Thank you for joining Riptide on our 4th Anniversary blog tour! We are excited to bring you new guest posts from our authors and a behind the scenes insights from Riptide. The full tour schedule can be found at http://riptidepublishing.com/events/tours/riptides-4th-anniversary-celebration. Don’t miss the limited time discounts and Free Books for a Year giveaway at the end of this post!
Please welcome Heidi Belleau to the tour.
Five Facts You Might Not Know About Rear Entrance Video
1. I actually worked in an “adult” store
It’s true! During my university years, I had a job working at a dingy, dirty, totally skeezy porn store on Hastings St in Vancouver. It paid ten bucks an hour, which was unheard of in Vancouver at that time, it was only a half hour on one bus away from where I was living, and they let me do my homework on shift. A lot of the best bits of Rear Entrance Video come directly from my experiences working there. I really did have to recite dirty words for my boss at the interview, and I really did have a regular customer who came in asking me to show him “the most erotic film [I’d] ever seen.” A couple of my coworkers have cameos in the story, though I changed their names and personalities to suit. What was different? My store didn’t have .25cent peepshow booths, a fact my customers OFTEN complained about.
After about a year working there, I had to quit when a customer assaulted me and my new boss didn’t back me up. I later found out they’d banned me from the store entirely. Bobby got to have a happier end to a similar story, because it’s a Romance and I wanted better for him. Suck it, ex-boss!
Even so, I still miss that job, and remain friends with almost all my former coworkers.
2. The series was meant to start with Bobby
I knew I wanted to write a story about a porn store drawing from my own experiences, but I also knew I was an M/M author first and foremost. Problem being, a lot of the crazy shit that happened to me at the porn store really wouldn’t have happened if I was a dude. So I came up with the idea of a character who presented as a woman while he worked, who would then discover how the environment changed depending on whether customers saw him as a man or a woman. And then since I was exploring gender already, I decided that rather than making him a crossdressing man, that I would have him be a transgender, nonbinary person, which added a layer of complexity to the story that I wound up really enjoying and getting elbows deep into. However, I thought the whole concept was a little much for the introduction of an M/M series, and that I really wanted to explore and build the world before I got introduced all that complexity, so I created the character of Christian to lead the first book, with the intention of him having a more accessible, straight-forward story that really established the series. And what better way to do that then have him moving into a new house, starting a new program at university, and also getting saddled with a (new to him) business? I wound up absolutely loving him, and loving building this new world through his eyes.
3. Rear Entrance Video is chock full of people and places I used to know
This series of books totally came from my life experiences in a lot of ways. The porn store, for one. I also graduated from teaching school (and yes, it was as much pressure as Christian dealt with!). But a lot of the characters come from my life too. Not wholesale, of course, but traits and appearances and mannerisms were all cherry picked from my life. My visual for Christian was a gangly guy I once new in Junior High (he’s now a total babe in the Canadian army, having won the puberty lottery). Auntie Beverly
was based off of an English teacher I once had (who for three whole years called me Samantha—not my name, for the record.) Max got his looks from an ex of mine. Bobby’s voice and mannerisms are stolen from someone I knew in anime club. (Yes, anime club. Proceed with the shaming.) I already mentioned the cameos my porn store coworkers got. But it’s not just people. Liam’s condo is a duplicate of the one my husband lived in when we met. The art exhibit Bobby and Dylan visit is one I went to for a class. The school Christian and Austin go to is the one I graduated from. Although, oops, they don’t actually have a hockey team. Sorry Austin, guess those NHL dreams of yours are a little farther off than you thought . . .
4. Straight Shooter was only meant to be 50k words
The same length as the other books in the series. Uniform. Predictable. Handed in on time. Yeah, ask Sarah Lyons how that turned out for me . . .
(I would later repeat that utter failure in planning with my and Sam Schooler’s upcoming book Dead Ringer, which was supposed to be 50-60k and finished a year ago. Guess what book is 120 thousand freakin’ words . . .)
5. I had character art commissioned of all the romantic leads in the series
It’s by Justinya Wycislak, an artist from Vancouver who’s well-known on tumblr for doing a drawing of all the Arthur characters grown up and hipster-y and Muffy is totally chubby and I love it. Here’s her interpretation of the characters:
Welcome to Rear Entrance Video, Davie Street Village’s very own backdoor triple X store! The peep show booths are sticky, the sex toys are out of stock, and nobody’s collected any late fees in months.
Enter the store’s new manager, uptight teacher-hopeful Christian Blake, and his four misfit college roommates from Noah Hadley’s house for wayward gay boys: reluctant landlord Noah, mysterious bad boy Max, vain jock Austin, and awkward gamer geek Rob. Together, they’ll try to run the store . . . without letting everything they’re hiding—from the world and each other—run it into the ground.
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.
She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!)
When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.
Connect with Heidi:
The Rear Entrance Video collection is being sold in a special discounted bundle by Riptide this week only. Check out the sale on this series and other bundles at http://www.riptidepublishing.com/anniversary-sale
To celebrate our anniversary, Riptide Publishing is giving away free books for a year! Your first comment at each blog stop on the Anniversary Tour will count as an entry and give you a chance to win this great prize. Giveaway ends at midnight, October 31, 2015, and is not restricted to US entries.