Today we talk about Beauty Queen, a book by Rebecca Bettarini published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Rebecca Bettarini to get to know her better, how her knowledge of several languages and having lived in different countries have brought great added value to her writing and who represented a source of inspiration that led her to writing of her book Beauty Queen.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!n
- Was the idea for this book born at a particular moment?
It came when I attended the Miss Universe pageant, in fact some friends of mine were involved in sponsoring the event, and invited me to spend a week in the backstage. That gave me the chance to see what happens behind closed doors, to talk to the contestants, to feel that unique energy and bitter sweetness of it. Even though I spent a considerable amount of time in Venezuela, which is a beauty queens’ factory, I wasn’t aware until then of how much dedication, and sacrifice a girl has to endure to get to that level of competition in which even the most natural move has been rehearsed for countless hours. I also didn’t know that for many contestants, the pageant it’s more than a game: it’s a gateway to access a wealthier life. That’s where I thought there was a story to tell, and the seed of Cecilia’s character was born at that very moment: determined, hard working, not afraid of compromising to achieve her dreams in a highly competitive environment. I also remember speaking with several ex beauty queens and they told me their problem was to find their place after 12 months as Miss Universe elapsed. I found all this information extremely fascinating and asked myself: how to build a book out of this material? I had no idea. Until years later, this crazy idea popped out, why don’t I turn the story into an international suspenseful thriller? And I had to pick Venezuela because it was easier for me to describe a place that I have called home for 4 years.
- How much of you is there in the protagonist of the novel?
Absolutely nothing. You see, I like to portrait a type of character that fits perfectly in the context and story line. For me Cecilia had to be strong, independent, a little insensitive and completely self-centred. Those “qualities” are the ones that make her excel in what she does. Her strong will and her capacity of turn things in her favour, are important for the story as they keep the rhythm of the book going on in a suspenseful way, and make Cecilia unpredictable. Of course I could had portrayed her in a different way, but the narrative of the book would had been very unbalanced then. I wanted the book to be harsh, to have a strong language, to have characters that are extremely determined and that, thanks to their determination, achieve the impossible. I wish I was as determined as Cecilia!
- Which authors of the present and / or the past do you take as a model?
I love writing and I love reading, so I certainly got inspired by everything I have read. I have always found intriguing those books such as Gatsby, “the Leopard” in which the story is fictional but takes place in a specific time which becomes the backdrop of the book. That’s the reason why I always set my books in places and contexts that I am familiar with, and I don’t like when in a book I read something that is highly inconsistent with the situation portrayed. I will give you an example: there are countless books about the Vatican, but none that I’ve read who really pictures the essence of that world. For me authenticity is key. I invent the story, but the situation I describe and the way characters think are very accurate. I also got inspired by those page-turner books that you really cannot stop reading. For me it’s extremely important to engage the reader since the first 3 lines. Also I love cutting edge finales; this is why I always try to push my limits to deliver an ending which is surprising and quite innovative. I like to make my readers think about whether what they just read could really happen or not.
- Having lived in different countries, what added value has it brought to your writing style?
An enormous added value. Not only because I am able to write my books in several languages at the same time, but also because I can portray with accuracy the full spectrum of the situations I describe. The fact that I have lived there and I speak the language makes me more than a spectator: I am one of them. My job is to pass those feelings down to the reader as he’s part of it. That’s the reason why my books are so different one another: after all they are narrating of different worlds, mentalities, countries, stories. If you read my book AristocraZy which revolves around the world of aristocracy in Paris, you enter a world and a linguistic record that is miles away from Beauty Queen.
- Are you currently working on a new project?
For me writing is a form of relaxation and a “necessity”. I can’t stop thinking about writing and write. It’s part of my nature. So yes, I have finished another two books since Beauty Queen was published. AristocraZy and Conclave. The first one is set in Paris and will sweep the reader away into a passionate love story which takes place into breath taking palaces and embassies. As in my books “nothing is as it seems”, half way through the story the unconventional royal romance turns into an international thriller with a surprising finale. My other book Conclave is a very intricate book that pushes all limits. Built on three layers of “happenings” interconnected in a way that lets the reader wonder until the very last page, whether our world is controlled by God, by humans, or science. It’s a book with many twists and turns, and an ultra refined linguistic register, reflecting the way people from the Catholic Church of Rome speak. It’s a book that didn’t took long for me to write, but in which I genuinely infused a good 50% of what I have studied in university and that I wouldn’t been able to write without holding a my master degree in political science, because of the layers of complexity that I had to interconnect to create a unique and realistic storyline. Right now I am working on two other thrillers: one set in Antarctica and a very claustrophobic one set in Brussels.
Europe Books thanks the author Rebecca Bettarini once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We really wish her the best of luck with her book Beauty Queen and for her future as a writer.
To you, my dear reader, I wish you to enjoy this intriguing story of beauty and strong determination and draw from this interesting insights to apply to everyday life.
So, my dear reader, I have nothing left but to wish you to enjoy your reading!