My book, The Bill, by Marietta Rodgers is a political satire that revolves around two central characters, who each go on a humanistic metamorphosis through experience, empathy and understanding. You have one character, Representative Joe Herkiezen, who at the beginning of the novel has written a bill, called the Hunger Relief Act. Throughout the novel, you see what he is willing to do in order to get that bill passed. On the other end of the political spectrum, you have Hope Price, an optimistic and very intelligent teenager, who wants to go into politics, but feels he lacks understanding of the poor, since he is from a privileged family. In order to gain enlightenment, he works at a Slaughterhouse for the summer and is exposed to everything from prostitution to murder. The Bill is a behind the curtain look at politics using dark humor, satire and truisms.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I was inspired to write The Bill, because of my growing dismay with our political system, much like George Orwell’s dismay over Stalinism in writing Animal Farm. I got the seed for the story, after reading that the percentage of bills proposed that actually get signed into law, are at the lowest they’ve ever been. Our current Congress is one of the least productive in history. It is an alarming trend that I don’t think is going away anytime soon, because the bills are no longer about what is being said; they are about which party is saying them.
Who is your most unusual character?
The most unusual character in The Bill, is Piggy, the slaughterhouse foreman. He says the most ambiguous things and speaks using mantras, that sound a lot like campaign slogans.
How do you decide that you are finished writing a story?
I have to know how it’s going to end before I start. So, before even writing The Bill and knowing all the specifics about what direction I wanted the story to take, I had a definite ending in mind. For me, knowing the ending ahead of time is crucial, because I can gear a story to that outcome, as oppose to just writing a story and hoping a fabulous ending pops in my head as the story progresses.
Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?
I hope my novel will make the reader more aware of their political environment, both locally and nationally. People should be aware of what their elected officials are about and hold them accountable for their actions. I hope that people also believe, that there is always hope for change, even if politics seem to sink lower in the quagmire; it just takes a catalyst.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a collection of short stories, that all revolve around people who live in a particular upscale building in New York. I got the idea from an article I read in the NY Times, about shell corporations purchasing condos and concealing the real owners through paperwork, lawyers and enigmatic and ambiguous names.
What was the first story you remember writing?
The first story I remember writing, was a story I wrote in the first grade. It was about how I ran away from home and joined the circus for a night. I got to have a magical night of lion taming, doing a high wire act and being shot out of cannon. I did it all in a night and was back in my own room, without my parents ever knowing about my grand adventure. I was inspired by my reading of Harold and The Purple Crayon.
What writer influenced you the most?
One writer that influenced me the most would have to be George Orwell. I read Animal Farm and 1984 in high school and it had a profound effect on me. I would also have to say Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut and Samuel Beckett. I love satire and absurdism.
What one word describes how you feel when you write?
Have you written any other books?
My second novel, Loony Bin Incorporated, is a satire of big business and should be out the latter part of 2015.
Where can we learn more about The Bill?