So I sat down over a cuppa with author B.T. Gottfred to discuss his new book “The Handsome Girl and Her Beautiful Boy”.
This is the transcript:
INT. COFFEE SHOP. DAY CHARLIE WALKS OVER TO A MAN SITTING AT A WOODEN TABLE DRINKING OUT OF A "WORLD'S COOLEST DAD" MUG. CHARLIE Mr. Gottfred? B.T.LOOKS UP FROM THEIR MUG AND PEERS AT THE YOUNG PERSON STANDING IN FRONT OF THEM. THE CLOTHES WORN BY THE SMALL CHILD MADE DECERNING THE GENDER ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. B.T. DID NOT RECOGNIZE THEM. B.T. Can I help you? Charlie: I'm here for an interview. The name's Charlie. Charlie Smith. B.T at that moment recognized the girl from all her messages to him via Instagram. B.T. *Gestures for Charlie to sit* Charlie *sits down, placing book, purse and keys on the table* I'm going to go order a drink. Would you like a refill? B.T shakes their head and Charlie goes to the counter to order a strawberry cheesecake cream soda Charlie comes back over minutes later with a creamy pink drink in hand tucking a few dollars into their wallet. Charlie Would you like to go ahead and get started? B.T. shakes his head. Charlie gets out a recorder and the questions begin. Charlie So B.T., Your book deals with gender identity and coming to terms with it. How did you go about writing this type of novel? What inspired you? B.T Two central inspirations. I’m married to a woman where we take on the opposite traditional gender roles/responsibilities. It made me start to wonder what gender truly meant and what role it had in relationships and society. Around the same time, my closest group of friends became (largely) a group of gay men. One breakfast, one of these men took out his phone and showed me pictures of him dressed as a woman and he said, “Aren’t I a beautiful woman?” And the answer was a resounding yes. It also made me rethink what and who and why I am attracted to. Charlie What is your favorite part of the book? B.T. SMIRKS AT THIS QUESTION B.T. Them discovering themselves and each other in a motel room. Charlie What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? B.T Letting the characters be enough. Charlie What do you think your characters, Zee and Art would have to say about you? B.T TAKES A SIP OF THEIR COFFEE B.T. They answer that very thing in my acknowledgments. Charlie What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book? B.T. That a large part of my internal makeup is a sexually and gender fluid teenager. Charlie nods, understanding completely. Charlie You've mentioned that you yourself have felt more "feminine" at times? If so, how so? B.T, struggles to find the words, not expecting such a personal question. B.T. Well, part of what I am attempting with this book...and with my life... is to question what ‘feminine’ even means. If by traditional definitions of feminine which again, I wish we could divorce from the female gender, I would say my most dominant trait is being intuitive/sensitive to emotional states of others. Sexually, I enjoy all sorts of aspects that traditionally only women would be allowed to admit to. CHARLIE SENSES B.T. SHIFTING A BIT UNCOMFORTABLY, SO THEY CHANGE THE SUBJECT CHARLIE What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? B.T. Great reviews make you feel great. Bad reviews make you feel horrible. I try to let them balance you out. I would say to people reviewing on Goodreads that for non-top selling writers like myself, these reviews are far more important than they are to established writers. So know that and wield that power with the sensitivity you would like someone to if your book was in a similar position. Charlie Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? B.T SCRIBBLED SOME WORDS HURRIDLY ON A NAPKIN AND GIVES IT TO CHARLIE B.T I wrote a piece about this here THE NAPKIN READS: http://fiercereads.com/blog/straight-author-and-his-gay-best-friend-birthed-character-together/ CHARLIE TUCKS NAPKIN AWAY FOR THE POST Charlie Do you write full-time or part-time? B.T. I also write, direct and produce movies/digital television. Charlie For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hardback books? B.T. Traditional ones — mostly because I need a break from screen time. Charlie What book/s are you reading at present? B.T PULLS OUT "BOOK OF MORGAN" BY RON CHERNOW. CHARLIE SMILES, RECOGNIZING THE AUTHOR B.T Book of Morgan — by Ron Chernow. Charlie What book that you have read has most influenced your life? B.T. Catcher in the Rye — first book that I felt a voice was inside my head. CHARLIE TAKES A SIP OF HER DRINK AND SMILES. CHARLIE Who is your favorite author and why? B.T Raymond Chandler — he wrote with such straightforward artistry it’s hard to comprehend. Charlie What advice would you give to your younger self? B.T. IS QUIET FOR A MINUTE OR TWO THEN SPEAKS B.T Be nicer to yourself and more patient with the business of art. CHARLIE Where can we find you online? B.T. btgottfred.com Charlie Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans? B.T. GETS A GLAZE IN HIS EYES AND LOOKS AWAY LIKE HE IS TALKING TO A CROWD B.T. Thank you for being you and loving my characters for being who they are. CHARLIE Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? B.T SMILES B.T. Thank you Charlie