I want to give a big Texas thank you to Kathy (a big New Mexico you’re welcome, Brad :)). This is my first novel and I’m still finding my way around. Kathy reached out to me on Twitter and I am so grateful she did.
To introduce my story, The Nothingness of Ben, I interviewed one of my favorite characters, Quentin Walsh. This was my first time doing anything like this, so I was a little nervous. Here is the unedited transcript:
Brad Boney: Hi, Quentin.
Quentin Walsh: Hi, Brad.
BB: Is this kind of odd for you?
QW: Kind of. But we can push through it.
BB: Tell us who you are.
QW: My name is Quentin Walsh. I’m eighteen years old now, though during the action of the book I was sixteen, going on seventeen.
BB: Do you know you just made a few fans among the musical theater crowd?
QW: Yeah, Jason told me to say that.
BB: Who’s Jason?
QW: One of my brothers. I have three of them. Ben, Jason, and Cade. The book is about Ben, mostly, but wouldn’t you say it’s also about the whole family?
BB: I have always said that. Can you give us an overview of the story?
QW: Sure. It all started when our parents were killed in a car accident. I know you’re probably thinking, damn, that sucks. And it did. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. I was just a teenager, Jason was two years younger than me, and Cade was only twelve. Ben was a decade older than us, and honestly, we barely knew him. We’d seen him maybe five times in five years. After he left home, he got all wrapped up in his Columbia Law New York City lifestyle.
BB: You didn’t have nice things to say to him after the accident.
QW: No, I didn’t. I said some things I regret. I was just trying to look out for my brothers. And I was terrified of what would happen if they split us up.
BB: Tell me about Travis.
QW: He’s a great guy. A mechanic. Huge heart and perfect for Ben. And let me tell you, my big brother can be a real… well, never mind about that. I should have known something was up the minute they met at the cemetery.
BB: That’s the scene on the cover of the book?
QW: Yeah. Didn’t L.C. Chase do an awesome job? I love the way Cade hasn’t taken Travis’s hand yet. She really captured us.
BB: Where does the title come from?
QW: Look Homeward, Angel, by Thomas Wolfe. Our dad was an English professor at UT-Austin. That’s where we live. He had two favorite books: Look Homeward, Angel and The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner. He named us after the Compson siblings in The Sound and the Fury.
BB: Do you remember the quote from Look Homeward, Angel? The one with the title of my book?
QW: No, sorry. Jason knows, but I don’t remember it. I think it’s on your website (www.bradboney.com).
BB: Have you read Look Homeward, Angel?
QW: Yeah, I’ve read it. I thought it was kind of insufferable. Okay, so I admit, the last twenty pages are breathtaking—that’s the word my dad used—but the endless descriptive passages? Overwritten. Not quite as bad as Kerouac, but still.
BB: You didn’t like On the Road?
QW: I hated it. I’ve never read a book that screamed out for an editor more.
BB: I think that was the point.
QW: Then the point was lost on me.
BB: What writers do you admire?
QW: Chuck Palahniuk.
BB: I never know how to pronounce that.
QW: It sounds like the first names of his grandparents smashed together. Paula and Nick. PaulaNick.
BB: So you like Fight Club?
QW: I love Fight Club. All the Walsh brothers love Fight Club. Book and movie.
BB: The Walsh brothers watch a lot of movies, right?
QW: We do. One of the things that happens when your parents die, is that your world shrinks down. We spent those first weeks afterward in our living room watching movies. That was our comfort zone. It was the only place we felt safe.
BB: Favorite movies?
QW: Donnie Darko, Little Buddha, Inception, Twelve. Did you see The Devil’s Double? Explain to me how Dominic Cooper didn’t win an Oscar for that.
BB: I don’t get it either. You like dark movies.
QW: When you’re sixteen and your parents die, the world is not all pink bunnies and lemonade.
BB: You play an important role in the book, don’t you?
QW: I guess you could say that. Ben can be a little slow in the human interaction department. I helped him course correct a few times. As my mom used to say, sometimes Ben just needs a good swift kick in the pants.
BB: So what’s up next for the Walsh brothers? Is there going to be a sequel to The Nothingness of Ben?
QW: Sequel? Jesus, I hope not. If you write another book about Ben, we won’t be able to fit his head through the door. The next story is a spin-off, not a sequel.
BB: Who’s the main character?
QW: Topher Manning. One of the other mechanics at Groovy Automotive.
BB: That’s where Travis works?
QW: Right. We all appear as supporting characters. I like working part time.
BB: What’s the name of that book?
QW: The Return.
BB: Sounds intriguing. Are you excited about the release of The Nothingness of Ben on November 23?
QW: Yeah, we’re pretty stoked. Dreamspinner Press really did us a favor releasing it the day after Thanksgiving.
BB: Why’s that?
QW: Because our story is chock full of gratitude. And the last scene takes place on Thanksgiving Day.
BB: What’s your tagline for the book?
QW: Sometimes the worst possible thing imaginable leads you to the place you were meant to be all along.
