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Interview & Giveaway (US/Int): Celebrating the release of Straight Shooter, the Rear Entrance Video series’ kinkiest story yet, with author Heidi Belleau

 

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Posted April 13, 2014 by

GraveTells (GT): Please help me welcome Heidi Belleau, author of Riptide Publishing’s Rear Entrance Video series! Heidi, I just have to know… is there a fun story behind the naming of this series and the adult store it revolves around? Because, seriously, I adore it!

Heidi Belleau (HB): Thanks so much for having me! The story behind the name is that once upon a time I used to work at a seedy porn store myself, and on the front door of that store was a sign that said “second entrance in rear” and I thought it was so funny as a double-entendre that I decided, hey, what if someone used a sign like that to name the whole store? And so it came down to naming the store/series “Rear Entrance Video” or “Back Door Video Store”. What do you think, did I ultimately make the right choice? LOL

GT: Most definitely! This series deals with some heavy issues, crossing traditional gender boundaries and identities. What inspired each of the stories?

HB: Well, the seed of it all was the porn store setting, and the stories for each character came from that: what kind of scenarios would really make the most of it? So I started out with the obvious, which was stuck-up Christian who can’t let on what kind of seedy business he’s working for. And then with Rob/Bobby I wanted to write something that touched on how porn is a vastly different place for men vs. women or feminine-presenting people (like Rob/Bobby). And then with Austin, I knew I wanted to write a story with a porn star, and Austin’s personality was already established from the earlier books, so I just made things as difficult for him as humanly possible. >:D

GT: I’m sure his inner monologue in your head is super appreciative of that, too. Hah! *wink* Apple Polisher is a multicultural romance and Christian and Max are from completely different backgrounds. They seem to be going in opposite directions, yet their dynamic works. Christian is definitely not the typical personality for a romance hero and Max isn’t what he appears to be on the surface. Was there anything that helped you work through their relationship dynamics to shape the overall story arc?

HB: I think every book in the Rear Entrance Video series has an element of “opposites attract.” It’s a dynamic I really love to write, and I think the similarity between Max, Dylan, and Liam is how as love interests they all help the main characters of their respective books grow. I think we grow a lot from being exposed to different kinds of people with different personalities and different views. Not to say we should change ourselves to suit every person we meet, but every relationship is a learning opportunity, even if we’re learning who we don’t want to be. Luckily for my guys, all their love interests were positive influences 😉

GT: Rob’s cross-gender story, Wallflower, will definitely push the comfort level of some readers as he works through his personal identity and how to be true to his sexuality. One thing that really intrigued me was how he constantly walked the line between identifying as a man or as a woman. Can you tell us more about crafting and developing his story?

HB: Honestly, it originally came from realizing that a lot of the funniest (and saddest, and scariest) stuff that happens in any given porn store likely wouldn’t happen between a male customer and another man. I had a lot of experiences I wanted to mine for material, but writing about guys would make me miss out on all of it. But it’s an M/M series so I had to write a male character who presents as female. Originally I was going to “just” write a cross-dresser, but I realized it would be so much more rewarding and interesting to write someone who was actually genderqueer and have them going through those issues of gender. Having him be both allowed me to really get elbows-deep into the issues of gender in the porn setting. And thus, Bobby was born. And he’s one of my favourite characters!

GT: Out of all three books, I found Austin’s to be the most intense and compelling. While Rob’s cross-dressing isn’t exactly mainstream, it’s still on the radar of society’s awareness. Austin’s kink is far more subtle and less understandable from an outside perspective. What were some of the challenges in writing and developing his story?

HB: Honestly, my biggest challenge was to stay true to Austin’s characterization (a homophobic, racist jock), have him be sympathetic as a main character BUT not excuse his behaviour or let him get off scot-free for it just because he’s got problems of his own. It was a tough line to walk.

GT: This entire series is rather brave and even some LGBTQ-friendly publishers might consider it risky. Were there any notable challenges for getting Rear Entrance Video through the planning stages and into publication?

HB: Other than me actually GETTING THEM WRITTEN, no. Actually, I pitched Riptide with the concept and they contracted the series just based on that. I feel massively privileged and thankful that that is the case. Which just goes to show how much small-press and indie publishing has changed the game. Ten years ago this series would likely NEVER have gotten into the hands of readers, except maybe if I’d written it as fanfic or had underground zine connections, maybe. It definitely wouldn’t have been reviewed in Library Journal, Romantic Times magazine or Publisher’s Weekly, that’s for damn sure! This may sound a little like a shill, and I’m sorry for that in advance, but I’m being 100% honest when I say: As an author I feel like with Riptide in my corner the sky’s the limit.

GT: As a reader, that’s great to hear – knowing there is a publisher out there not afraid to push the boundaries of pop culture’s comfort zones. What sort of research did you do to map out the technical and personal aspects of these character journeys, and did any of it hit close to home for you as an author?

HB: I’ve sort of been on the periphery of reading about the culture and industry of pornography for a long time. I went through the mad experience of teaching school. I worked in a porn store. I had genderqueer readers go over “Wallflower”. Actually the biggest amount of dedicated FOR THE STORY research I did was: the cancer-related stuff for book 1 (having an RN for a mother and all her RN friends to ask questions of helped), and the hockey stuff for book 3, which was a mix of online research, having Julio Alexi-Genao doing beta, and occasionally asking my father questions without going into detail why.

