Tim on Broadway: Season One by Rick Bettencourt

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.

You can follow Rick on Twitter @rbettenc or subscribe to his mailing list at www.rickbettencourt.com

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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.

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The entire first episode (over 70 pages) is available for free at Amazon

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
A lot of what I write is inspired by music. I love to listen to songs while driving the coast or walking the beach. Often times, something about a lyric or a song’s mood will motivate me to write.

Prior to working on Tim on Broadway, I had written the story (yet to be published) of a singer and actress I named Carolyn Sohier. For Tim on Broadway, I wanted to write from a music lover’s perspective—and capture the experience of someone moved by the energy of a performer.

Tim, like me, loves powerhouse singers.

Carolyn Sohier is not only a dynamic performer but also a recluse. I liken her to Greta Garbo, in that Carolyn’s in hiding. I also equate her to Barbra Streisand, who does not perform all that often. When Tim on Broadway opens, Carolyn announces— after a number of years of not being in the spotlight —that she’ll be doing a one-night only concert. Tim has to see it.

The novel’s idea came from watching and listening to Bette Midler’s “Stay with Me”, which is the finale in the film The Rose. The song has since become a staple for Midler’s live shows. Her performance of this torch-rock song is unrivaled. I wanted to convey what it felt like to be enthralled by such a performance. The first time I saw Bette sing this song live, I was floored. Goose bumps. Tears. Mouth agape. I hope to have done Bette justice in this book.

I love singers who evoke passion when they sing. Janis Joplin is another performer who does this. Carolyn Sohier is Joplin, Midler and Streisand all mixed into one. Tim Benton, the main character, is a huge fan. But he’s got some obstacles to overcome.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
I wrote the first draft of Tim on Broadway in about a month. It then went through several rewrites for another couple more.

On the other hand, the prequel—the story of Carolyn Sohier—has taken me years. And it’s still not done.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love to let a story unfold, and watch it as if I’m experiencing it for the first time myself.

For years, I fought against outlining because I felt it wouldn’t allow me the flexibility to experience the story like new. I felt if I knew exactly where the story was going it wouldn’t come across as fresh to the reader.

For Tim on Broadway I did outline, but I used the process very broadly. In fact, the end became something entirely different from what I originally sketched. Through it, I’ve learned to embrace outlining and use it to help set boundaries for me. But, I also take the liberty to knock down a wall here or there if the characters and story require it.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Stopping! I get so caught up in writing that I just want to stay in my story’s world. It becomes very hard to withdraw.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I think the complications of being inside someone else’s body would be too weird for me. I prefer to stay in my own. Besides in the larger sense of things we’re already all one. Why select just one person when I’m everybody? (Read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle or Wishes Fulfilled by Wayne Dyer to learn more.)

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Oh God, probably the jar of strawberry preserves. It’s at least a year old.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Season Two of Tim on Broadway is in the works. Plus, there’s that prequel that I’ve mentioned.

More near term, I’m working on a Christmas story to be released around Thanksgiving time. One Nightstand will be part of Beaten Track’s compilation titled Boughs of Evergreen: A Holiday Anthology. My contribution to this was also inspired by song—coincidentally the same title as that which inspired Tim on Broadway. However, “Stay with Me” as sung by Sam Smith (an entirely different song than Midler’s) got me thinking about someone looking for love in a one night stand.

Thank you so much for hosting me. It’s been a pleasure.
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