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Apr 21

Divorce Hotel – Interview With Michele Cody

MC – Thanks for the sneak peek at your new one. Divorce Hotel is hilarious.  Once again, you’ve compiled a cast of characters with quirks, baggage and insecurities – all offset by a boundless passion for life.  The basic story of Divorce Hotel is an idea you’ve been working on for quite a while. I remember you had people seriously interested in it as both a film and as a television series during your time in Los Angeles.

BR –I originally developed it as a television show.  The folks who wanted to option it ultimately decided some of my situations might be a bit too adult for the type of series they usually did. (laughs)

MC – You mean things like a blind stripper with a Rottweiler/Dingo cross as a guard dog? Or the high-tech apparatus Margaret has in her house called the Big O?

BR – Yeah, those two were probably pretty high on their list of concerns.

MC – Concerns, maybe…hilarious, definitely!  Divorce Hotel would work beautifully as a cable series.

BR – Thank you.  If you’re reading this HBO, I can be reached via my website at brsnow.net. (laughs)

MC – When HBO calls tell them it would also work beautifully as a film.

BR – (laughs) I agree.  Seriously, the idea of Divorce Hotel is so universal it works regardless of format or medium. Remember the tagline?  If love is hell, then what does that make divorce?  Our protagonist, John, gets a divorce and opens a bed and breakfast for recently divorced men.

MC – Great segue for talking about the book.  Divorce Hotel isn’t part of your Damaged Posse series, yet I recognize many similarities.

BR – Interesting. Such as? (laughs)

MC – Well, let’s start with the damaged quality of the characters living at the Hotel. They’re a pretty dysfunctional group.

BR – They are a mess, aren’t they?  The book’s themes revolve around greed, crass commercialism, overhyped marketing, the culture of celebrity, self-improvement fads, bad relationships, our political system, the lack of meaningful communication …so many things common in our society.  I added what I thought was a good storyline and a big dose of dysfunction to the characters and then just tried to stay out of their way.

MC – Tell me about the origins of Doctor Randle, the fortune-teller. He’s a keeper.

BR – He’ll be back, don’t you worry. He and Bertrand are just heading off on a little road trip. I initially got the idea after I picked up a copy of one of my favorite books, Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words. All the fortune telling methods in Divorce Hotel are real – and there are a bunch of websites that discuss them. I started thinking about how funny and absurd they were by themselves and when I hit on the idea of creating a modern day, self proclaimed expert in the bizarre world of fortune telling, I knew I was onto something. Dr. Randle may be a self-improvement shyster, but he’s a marketing genius – honing his “craft” with books, seminars and a Vegas lounge act. One of my favorite parts in the book is Dr. Randle leading the self-improvement seminar for men at the hotel.

MC – The We’re All Weenies Inside seminar? (laughs)

BR – That’s the one. When John asks Dr. Randle, “When dysfunction becomes as common in society as it is today, couldn’t normal behavior actually be considered dysfunctional?”  Dr. Randle’s first reaction is to think up ways to exploit the idea for commercial purposes. I just love how that came together.

MC – Talk a little bit about John’s ex-wife, Margaret. As a woman, I kept going back and forth between hating and admiring her. She certainly knows what she wants and doesn’t let much get in her way.

BR – Ah, Margaret. The aspiring, yet tragically uninspired actress. I love Margaret and I need to figure out a way to get her and David back soon. They are so much fun.

MC – She’s a piece of work.

BR – What do you expect from a woman with 666 tattooed on her butt?

MC – I remember the tattoo, but wasn’t it 999? (laughs) I almost spit out my coffee over that visual.

BR – The line came from Randolph’s mouth out of nowhere. I typed it and stared at it, then started laughing. I immediately knew I’d be coming back to it later in the book.

MC – That you did…I won’t say any more since it would spoil one of the payoffs in the book.

BR – Good idea. I’m trying to make a living here.

MC – I think you’ve got another winner here.

BR – Thanks. That’s very kind of you to say.

MC – It’s funny. I gave it to a friend to read and she said she’d never read anything like it.

BR – I’m hoping that’s a compliment. (laughs)

MC – (laughs)

BR – Unique is good, right?

MC – It’s uniquely brilliant.  By the way, now that I’ve read Divorce Hotel, twice, I’m looking for a good book.  When do you plan to release American Midnight?

BR – It’s going through another edit at the moment and I think it will be ready for launch in a few months. I think it will be very much worth the wait and I’m look forward to talking with you about it.  Meanwhile, be well, my friend.

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