A regular fixture on Mrs. Rice’s widely popular Facebook page, as well as, his own page, Becket is a man of many talents. An accomplished author in his own right, he is also a musician, app programmer and photographer extraordinaire as reflected in the many beautiful photos of Anne Rice that he has taken over the years.
In an effort to learn more about Becket and what it’s like to work so closely with such a gifted writer, the Anne Rice Examiner decided to go to the source and ask him a few questions.
Here are his answers:
Most people know that you were once a monk and how you met Anne in New Orleans, but what made you decide to work for her?
What is a typical work day like for you?
There is no typical day, which is one of the great blessings working for Anne Rice. Each day provides something new, a new challenge, and a new problem to solve. Presently we just released an app for iPhone and we are currently working on developing that same app for iPad and for Android devices. I’m doing the programming, which can be as slow-going as writing a novel. Next on the project-docket is a video recording of Anne’s cook/housekeeper, Rosy, preparing one of Anne’s favorite meals. I’ll record it, edit it, and upload it to Anne’s YouTube page for her fans to see. We also have a few more projects coming up, which I cannot talk about just yet, though I hope to talk about more in the near future.
What is your favorite part of working for Anne Rice? What is your least favorite?
My favorite part of working for Anne is working for one of my adolescent heroes. Like many people, my teens was a time of loneliness and confusion; and it was Anne Rice’s writing that helped me understand myself better and begin to shape a personal identity that would galvanize into (what I hope is) a good man. Even after almost nine years of working for Anne, there are still many days when I sit with her and think to myself: “What a blessing this is. What a blessing.”
My least favorite part is that I know one day it will end, and I’ll have to do something else. It will be the end of one of the best experiences of my life – the other great experience was being a monk in a monastery. But I try to focus on the present moment. I try to focus on my work now and I try to enjoy all of it.
What is the best writing advice she has ever given you?
“Write the book you want to read,” Anne said to me, and still does. I myself am a writer, having written many books thus far – the majority of which are waiting to be published. When I am writing or editing a book, I want my words to be meaningful for me; I want to be entertained by my own writing. If I’m not entertained, then the reader is not going to be entertained either. And if the reader is not entertained, then what is the point? I love it when I can pick up my own literature, read it, and be inspired to write more. This happened recently when I re-read” Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl and the Dungeon of Despair”. I picked it up, not having read it in months, and I found myself laughing ridiculously at certain scenes – because I wrote them to make me laugh first. It’s like the flight attendant saying: “Put the mask on yourself first, then put it on someone in need.” In my own writing, this means writing/editing a work that I find entertaining first. Then I place my hope in the reader.
When did you decide you wanted to write?
When does someone decide to fall in love? It’s never a conscious decision. I fell in love with words first, which is one of the reasons I adore wordsmiths like Augustine, Shakespeare, and Chesterton. I began to write music first, then formed a band in grade school, and then started writing lyrics; writing lyrics evolved into writing poetry; and writing poetry evolved into prose. Today, I’m very sensitive about my writing. I want all my words to be deliberate; I do not want one word to be accidental. My books go through about five or six drafts before I show them to one person. Then they go through one more draft before I show them to my editor/proofer, Todd Barselow. And after that, the book has one more draft before it’s published. My books, you could say, are poetical prose because I love the power of the word so much and I craft the word, or chain of words, to be as meaningful as possible.
Tell us about your books?
Presently, there is the Blood Vivicanti, a serialized novel that Anne Rice and I worked on together. We developed the characters and the concept of a scientifically created race of blood drinkers, totally unlike vampires, with different powers, weaknesses, and abilities; a totally different cosmology, which delves into the distant stars and planets; with new villains and heroic struggles. Although I wrote the story, there still remains an “Anne Rice” element to the overall arc of the narrative.
My other book is the above mentioned: “Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl and the Dungeon of Despair.” You could say that this is my homage to Anne Rice, written because, ever since I first read her books, I’d always wanted to write a vampire story. And because I also adore the steampunk subculture, I wanted my vampire hero, Key, to be surrounded by steampunk gadgets and clothing.
Key’s second book “The Tower Tomb of Time” will be released February 17, 2014. We will be having a launch book signing at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ, on that date. The illustrator for both books, Raven Quinn will be there with me also. We will be signing together. And the bookstore will take phone orders too, both domestic and international.
What do you see in your future?
As I mentioned, in grade school, I played music and was in a band. I never gave up music; and in fact I have a BA in music composition. Later in 2014, I will be releasing my first music album. It will be instrumental, utilizing mostly the piano, violin and cello. Perhaps an apt comparison to describe my music would be a cross between Arvo Part and the Piano Guys. Five songs are written for it now. Once I finish the Blood Vivicanti series with Part 6 (though there will perhaps be many more parts in the future), I will devote more time to finishing my music album.
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Coming up, a review of "Execution" by Dick Wolf, creator of TV's "Law & Order".
See ya next time!