “manscaping” will help him get lucky. It’s a very funny scene.
So Tim on Broadway blog tour is happening now. Once it is done what is next for Rick Bettencourt?
Right now I’m writing the second season of Tim on Broadway. Plus I have a Christmas story coming out around Thanksgiving time. I also have the prequel to Tim on Broadway, which is about the diva who Tim is infatuated with in Season One. So, keep in touch. The best way to follow me is to get on my mailing list. I’m forever writing to my readers, getting their feedback and giving them little freebies here and there.
So you can read more about Rick Bettencourt and his work (and his dog) here: http://rickbettencourt.com/
And you can download Tim On Broadway now from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L5AYW3A?tag=writincom02-20