How did you come up with the idea for your story in Do Not Disturb?
If I were astonishingly wealthy (and socially irresponsible) I would not maintain a residence. I would not have a mansion or an estate or a top-floor loft; I would stay in hotels, a new one every few weeks. I like mobility, anonymity, and the ripe possibility that comes from extreme isolation. Maintaining an apartment has always been a chore to me, and I would just as soon get rid of almost everything I own and wander from city to city writing pulp novels on an old Underwood. I am sure it would get old pretty quickly, but that’s what a fantasy is for; it doesn’t have to get old.
My story “A Room at the Grand” just grew naturally from my fascination with this. But it’s also about liking semi-anonymous sex, not to mention sex work. I’m not sure what’s up with that, but, you know, it’s a thing.
Were you inspired by any particular hotels?
In this story, I believe I was imagining the Sheraton Palace in San Francisco, though there’s no real parallel. I could also imagine the story happening in the Westin-St. Francis, which I love for many reasons, but probably first and foremost because part of The Caine Mutiny novel takes place there (when it was just The St. Francis).
Is there a part of a hotel that you think is the sexiest?
The guest rooms, of course, but hotel bars have a certain tawdry charm — borderline sleazy even in the nicest of hotels. I have always wondered about people who go drink at hotel bars when they’re not staying there. It’s necessary in smaller cities, probably, because there are fewer options for watering holes. But it still seems bizarrely blatant, like going to a smorgasbord of married people away from home with big beds to sleep in and nobody to sleep there with.
What’s been your favorite hotel experience (x-rated or not)?
I used to organize meetings across the country, so I’ve had quite a few hotel experiences and I don’t know that I could pick a very favorite. But three meta-experiences stand out. First, when I was younger I traveled across the South and Southwest with a girlfriend I was amazingly hot for, and I believe it was the first time I’d ever stayed in motels without older persons in attendance — it was amazing, I couldn’t keep my hands off her for 10 days. Another time when I was living in Los Angeles I came up for Folsom and stayed at the Pickwick in San Francisco, an amazing old hotel where part of The Maltese Falcon was filmed. I was very into photography at the time, so a large parade of unbelievably hot friends and hired models spent the week making their way through my hotel room. Things got fairly dirty — maybe not as dirty as one might have hoped; there were bibles involved, as there always seem to be when I take naked pictures in a hotel. And last but far from least, I once spent a very steamy weekend with a lovely hot female writer friend in the exceedingly sleazy Travelodge on Vermont and Sunset. That was a memorable time.
What do you think a hotel needs to make it a “sexy hotel?”
A hot tub with no line of sight to the night manager also certainly doesn’t hurt.
Is there a specific hotel you’ve stayed in which you recommend, and/or a hotel you want to stay in, and why?
I’ve literally stayed in hundreds of hotels and motels over the years. The ones I like best are the old classy elegant ones like SF’s Pickwick, St. Francis and Sheraton Palace; also amazing in SF are the Ritz-Carlton, the Mark Hopkins, and the Fairmont. The Colony Hotel and Cabana Club in Delray Beach, Florida is wonderful. The Brown Palace in Denver is gorgeous, despite its unfortunate name.
Nice hotels offend my proletarian sensibilities on some level, but what can I say? I’m a bourgeois whore. But I also like the other end of the hotel experience. There’s a sleazy hotel in San Francisco on Geary, I believe called the Union Square, that I stayed at for some weeks while relocating, and took dirty pictures in. I also have an affinity for truly downscale anonymous sleazy motels on the highway, especially in the South and Midwest – nothing is sexier than a road trip.
What’s next for you?
I have actually moved a bit away from erotica and am working a lengthy series of contemporary fantasy stories, hopefully soon to be the Cannery Row/Yoknapatawpha County/Lake Wobegon of Lovecraftian occult-cryptozoology-UFO-werewolf-vampire-conspiracy theory fiction. There are erotic elements in most of my new pieces as well, however, and though they mostly couldn’t be called erotica and several of my recent erotic stories do fit in to this world. If you check out the fiction section at my site www.thomasroche.com you’ll see a story or two that reflect this direction. I wouldn’t call it a new direction, as I’ve been writing fantasy professionally off and on since 1989, but my mythology has recently started to developed of its own accord, usually while I’m sleeping.
And as always I continue to teach at San Francisco Sex Information. I do that twice a year, and appear to be a lifer there.
And here’s an excerpt from “A Room at the Grand” – read the rest in Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories.
The elevator bonged cheerfully; he exited, turned left, found room 1423 with the deadbolt shot to hold the door ajar. He pushed in and shut the door behind him.
The room was big enough to have a small entryway, but it was not a suite; there was no sitting area for him to cross before he saw her stretched on the bed, gloriously lit by bedside lamps and looking every bit the whore he was about to pay for.
“Hi,” she said with a smile in her voice. “I’m Ali. Are you Scott?”
He opened his mouth to say “Yeah,” but forgot the word somewhere halfway between his freshly polished wingtips and his inexpertly knotted necktie. It was not an easy word to forget, but he did it, his eyes surging from Ali’s black stiletto all the way up the immaculate curve of one leg in its sheer black stocking, the calf turned just so to reveal the seam accentuating its shape, the thighs slightly spread to show the smooth flesh where black lace hitched to garters. There, his eyes and his brain fought a battle, because devouring Ali’s legs had been so unspeakably pleasant that he almost didn’t want to move on to the rest of her. He did, though, taking in the tiny slip of see-through fabricæthinner than the stockings, if anything–that formed her thong, then moving on to her glorious hips framed by her garter belt in addition to her tattoos, and her breasts crammed into an impossibly tight push-up bra that had her spilling out everywhere and looking like a D-cup at the very least.
Then there was her hair, cascading everywhere on the expensive white pillowcases. It was freshly blackæit had been going chocolate-sepia the last few weeks–and her candy-apple-red lipstick made her lips stand out in the waterfall of black hair and pale, glorious face, face, face.
“You look…you’re gorgeous,” he murmured. “You’re, uh, much hotter than your picture.”
Her face brightened, the smile on her red mouth managing to look gullibly pleased and cynically lascivious. “Awww,” she said. “What a wonderful thing to say, Scott. You’re very cute yourself. Very much my type.” Her voice was equal parts flirtation/seduction and I-am-blowing-smoke-up-your-ass. Something about that made him get hard immediately, which he had already been well on his way to.