See what I did there?
I just have to say that I`m beyond excited to be able to sit down with Beau, Lynn Townsend`s character from her new M/M romance, Roll. I hope I can pull some good responses from him with the thought-provoking questions I`ve cooked up. Or, he can just roll his eyes at me as my own character`s generally do during these things. Either way, I`m down with it. So let`s get jiggy with it. Here are my questions for tall, blond, and adorable:
1-What are you majoring in?
Ain't really much decided what I'm majoring in. My advisor, and let me tell you, advice ain't exactly what he was providing, read directly from the college manual that I don't have to declare a major until first semester of my junior year. That being said, I reckon I'm gonna major in something dull, but hopefully has the prospects of getting me a job later. My brother's inheriting the farm, and even if that weren't the case, I ain't really wanting to go back to Tennessee after school. Business major, or econ, maybe. I've been getting good grades in econ.
2-Can you tell us anything about Vin?
I never met nobody quite like him before. You know, he's like really rich. Like, movie-star rich. The man's got a chauffeur! 'Course I understand from talking around that it's partially because he's one screw-up past losing his driver's license. Ann-Marie told me about it; he's wrecked a couple of cars, and gotten some reckless driving cites.
He's kinda a slob, I've been over to his place a few times, and it's the sort of room that'd make my Momma have a heart-attack.
And he's real pushy. Wants everything his own way. I don't think anybody's ever really told him “no” before. But you know, he's so sweet, and kinda puppyish. It's hard to want to tell him no. It's not like he wants stuff that you don't want to give him, anyway; go to dinner, hang out, ride on sleds. Did I tell you that? He just randomly bought about two dozen of those sleds one day, when we got like a foot and a half of snow, and he gave 'em away to everyone who asked.
Oh, and did you know that he's an artist? He's kinda weird about it, don't really draw attention to himself about it, but if you pick up one of his school books – here, check this out. Look there, at the bottom of the chapter. He did that whole tapestry, copied off the cover of his Chaucer book, in highlighter? I mean, is that crazy or what?
3-Since you attend college and are out, have you had any confrontations or other homophobic confrontations on campus?
Yeah... it was what you might call an irrational load of bad luck. I went over to the caf with Vin that first night we met and we had a little dust up with Vin's ex-roommate.
4-How did you handle the confrontation if it occurred?
Stupidly. I tried to get us out of the situation, but Chris caught up to us. Lucky us, he'd gotten separated from his group of thugs, and I put him down. Hard.
I learned that in high school, really. Since everyone involved in a fight's gonna get in trouble, I may as well get my licks in while I can. But it was dumb. I'm already in trouble 'bout fighting, from back home. I'm just hoping he don't say nothing official about it. If I get in trouble with the cops around here, I could get expelled.
5-Weekends. How do you spend them?
Hanging out with my crew. That's what my roommate, Josh, calls 'em. Ann-Marie and her girlfriend, Shan, and Vin, and Jody – she's the veep of the club. And sometimes Hector, although he graduated last year, but he still hangs with us, sometimes. A few weeks ago, me and Vin and Shan and Ann-Marie were playing joust in the courtyard. Me and Ann-Marie were the mounts – 'cause we're tallest – Shan and Vin sat on our shoulders and we beat the ever-lovin' tar out of each other with Nerf Swords.
6-Any sport that you`re a fan of?
I did wrestlin' in high school, but I decided not to try for the team at college. Didn't want meets to cut into my study time. I ain't exactly the brainest person out there, an' this is the only chance I really got to get out of Tennessee for good. Watch football some, but our college team blows. My Momma wanted me to go to school in state, so I got some Tennessee Vols gear, and me and my brother used to go watch the Lady Vols play basketball...
7-Favorite poet and poem?
You're kidding, right? Bad enough being gay and in the closet and havin' to fight every time someone slurs my name, but you think I read poetry? Do I look like I was aimin' to be brawling every weekend? In the closet in west Tennessee means manly shit, like sports teams and cute girlfriends and big-ass pickup trucks.
That bein' said and all, I remember a poem we read in class once, Traveling Through the Dark, by William Stafford, about a dead, pregnant deer on the side of the road.
