Wednesday , December 6 2023
"[When] should your child be able to remove a bottle cap by taking out his glass eye and using his eye socket as an opener?"

Interview with Tim Bete and Cap’n Billy “The Butcher” MacDougall, Authors of Guide to Pirate Parenting

Time Bete and Cap'n Billy "The Butcher" MacDougall are the authors of the hilarious parenting book, Guide to Pirate Parenting, which has been garnering some great reviews since its release in 2007. Bete's parenting advice has been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines and websites. Cap'n Billy allegedly lives in a ship and has been running from authorities for most of his life. In this interview, they talk about their new book and how they came to write it.

Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourselves?

Tim Bete: My name is Tim Bete.

Cap’n Billy: And I be Cap’n Billy “The Butcher” MacDougall.

TB: Together we wrote the book, Guide to Pirate Parenting.

CB: But I be the brains behind the book, he’s just a scurvy bilge rat with a laptop.

TB: My humor writing has been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines and Web sites, including the Christian Science Monitor, Atlanta Parent, Big Apple Parent, Northwest Family, and My first book was In the Beginning…There Were No Diapers.

CB: I’ve been hiding from authorities for most of my life. I live on me ship, The Frightened Flounder, but sometimes ye can find me at the Crow’s Nest Tavern. That’s where I met the pale, flabby land-lubber writer.

TB: My hobbies include pushing my luck and skating on thin ice. In my spare time, I’m director of the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.

CB: My hobbies be plundering and rum.

When did you decide you wanted to become authors?

TB: Well, for Guide to Pirate Parenting, it was when Cap’n Billy put his dagger next to my neck and told me I was going to write a book for him.

CB: Aye, I have a way of convincing people to see things my way.

Tell us a bit about Guide to Pirate Parenting.

TB: Mostly it was Cap’n Billy’s dagger.

CB: It’s me dream that thousands of parents raise their little powder monkeys as pirates. Then I can put together a huge crew and plunder to me heart’s content. There’s nothing more exciting than sailing with Cap’n Billy, except maybe a merchant vessel full of gold.

Did the book require a lot of research?

CB: None at all. I’ve been a pirate all me life. When I was a baby, me mother wrapped me in a sail. I teethed on hardtack. I know everything about pirating and raising pirates.

What will the reader learn after reading your book?

TB: Our book teaches parents every aspect of pirate growth and development — from baby pirate care through the teen years — so their kids can become self-respecting swashbucklers of the high seas or suburbs. It answers common questions such as:

  • At what age should your child be able to remove a bottle cap by taking out his glass eye and using his eye socket as an opener?
  • What’s the best place to maroon a disobedient child?
  • How do you remove chewing gum or a giant octopus from your child’s hair?
  • How do you convert your minivan into a pirate schooner?
  • When should you smack your teenager in the side of the head with an oar?

Each information-packed section ends with “Your pirate’s progress,” a short quiz that shows whether your child is reaching his or her pirate development milestones. For example, if your son has said “I’ll need another ration of grog if you expect me to eat these peas,” or told his teacher his homework was “eaten by a giant barracuda when the family’s ship wrecked on a coral reef near the Dry Tortugas,” you’re well on your way to having a pirate in the family.

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?

TB: I ply her with rum. Cap’n Billy taught me to do that. It works wonders.

CB: Just make sure it’s not MY rum, me hearty.

As writers, what scares you the most?

TB: Mostly that I’ll meet a ninja who makes me write a book called Guide to Ninja Parenting. Pirates and ninjas are mortal enemies.

CB: If ye ever write that book, you’ll be walking the plank.

What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?

TB: Guide to Pirate Parenting was a finalist in the Foreword Magazine Humor Book of the Year Awards. It didn't take the gold, which really upset Cap'n Billy.

CB: I like to take gold… and silver… and rum… and anything else that isn't nailed down.

TB: So, to appease the captain, I created two short pirate parenting videos and posted them at The first video is a quiz to determine if your children are already pirates — a very useful thing to know. It might explain why your wallet is always empty. The second video tells the story of how I met Cap'n Billy and his persuasive reasons why you should raise your kids as pirates. For example, other parents will stop asking you to volunteer at school. The online videos have helped sell a lot of books, which means we can buy more rum and gun powder — a dangerous combination.

As authors, what are your greatest rewards?

TB: Finding buried treasure in my royalty statement.

CB: Just remember that half of that treasure be mine, me bucko!

Thanks for the interview, Tim and Cap'n Billy! Good luck with Guide to Pirate Parenting!

About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.

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