Today we have Dev Bentham’s latest Painting in the Rain! I want to acknowledge that I owe Dev an apology. This was supposed to go up last Wednesday, but I was traveling and despite assuring her it would indeed go up, I completely spaced on it and failed to do so. I’m sorry, Dev, and I hope that putting it up this week makes up for it a little bit.
What are your names? And tell us a little about yourselves?
Mike Malone: “Hey, how’s it going? I’m a social worker, here in Bayport for a summer job working with at-risk kids. Until I met Gabe, I was having a hard time being here. I guess when I applied, I thought a small town on the Oregon coast would be more gay-friendly than the little Northern Wisconsin town where I grew up.”
Gabe Thompson: “I was born here so the small town attitudes don’t surprise me. As an artist, I guess I’m used to being an outcast. But it’s been hard on my son, Trevor. He’s still angry that a couple years ago I divorced his mother and came out.”
How did you meet?
Mike: “Like Gabe said, Trevor’s one pissed off kid. He’s been acting out enough to have his parents enroll him in my program.”
Gabe: “Right. Mike’s my son’s supervisor, which is a little awkward, to say the least. We met when Mike came over to talk about Trevor’s behavior—he’s turned into an adolescent Casanova, probably in reaction to me.”
Was it love at first sight?
Mike: “It was something at first sight. He took my breath away.”
Gabe: “There I was, talking with my son’s social worker and all I could focus on was Mike’s eyes. I couldn’t believe this gorgeous young man was interested in a middle aged guy like me.”
Mike: “Oh come on, I’m older than I look. There’s less than ten years between us. Besides, thirty-five isn’t exactly over the hill.”
Gabe: “It’s damned close. But I’m glad that doesn’t faze you.”
What do you believe is your worst or most frustrating quality? What about his?
Mike: “I think Gabe doesn’t give himself enough credit. He’s a very accomplished artist—you should see his work. He’s really good. I think my worst quality is that I’m overly cautious, or at least I was with Evan. The poor kid deserved better from me.”
Gabe: “You can’t blame yourself. What happened to Evan wasn’t your fault. The thing that frustrates me most about myself is that I’ve tried hard to be a good father and I think I’ve failed.”
Mike: “I don’t know about that—I think you’re a great dad. But I’ll agree with you that the thing that drives me most nuts about you is Trevor. The kid’s a terror.”
Gabe: “He used to be a fun to be around.”
Mike: “I’ll have to take your word on that.”
What is your best quality? What about his?
Gabe: “Mike’s a solidly good guy. He’s great with the kids, even Trevor, and he’s so very sane.”
Mike: “Thank you. That’s nice of you to say. But she also asked about your best quality. Are you trying to be modest?”
Gabe: “Hardly. But I like thinking about you more than about myself. I think my best quality might be persistence. I’ve stuck it out here for fifteen years in order to be a father to my son. That’s got to be worth something.”
Mike: “It is. And I think Trevor will appreciate it down the road. I’d have to say that your best quality is your imagination. I love your house because it’s like walking inside your brain—all those whimsical creatures everywhere. It’s enchanting. As for my best quality, I don’t know, maybe that I care. I really want life to be better for those kids. Not just the gay ones, but maybe especially them.”
If you could have one wish come true, what would it be and why?
Gabe: “That Mike would stay here on the coast.”
Mike: “Yeah. There’s a job opening up here. I’d like to get it and be able to stick around.”
Now let’s talk to Dev!
What makes your current offering a different and compelling read?
This is my first dual third person narrative story. In the past I’ve written from one character’s point of view—either in close third (Moving in Rhythm and August Ice) or in first (the Tarnished Souls series). While I love the more literary narrative styles that those points of view offer, I really enjoyed getting into the heads of both characters. This book is also more wildly romantic than any I’ve done before, perhaps because it’s in a more standard romance format or because it’s set on the Oregon coast, an area I find deeply romantic.
This is also the first story I’ve written that has a kid at the center and I’m delighted that came out on Fathers’ Day. I can’t imagine a more perfect timing for the release.
What is the most rewarding aspect of writing and/or publishing? The most terrifying/frustrating?
I love hearing from people who’ve enjoyed my books. One of my goals for publishing was to have people outside my circle of friends read my work. Now that that is happening, it’s both the most rewarding and the most terrifying aspect of writing—that people I’ve never met will either love or hate the stories I write.
What was your favorite thing about writing these characters?
I love how different these men are from each other. Mike’s a Midwestern kid, just out of graduate school and ready to start his real life. Gabe’s nine years older, an art school dropout who’s spent the past fifteen years compromising himself because of an experimental one-night stand that made him a father. Their experiences couldn’t be more different and yet they’re both aching for the same kind of whole-hearted relationship.
Lastly, provide us with covers, blurbs, buy links, and where you can be found on the web! 🙂
Find Dev on the web at www.devbentham.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on twitter at @DevBentham.