“I thought hard for us all – my only swerving –
Then pushed her over the edge into the river.”
8-Do you see yourself as more Tony Stark or Steve Rogers?
Neither, really. I ain't rich, that'd be Vin all over the place. And Captain America, he's all Black vs White, good and bad, clear cut morality. That ain't me. I'm Hawkeye. I can get the job done, and I don't need recognition for it.
9 - Is Uncle Jeff the volunteer fireman Cousin Kate's dad? And if so, did she get into acting just to escape the lectures?
Yeah, Jeff's my mom's older brother. Kate's the youngest of two girls. But she's still quite a bit older than me. You know, her last name's not Belz. When we were growing up, she was plain old Katie Purcell. I say we grew up together, but that's not exactly it. She was ten when I was born, and she made extra pocket money by babysitting. But we got on pretty well, anyway. She was never what you woulda called 'mature.'
I remember this one time, when she was in love with this hot guy at her high school – and let me tell you, Rob Jordan was HOT, even I knew that. I was eight, she was a senior. Anyway, we climbed up under the 78 bridge that goes over the Obion and crossed hand-over-hand under the bridge. I'm eight, remember this fact, and the river's a good twenty-thirty feet drop below us. There's not like a safety rail or anything. We're crossing the river on these I-shaped metal beams under a highway! Just so she can spray-paint their names in a heart in the exact middle.
I don't think Momma ever found out about that one. She'd have died! Or killed Kate.
But that's the thing you gotta understand about Kate. I never seen anything like fear in her eyes. I don't think it even occurred to her that we might get killed, doing what we was doing. She's like the exact opposite of Uncle Jeff, who's always “Safety First.” I understand she's a nightmare for her studio. Wants to do her own stunts. I think she became an actress because she's crazy for life.
10 - Why did you pick the specific school you did?
You want the real answer, or the lie?
Yeah, the lie that I told my mom is that we've got a good econ program there, and that's true enough. I mean, it's not a lie-lie. But it's not why I went there. I... you know you have to drive to Memphis, wait around for an hour at least, get on a plane, and fly two hours to O’Hare and then take the train into campus? It's ten hours by train, or most of the day in the car. And no one I knew was going north for college. The valedictorian went to Vanderbilt, a few people went to TennTech... and a hell of a lot of people to STCC.
I just wanted to get away. Far enough that rumors wouldn't get back to my folks.
11 - Before the events of Roll, what was your general plan for after college?
Back in high school, you know, I was on the wrestling team. And tryin' to get good grades so that I could get into a good school. And dealin' with DeeDee, my girlfriend. And chores at the farm. D'you know what that does? It means every minute of every day was planned out. I watched what I ate, I worked out, I hit the mats with my sensei. In the days before a meet, I'd carry a paper cup around with me and spit in it all day to try and dehydrate enough to drop a half pound and stay in my weight class. An' I got into fights, whenever someone made a slur on me. For a while, I kept my hair buzz-cut because those curls, people would say stupid shit, and I was so scared of anyone findin' out what I was, I tended to hit first, with real little provocation.
Plans? No, I didn't make plans. I didn't want plans. I wanted to just... be.
A farm boy from Tennessee, Beau Watkins spent high school living the dream: the cute girl, the popular, jock lifestyle, a loving family. As a freshman at an out-of-state college, he's determined to find out who he really is behind the Fake It 'Til You Make It attitude. He joins Rainbow Connection, the gay student alliance, hoping to find himself. Instead, he finds Vin Reyes. Raised by his grandparents and heir to a prosperous company, Vin has been out of the closet since he figured out what that meant. He has it all: fashionable clothing, fancy cars, huge houses, a real party lifestyle, and even a bodyguard. Most of all, he has a secret.
Uncomfortable with Vin's generosity, Beau fights his growing attraction for the president of Rainbow Connection, chasing instead a series of shallow affairs. Vin's never been denied anything that he wants, though, and now he wants Beau. But it's not until an old rival puts Beau in the hospital that Vin realizes that Beau means more to him than a simple love affair. Can the two of them bridge the gap between their worlds and roll with the all the punches life will throw at them?