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An Interview with Patricia Ranee, Author of The Duty Doodie Wife

Ranee Jean

Patricia Ranee is a writer from Brooklyn, New York, whose love for wordplay and writing began at the age of six. A quiet, shy child raised in a poor Caribbean household, she found reading and writing to be her place of solace; the oasis where she felt understood. Deciding to switch careers at the peak of adulthood, Patricia Ranee now focuses on a life of authenticity and creativity, aiming to inspire others with her words. The Duty Doodie Wife is her first completed feature film.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

For me, I think it was my love for reading that heavily influenced my pursuit of writing. As a child, I found reading to be an escape from my high levels of neglect and tumultuous environment. The stories would pull me into a world that made me feel safe and entertained. As I grew, I realized that not only was I capable of such aspiration, but that I wanted to use writing as my way to give back to others. I wanted to distribute joy, laughter, and relatability to those who faced similar life experiences, or perhaps just needed a break from their daily lives.

There are so many art forms that inspire me in my writing that I pull from them all: music, poetry, novels, screenplays, theatre plays, art, dance—everything that people do inspires me to want to tell a story; to crack beneath the surface and reach a depth untapped. I revere many excellent writers who influence how I study and approach my art, but in terms of film and television inspiration, Shonda Rhimes and Issa Rae have been very special to me, especially as African-American women dominating in their respective lanes.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

My sister was actually a huge influence on this project. She is an excellent mother and wife who dotes steadfastly on her large family, and I thought it might be comical to take a crack at my interpretation of her life, only flipped upside down.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

Originally when drafting my story, I titled it The Good Wife. When I recognized there was already a show on air with the title, I went back to the drawing board. One day as I was writing, “duty wife” slipped into my head. I knew I wanted to convey that my protagonist is dutiful, but also that there is more to her than just her doting abilities. I pondered on the opposite of a dutiful wife, and “crappy” came to mind, so I thought of synonyms for the word. Like a eureka moment, “doodie” sprung to the forefront, which I used it as a play on words to create my now-title, The Duty Doodie Wife (“Duty” gets crossed out and replaced by “Doodie” on the title page).

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

DJ Khaled – “Wild Thoughts”

Justin Bieber – “Never Say Never”

Saweetie – “Best friend”

Anna Kendrick – “Get Back Up Again”

The Pussycat Dolls – “Don’t Cha”

Cardi B – “I Like It”

Kanye West – “FML”

Chris Brown – “Go Crazy”

Ed Sheehan – “Shape of You”

Nicki Minaj – “Feeling Myself”

Describe your dream book cover.

If this screenplay were to be converted into a book with a cover, I would want the cover to be a photo of a lone, deserted road where, just at the edge, you see the small outline of a woman, strong and capable, prepared to take the journey.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

Alongside my pursuit of writing, I have worked in both healthcare and fashion, each of which is rewarding in its own way. What is central to both industries is the act to serve, which I recognize now I’m called for. I think the thing that would surprise others the most about me is my love for nature and wild animals. An additional ambition of mine in life is to join a wildlife, animal, and ocean conservation project that will help improve the state of our ecosystem and planet.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

For this project, I read and analyzed several screenplays that I thought to be of a similar genre. These would include Kramer V. Kramer, Bridesmaids, Bad Moms, The Hangover, and Yours, Mine, and Ours. I also read How to Write for Television by Madeline DiMaggio, How to Write Funny by Scott Dikkers, and The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

If there is one takeaway I hope those who get to read my work or see it realized through film leave with, it would be this: Life will always be a roller coaster—embrace its loops, scream during its turns—it’s more fun when you do! The reason I want this as my takeaway is because I think we as a people get so caught up in trying to control every aspect of our daily lives that when something goes wrong or deviates from that plan, it robs us of our joy. I wrote this story to remind people (myself included) that there is humor in the chaos, but we have to let go to see it.

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