Sometimes a character in an earlier book simply refuses to go away, hanging around long after the party’s over. Buffy, the boozy old actor in “The Ex-Wives”, was one of these. So I wrote him another story, this time set in Wales. I’d fallen in love with a man who lived in the Welsh borders and wanted to write about his town. I’d also had the idea for a money-making scheme which Buffy, being a wily old fox, dreams up. Like “The Best Exotic Marigold”, this novel is set in a hotel – but wetter and even more ramshackle than the one in India. I had fantastic fun writing it; by this time I knew Buffy so well that he practically wrote it himself. Here’s the plot:
When retired actor Buffy decides to up sticks from London and move to rural Wales, he has no idea what he’s letting himself in for. In possession of a run-down b&b that leans more towards the shabby than the chic and is miles from anywhere, he realizes he needs to fill the beds – and fast.
Enter his master plan of ‘Courses for Divorces’ and a motley collection of guests: Harold, whose wife has run off with a younger woman; Amy, who’s been dumped by her weedy boyfriend and Andy, the hypochondriac postman whose girlfriend has become too much for him to handle.
Some actors have put on samples of the courses for you, see COURSES FOR DIVORCES!
“A comic performance so footsure it almost tap-dances.” (Sunday Times)
“Extremely funny…the joy lies in the delightful characters and the wry, pin-sharp commentary on their shenanigans. Bliss.” (The Times)
“A hilarious romp that showcases Moggach’s loving understanding of human foibles and which you will finish reading feeling a whole lot better about yourself.” (Red)
“There’s all the warmth and the humour you’d expect from Moggach, as well as moments of beautifully expressed insight into her lonely hearts.” (Observer)
“Moggach’s glorious sense of humour, the ease with which she inhabits her characters and her affections for them are apparent on every page. An astute and funny exploration of love and longing.” (Sunday Express)
In the Heartbreak Hotel Buffy has the bright idea of running Courses for Divorces, where the newly-separated can come to his hotel and learn the skill the other person had in the relationship.
In the book, however, nothing quite turns out as planned. So I decided to make some short films where you can learn some of the skills yourself. I hired some actors and a director and shot them mostly in my daughter’s flat. Not wanting to alter the reader’s image of the main characters, I gave to parts to minor characters who are scarcely mentioned in the book.
I just did these films for fun. They were a hoot to make and I hope you have a laugh watching them – and that they add a certain frisson to the book.