Welcome Richard Cerqueira, our Risky guest.

After Richard’s hand appeared on the cover of The Wagering Widow, he agreed to do an interview for Risky Regencies. Richard has done many Romance covers, both contemporary and historical. When his image showed up on Not Quite a Lady, Louise Allen’s January Mills & Boon Historical, the same image as the inside cover of Wagering Widow, the time for the interview seemed right. And how right it was! Tomorrow, in Part 2 of the interview Richard will have some exciting news about his latest venture.

Richard is offering an autographed picture of an actual Romance cover photo shoot to one lucky contest winner. The image will appear in tomorrow’s blog. Make a comment on the blog to enter (a real comment, not a generic one) to enter. Deadline is midnight March 12 EDT.One winner will be picked at random and announced on Tuesday, March 13.

Here’s Richard Cerqueira:

1. Tell us a little about yourself – where you grew up, your life now – anything you wish to tell.

I was born in Elmhurst, Queens NY. My father was born in Portugal, and my mother was born in Brazil. I have a brother who is three years my junior and a sister who is only seven years old. As far as hobbies, I love to ski, I am a car fanatic and I love to create things; as such, I enjoy occupying my spare time with anything that has to do with designing, and fabricating. I am especially fond of home improvements and automotive customization. After attending an all boys high school, I enrolled as a full time student at St. John’s University where I was a pre-med and fine arts student. I graduated with a BS in biology and a minor in fine art… I earned a master’s degree in cellular biology from Adelphi University… I have also completed several acting courses at three different drama schools in NYC. By the way, I am an Aries, born on April 17.

2. How did you get started modeling for romance novel covers?

I was basically invited. At the time of my first cover, I was a fledgling TV actor and a part time mainstream model working on runways, and posing for fashion and fitness magazines. I was doing skits on most of the then novelty daytime TV talk shows. Often acting wasn’t even involved; duties varied from dressing like an Egyptian slave carrying Cybil Shepard (Cleopatra) out to Rosie O’Donnell’s stage, to getting in bed with a sexy female model on the Ricki Lake Show while pretending to be a stuck-up lover that had very little to be stuck up about. On one of the shows that I worked on a nearly daily basis, The Richard Bey Show, Mr. Curvin Krout, a former Ford Models talent scout got in touch with the show’s producers and informed them that he was interested in working with me. In no time, he had me meet with a Media Photo Group studio rep, and about a week later, I did my first cover with Pino himself (the artist responsible for Fabio’s fame). After that, one cover just led to another.

3. Most romance novelists have to keep a day job to pay the bills. Are you able to make your living through your modeling or do you have other employment as well?

There was a time that I only modeled and worked on TV shows and made a pretty good living doing so, nowadays I am no longer a full time model and rarely do any other modeling other than for the book covers; I do it more for fun than anything else. As such, I have a few occupations where I make a living. I am a senior loan officer at a bank, where I help people obtain mortgages and refinancing for their homes. I also own a business called Performance Utility Vehicles, where I design and manufacture specialty automotive components catering to Jeep vehicles.

4. How does modeling for a romance cover differ from other modeling?

Modeling for romance novel covers is much quicker and, dare I say, easier. For one thing, I get to pose with a beautiful girl nearly every time, that’s always a bonus. The shoots typically last only an hour and they do not require much planning nor do they ruin one’s whole day; you can easily hold down a regular job, do a photo shoot on your lunch break and go back to work with no one more the wiser.

5. What is it like for you to depict characters from different time periods?

It’s like “acting-lite”, since we have to look convincingly like the character we have been hired to portray, but we don’t have to speak or memorize any lines. I love it, lets me be all those things that I always thought about when I was “growing up”.

Continued, Monday March 12, when Richard describes a romance cover photo shoot and makes his exciting announcement.

Richard will try to pop in to answer questions, so ask away!