Reggie Rivers takes on Highlands Ranch, Lifetime movie-style
Former Bronco-turned-television-host-and-author Reggie Rivers' gig as Channel 4's weekend sports anchor ends today. But he's not too worried.
"I'm kind of excited. Fortuitously, I'm getting laid off at the exact moment I'm putting out this book," he says, referring to The Colony: A Political Tale, which he wrote as his thesis for a DU master's degree in global studies; it's scheduled to be published in August. "Every book I've written so far, I've had a job when the book came out. I now have the ability to help this book reach its full potential."
The Colony is about an army of mean ants who try to steal a super nutritious fungus from a colony of nice ants. According to Rivers, "political intrigue and military domination" ensue. But until its release, Rivers continues to promote his fourth book, My Wife's Boyfriend and Our Feud with the Highlands Ranch Homeowners Assocation, with events like his 1 p.m. Saturday appearance at The Bookery Nook, 4280 Tennyson Street. My Wife's Boyfriend was the first of Rivers' books that had nothing to do with football -- and there are no militaristic ants in it, either.
Here's a description, from ReggieRivers.com: "Howard Marshall is a successful executive who suspects that his wife, Sophia, is having an affair with one of the artists at her gallery. While he grapples with that possibility, he must also deal with an inept and overbearing boss... fend off a former lover who is married but still obsessed with Howard, and fight with the 'egomaniac micromanaging Nazi's' on the homeowners association board who believe they hold dominion over every square-inch of the neighborhood."
And that's not all. To learn more, we asked Rivers a few questions about his satirical, Desperate Housewives-meets-Home Depot suburban tome.
Westword (Melanie Asmar): Why did you set the book in Highlands Ranch?
Reggie Rivers: I needed a neighborhood. I started to make one up, but then I thought Highlands Ranch is the largest covenant-controlled neighborhood in the country.... I thought, I'm doing this for fun; I'm going to poke fun at the people who live in Highlands Ranch.... In my book, I've greatly exaggerated the ridiculousness of the (HOA) board. But then, I had friends in Highlands Ranch who read the book and then said, 'I thought you were going to exaggerate.'
WW: How did you exaggerate?
RR: The rules that the HOA are enforcing [in the book] are all real. I just exaggerated them a little bit. For example, your trash cans. You're allowed to put your trash cans out the night before and they have to be taken in right after you get home from work that night. I exaggerated it. In the book, you have to put your trash cans out by 5 a.m. and they have to be picked up by 8 a.m.
WW: So which of the rules does Howard Marshall fight with the HOA about?
RR: The fued is about a commercial van that's parked in the driveway. Down in Highlands Ranch, if you're a plumber or an electrician or if you have any kind of work vehicle, you're not allowed to park that vehicle in your driveway because it's unsightly. Howard has a friend staying with him who's a painter and he has a painter's van.
WW: Why throw an extramarital affair into the mix?
RR: I wanted my main character to have two pressures on him -- a relatively benign battle with the HOA that he could quit at anytime. And then I wanted him to have an even bigger battle going on in his marriage.
WW: And the old flame? How does she fit in?
RR: His ex-girlfirend, she's the big-breasted queen of the HOA architectural committee. She has a crush on him.
WW: Does Howard use that to his advantage with the HOA board?
RR: That's interesting. I hadn't thought of that.
WW: How has the book been received in Highlands Ranch?
RR: Four out of the first seven orders were members of HOA board. And I happened to know because I had been to this website [of the Highlands Ranch HOA] so many times I recognized their names. They all read it. I think they wanted to read it to know what it was about, to see whether they needed to take any legal action. (Laughs.) They all saw it was comedy. Nobody has ever said a harsh word. One of them told me he got a kick out of it.