AB: Let's start with the obvious question: Why did you decide to tackle a parody as your first novel and why, specifically, Fifty Shades of Grey?
Court: Doing a Fifty Shades of Grey parody was actually my agent’s idea. I’ve got a pretty tweaked sense of humor, so bastardizing a bestselling romance novel had immense appeal. He knew this would be the perfect first novel for me, and both he and the publisher gave me complete creative control—thus the spray cheese sex scene and KKK-theme restaurant.
AB: Your novel is timely, but it seems that it's come into the world with a sizeable amount of competition. Some of the more creative titles are Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, Fifty Shames of Lame, Fifty Shades of Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Bacon Flavored Vagina Spray. I could go on for at least three Amazon pages. In your opinion, what makes your parody stand out above the rest?
Court: For starters, mine doesn’t have Fifty Shades in the title, which clearly establishes me as a bold rebel and innovator. I’m actually very fortunate, because my book was put out by an actual publisher, whereas many of the others are self-published or fan fiction. Having the support of a publisher known for its bestselling political thrillers and celeb memoirs was a great feeling. The fact that they responded to my twisted little tale so positively still baffles me. I’ve decided not to rock the boat and question it.
AB: What is your take on Fifty Shades of Grey? I'm sure our readers can guess, but I'd like to hear it from you.
Court: I’m more bemused by it than anything else. Erotica and romance novels with BDSM themes are nothing new—I’m not sure why Fifty Shades of Grey is the one that became a runaway hit. Maybe it was because the book’s hero was a physically flawless billionaire that showed his affection by buying Porsches for his boink buddy… nah, that’s silly.
AB: Okay, enough about your book. What about you? When did you start writing, and how did you find your way into the literary world?
Court: When I was little I quickly discovered that writing was a great outlet for all my crazy ideas. About a nanosecond after I learned to spell my name, I was crafting weird little tales. To this day my mom still has a series of illustrated books I wrote as a toddler that chronicled the misadventures of a deformed but plucky dachshund and his lovable feline sidekick, who I ingeniously named—wait for it—Cat. By the time I’d stopped
wearing OshKosh B’gosh, my love of reading and writing was firmly established. It was only a matter of time before I’d start shaming my family via the printed word.
AB: I understand that you've been published in Hustler, Playgirl and Laguna Beach Magazine. What was the first piece you ever had published, and what piece are you most proud of?
Court: Larry Flynt wrote my first check (sorry, Mom). It was for a Hustler story I wrote in one sitting in a college literature class. I was supposed to be paying attention to the professor’s lecture on The Scarlet Letter—a book I’d already read eight times over the course of high school and college—and I was all Hester Prynne’d out. I remembered reading that adult mags were a good place for newbie writers to break into print, as they often accepted freelance submissions. So I put on my smut hat and started scribbling as a fellow student blurted out “The red A is a metaphor!” I was a little disturbed how naturally perversity came to me. At one point the guy sitting next to me
glanced at my paper. I’m not sure if he was able to read any of it… but he did ask me out immediately after class. As for the piece I’m proudest of, it’s definitely A Coupla Shades of Taupe. This was the first published piece where I was allowed—and even encouraged—to be completely uninhibited. It was a lot like releasing the Joker on Gotham City.
AB: Tell us a little bit about the website you write for, Examiner.com.
Court: I write a sex and books column for Examiner.com, though in the past year my contributions have been a bit more minimal. The site’s organization is evershifting, and lately they haven’t been working as hard to promote their top writers. So I started a blog last month and am already thrilled by the number of hits it’s receiving daily. It’s called onedumbbunny.com and it’s an irreverent mishmash of personal humiliation
stories, topical commentary, and things I’ve spotted on the Internet that were just too weird to keep to myself. Bunny enthusiasts will actually be pretty disappointed.
AB: What new projects are you working on currently?
Court: A screenplay, a children’s book, and an Ikea bookcase. The last one’s not going well.
AB: Finally, I have to ask, have you ever considered becoming a stand-up comic?
Court: It’s interesting because I do have a background in improv, which I loved because it rewarded absurdist thinking. But stand-up is a different beast, and I think it can be particularly brutal to female comics. The adult in me would love to try it, but the little girl is intimidated by the idea of a beer bottle being flung at my head, which is ten percent less likely when writing a book.
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