GT: Is there anything else you’d like to share about Straight Shooter or the Rear Entrance Video series?

HB: It was a labour of love. It’s the book of my heart. It’s my first successful solo effort, and I’m proud of myself, but it couldn’t have happened without the support of my beta readers (including my genderqueer and poc betas who helped me get the important stuff right) and my publisher and of course the readers who have bought and reviewed the books.

GT: Thanks so much for being our guest today, for the candid talk and for the bravery to write such a progressive series in LGBTQ romance. What’s on the horizon? Can we look forward to more Rear Entrance Video or are you planning a new series?

HB: Thank you so much for having me and for the thoughtful questions and the compliments! I wouldn’t say I’m “brave” so much as I am damn lucky to have the support of so many people. But hey, that means that with the right backup, anyone can take risks and write their fiction on the frontier. So let’s do it!

As for me, I won’t say “never”, but for now I’m putting Rear Entrance Video to bed and moving on to other things. I’ve got a dark dystopia coming out in August co-written with Lisa Henry called “Bliss”, and you can expect more queer New Adult from me in 2015. How about a story of a sexworker with a famous face and the movie-buff shutin who hires him? Or a young bisexual woman raised in our toxic “purity ring” culture who takes a vow of “promiscuity” and sets her sights on a badboy rocker who used to be the hip teenybopper face of the purity movement . . . but may not be quite as reformed as she thinks? Onward!

xoxo

About the book

Straight Shooter (Rear Entrance Video #3) by Heidi BelleauThis macho jock has a crooked little secret.

College hockey player Austin Puett is in trouble. Unless he starts treating his flamboyantly gay roommate with respect, he’ll lose his room and his job at Rear Entrance Video. But Austin’s got a not-so-straight secret of his own: nothing turns him on more than insults implying he’s gay—even though he’s definitely not!—and all his old coping methods have stopped working.

Pure desperation drives him to rent a Mischievous Pictures porn flick about straight men tricked into servicing Puck, a male dominant. Instead of letting off steam, though, it just leaves him craving more, more, more, and suddenly, Austin finds himself at Mischievous Pictures Studios for an audition. After all, you can be Gay For Pay and still be straight . . . right?

But meeting Liam Williams, the real person behind Puck, confuses Austin even more. Liam really seems to like him as a person, and Austin likes him back. And while Gay For Pay’s okay, what does it make Austin if he still wants Liam when the cameras aren’t rolling?

Read our review of Straight Shooter here!

Buy it on Amazon here…

About the author

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 centered on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!) Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms. She also writes queer-flavoured M/F as Heloise Belleau.

Giveaway (US/Int)

Heidi is giving away ebooks #s 1 and 2 of the Rear Entrance Video series (that’s Apple Polisher and Wallflower) to not one, but two lucky commenters on this tour! All you gotta do is leave a comment on this post with a way to contact you (and if your preferred method of contact is email, make sure to put that in the body of the comment, not just in the blog’s form since Heidi can’t see that info!) Each comment counts for another entry in the draw, so be sure and follow the entire tour. Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on April 21, and winners will be chosen on April 23rd. Contest is valid worldwide.

Follow the tour

For more chances to win, and to read more about Straight Shooter and the Rear Entrance Video series, visit the other tour stops linked here! Good luck and enjoy Austin’s story!
StraightShooter_TourBanner


davincikittie

 
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue and GraveTells have won several blogging awards, and GraveTells recently celebrated its five-year anniversary! Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.


10 Comments


  1.  
    Lori Meehan

    Sounds good. Thanks for the interview. Loved it.
    Lorimeehan1 at aol dot com




  2.  
    Anne

    I just found out about this series by seeing reviews from Straight Shooter. Sounds interesting to me because it covers topics that other erotic series don’t according to DK’s review. I’m getting bored with the same old, same old.

    acm05atjuno.com




    •  

      This series is definitely not same ole same old! I was hesitant at first because I worried I wouldn’t be able to identify with the characters, but it is very well written and all the guys are so likeable. And Austin’s story just slays me. Loved it! You could start at Straight Shooter if you wanted, but you’ll miss a lot of backstory, so I’d recommend starting with Apple Polisher to get the whole saga.

      Thanks for stopping in and good luck in the giveaway!




  3.  
    Trix

    I loved Austin’s story, so I’m eager to read the rest of the series!

    vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com




    •  

      Me toooo!!! It’s so different from most of the other stories in m/m, even the D/s ones. Humiliation as a kink doesn’t get as much publicity as say pure submission or masochism. The story arc is so believably developed too!




  4.  
    Lee Todd

    this series sounds great
    please count me in

    leetee2007@hotmail.com




  5.  
    Mary Preston

    A great post thank you. I am curious about the old video on the cover.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com




  6.  
    BlackAsphodel

    The more I find out about the characters of each book, the more I want to read them all!

    blackasphodel(at)yahoo(dot)com




  7.  
    Max Thomas

    Thanks! These are definitely on my to read list. max3878@yahoo.com




  8.  
    Loren

    *crossing fingers* mevalem258ATgmailDOTcom





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