Admit it…how many of us have fantasized about taking revenge on a man, any man, who brushed up a little too close against us at a business lunch, placed his hand on our body without permission at a company cocktail party, or tried to get us to have one drink too many at a corporate retreat? Well, for one writer, this fantasy came true, at least on paper.
Ellen Meister, author of her seventh novel, the Rooftop Party, gave her female protagonist the freedom and power to do just that after escaping the company CEO’s lecherous grasp.
“Where else can you get to play God in this life and exact revenge?” Meister asks.
Answer: In a novel.
It is in her latest work of fiction, written during the ‘Trump years’ that Meister began writing her book. “The idea for the CEO came directly from watching the Brett Kavanaugh hearings,” she continues. “It was obvious that this guy was lying and putting on an act. It drove me crazy and I was seething with rage.” The male CEO character in her book started looking like Brett in her mind, and she even slipped in a clue to his true identity, at one point alluding to him as “looking as sober as a judge.”
By choosing the CEO’s actual name, Ivan Dennison, Meister also took cues from another man with a reputation for inappropriate and illegal sexual behaviors aimed at women, Donald Trump. “I gave him the first name, Ivan, derived from his daughter’s name, and I gave him the last name of Dennison,” Ellen recalls. If that last name rings a bell about the Trump years, you are correct. Dennison is one of the three notable pseudonyms Trump has used; this one by his personal lawyer Michael Cohen in a 2016 pre-election non-disclosure agreement with pornographic film actor Stormy Daniels.
As for the female protagonist, Dana Barry, who stopped by the company’s rooftop party to pitch the new CEO on her brilliant idea to save the firm from going under, she represents everywoman who has ever been victimized by men in power, whether sexually or otherwise. “She is a real woman – she drinks, she gets high, she has sex – and she knows her worth,” Meiser adds.
But is she actually guilty of pushing the CEO off the roof to his death?
About the author: Ellen Meister is an award-winning author whose other books include LOVE SOLD SEPARATELY, DOROTHY PARKER DRANK HERE, FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER, THE OTHER LIFE, SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA and THE SMART ONE. She is also an editor, public speaker, and creative writing instructor.