BB: Do you believe that?
QW: I do now.
BB: Anything else you care to add?
QW: Yes. I want to let people know about The Ally Coalition (www.theallycoalition.org). I think it’s criminal that Ben and Travis can’t get married in Texas. The Ally Coalition is a place where straight people can show their support for marriage equality and other LGBTQ issues. It was started by the band FUN. They’re coming to Stubbs in February. You got your tickets?
BB: I got my tickets. Sold out, I heard.
QW: Yep. I heard the same thing.
BB: I’ll see you there, then. Thanks for doing this, Q.
QW: Always happy to put in my time at the press junket, Brad.
BB: Smart ass.
QW: Nah. I’m not a smart ass. I’m just written that way.
Brad Boney lives in Austin, Texas, the 7th gayest city in America. He likes to tell stories about the hot boys in his neighborhood near the University of Texas. Brand new to M/M fiction, he plans to set all of his books in Austin and hopes to become an ambassador for his city. He grew up in the Midwest and went to school at NYU. He lived in Washington, DC and Houston before settling in Austin. He blames his background in the theater for his writing style, which he calls “dialogue and stage directions.” He believes the greatest romantic comedy of all time is 50 First Dates. His favorite gay film of the last ten years is Strapped. He has never met a boy band he didn’t like. Brad is currently single, and although his heart is open to love, he’s not sure his schedule is.
Title: The Nothingness of Ben by Brad Boney
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 248 pages
Book Rating: A+ & A Recommended Read
Review Copy Obtained from Author
Ben Walsh is well on his way to becoming one of Manhattan’s top litigators, with a gorgeous boyfriend and friends on the A-list. His life is perfect until he gets a phone call that brings it all crashing down: a car accident takes his parents, and now he must return to Austin to raise three teenage brothers he barely knows.
During the funeral, Ben meets Travis Atwood, the redneck neighbor with a huge heart. Their relationship initially runs hot and cold, from contentious to flirtatious, but when the weight of responsibility starts wearing on Ben, he turns to Travis, and the pressure shapes their friendship into something that feels a lot like love. Ben thinks he’s found a way to have his old life, his new life, and Travis too, but love isn’t always easy. Will he learn to recognize that sometimes the worst thing imaginable can lead him to the place he was meant to be?
Brad Boney’s debut novel, The Nothingness of Ben, is absolutely amazing. It is a beautiful story of love and hope that will completely captivate you as the Walsh siblings and Travis Atwood become a family following a terrible loss.
Reeling in the aftermath of his parents’ death, Ben Walsh steps up and becomes the guardian of his younger brothers, Quentin, Jason and Cade. Barely able to take care of himself, let alone three teenagers, Ben depends on neighbor and friend Travis Atwood to help him with their daily routine. Their close friendship soon turns into a romance that is quickly complicated by the stresses of Ben’s new life. When a misguided attempt to introduce his brothers and Travis to his old life in New York does not go quite as planned, Ben must make some difficult decisions about his future and exactly what role, if any, Travis will play in it.
Mr. Boney’s character development of lead protagonists Ben and Travis is exceptional. They are immensely likable, well-rounded and so realistic they leap off the pages and right into your heart. They are not larger than life heroes, but every day, average men trying to find their way during life’s harsher moments. Their struggles are realistic and they make mistakes. But it is what they learn from their mistakes and how they find solutions to their problems that makes The Nothingness of Ben such an magnificent story.
Quentin, Jason and Cade are typical teens. Of the three, Quentin is the most angry about Ben’s perceived desertion of their family. He is skeptical that Ben will come through for the boys and he does not cut Ben any slack. In addition to his grief over his parents’ death, middle brother Jason is fighting his own battles and he is keeping secrets from Ben. Cade is quite different from his older brothers and although is the youngest, he is the most perceptive.
One of the things I found most appealing about The Nothingness of Ben is Brad Boney’s writing style. I never felt like I was reading a book. Instead, I felt like I was right there with the characters, experiencing their emotions and reactions to events as they occurred. I especially appreciated how Mr. Boney’s minimalist approach to scene building kept the story from becoming bogged down in too many superfluous details.
The Nothingness of Ben is a quiet but incredibly compelling novel. There is no over the top conflict, no grand gestures, and very little angst. But that is exactly what makes it such an extraordinary read. It is a refreshingly realistic romance that I hated to see end!
To celebrate his upcoming release, Mr. Boney is giving away a copy of The Nothingness of Ben (winner’s choice of digital or print) to one lucky commenter. To enter today’s contest:
You must Do TWO of the Following:
1. Sign up for e-mail updates (upper left corner). One email daily with the day’s posts.
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Make sure you have filled out the contest entry form:
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And don’t forget to:
6. Leave a comment (be sure and let me know if you would prefer a print copy) on this post by 5 PM Mountain Time Friday November 23rd.
It’s that easy! The winner will be selected using random.org. The winner will be announced on Saturday November 24th.