Interview with Marietta Rodgers, Author of “Looney Bin Incorporated”

26169603What is your book about?

Looney Bin Incorporated is a humorous satire about how corporations maximize profits, by exploiting workers. It takes place in a psychiatric hospital, which is just a front for a corporation brazenly called, Looney Bin Incorporated. In a world where profits are put above people, this corporation takes it a step further, by literally selling insanity. As the patients/workers gradually become aware that they are being exploited, they begin to fight back. One of the characters leading the charge is Crazy Bob, who is considered the most insane and so he is the company’s top performer. The book is about the modern corporate entity and how greed outweighs social responsibility.

Who is your most interesting/most likable character?

The most likeable character would have to be Sam, a narcotic guy, who loves Dr. Seuss and only speaks in rhymes. There is definitely an innocence about him that you tend to lose as an adult, but Sam keeps his inner child very much alive. One of the most interesting characters is Drake, who has been at Looney Bin Incorporated for twenty-five years and has never been diagnosed. He can’t even remember the reason why he is there, other than his father brought him there when he was eighteen, because he was, “slightly eccentric.”

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I was inspired by the novel, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Crazy Bob, one of the central characters, very much channels the spirit of Yossarian from that book. Looney Bin Incorporated is a sort of 21st century take on Catch-22. I wanted to shine a light on the new type of corporate culture in our society, where we have enormous conglomerates that are only responsible to their shareholders. The days of corporate pensions are a thing of the past.

Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

My ideal reader first and foremost, would be someone with a sense of humor. Looney Bin Incorporated is filled with light-hearted humor and ironical situations. Beyond a reader having a sense of humor though, I would say ideally, that the reader is a humanist and believes in social justice and reform. I would hope the reader has a world view and thinks beyond rigid categories.

What do you like to read? What is your favorite genre?

I am all over the map as far as genres go; I may go from a classic like, Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky, to reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I like books that evoke critical thinking and that try to widen your point of view.

What writer influenced you the most?

One writer that has most influenced me is Ralph Ellison. I remember when I first read Invisible Man in college and the profound effect it had on me. It is a remarkable book about African American identity and racial issues that are still relevant today.

How has your background influenced your writing?

I’ve always been a voracious reader; as a kid my mom would take me to the library once a week. I use to write short stories in notebooks and I was always day dreaming. I was a bit of a space cadet actually. I really wanted to be a writer though, at the age of twelve after I read, The Lord of the Rings trilogy. To be able to submerse yourself deep into a story like that is a rare thing that I wanted to hold on to and never lose.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

I wish I would have written the play, No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre. It is a story about three characters stuck in a room in hell, and none of them will admit to why they are there at first. They begin to wonder why they are not being physically tortured and after a period of time being stuck together, it becomes clear that, that is the torture and thus one of the characters says, “Hell is other people.” I also would have liked to have written, Endgame by Samuel Beckett. I love existentialist/absurd ideas, where an individual’s search for meaning can often collide with the universe.

Describe your writing in three words?

Humorous social criticism.

Where can people learn more about your book?

You can learn more about my book by following me at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12061929.Marietta_Rodgers

Looney Bin Incorporated as well as my other novel, The Bill are available to purchase at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marietta+rodgers+ and http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/#!marietta-ro

 

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