Friday, February 2, 2018

Interview with Jody Gehrman, author of WATCH ME


Jody Gehrman has authored eleven published novels and numerous plays for stage and screen. Her debut suspense novel, Watch Me, is published by St. Martin's Press. Her Young Adult novel, Babe in Boyland, won the International Reading Association’s Teen Choice Award and was optioned by the Disney Channel. Jody’s plays have been produced or had staged readings in Ashland, New York, SanFrancisco, Chicago and L.A. Her newest full-length, TribalLife in America, won the Ebell Playwrights Prize and willreceive a staged reading at the historic Ebell Theater in Los Angeles. She and her partner David Wolf won the New Generation Playwrights Award for theirone-act, Jake Savage, Jungle P.I. She holds a Masters Degree in ProfessionalWriting from the University of Southern California and is a professor of Communications at Mendocino College in Northern California.
Connect with Jody on the web:

Interview:
Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
Watch Me is a dark psychological suspense novel about a professor caught up in a dangerous relationship with her charming but psychotic student. Writing this book felt important and cathartic. I was trying to put into words an experience I think many women can relate to. We go from always being on display in our twenties and early thirties to suddenly feeling invisible. The minute we hit puberty we start to feel eyes on us; we get so used to that state, we unconsciously accept it as a law of nature. When all those eyes turn away from us, it’s as if we disappear. My protagonist is thirty-eight, divorced, emotionally bruised, and disappearing. That perfect storm makes her vulnerable to an obsessive sociopath. He may be dangerous, but at least he sees her.
Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
I’m with St. Martin’s Press, and my experience with them has been amazing. This is my eleventh published novel; two of those I published independently, but all the others have been with major houses. I have a lot of respect for indie publishing, but personally I found it exhausting trying to do it all. I prefer to work with a team of professionals who specialize in specific aspects of publishing.
How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing the story, or did it come later?
It came to me after I’d written a few drafts. I like that it can be interpreted in different ways. “Watch Me” is a dare, a command, and a plea. It expresses the central theme of the novel pretty succinctly.

Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
I knew St. Martin’s would be handling the cover, but I couldn’t stop myself from playing around with design concepts anyway. Sometimes creating a visual image of the book helps me get clearer about the mood I’m going for. When my editor sent me a rough draft of the cover, I was blown away. It expresses so perfectly the atmosphere of the book—wintry, cold, spooky, sexy. My agent and I were both thrilled.
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
As with most traditional publishing houses, the design was done in-house. Usually we writers don’t even know who exactly is responsible for the artwork. I was so stoked about this particular cover, though, I asked my editor for the designer’s name so I could thank him in my acknowledgements. Jimmy Iacobelli was the genius behind the design. I hope I meet him someday so I can thank him face-to-face.
How was your experience working with the designer?
It was great. My agent and I agreed that one aspect of the design could use some tweaking in the original concept; the scary stalker figure at the center was kind of Frankenstein-like at first. It just didn’t hit the right note. I sent an image of a silhouette that fit more with my vision, and the designer ended up using that exact image, so everyone was happy.
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
So far, so good. It’s essential that the cover attract readers who are looking for the kind of book you’ve actually written, you know? It’s maddening when the cover art is misleading. I’m confident that this cover sends the right message; in this case, if you’re looking for chilling psychological suspense, you’ve found it.
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
Have a conversation with images. Show them covers, photos or artwork that evokes the mood you’re going for. Try to be open when they put their own spin on it. You’ll know when you’ve got something that’s true to what you’ve written and will also reach the right audience.
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
You should totally read it! : )



Thursday, February 1, 2018

Meet Joseph Davida, Author of TRAVELING HIGH AND TRIPPING HARD

After a near death experience at age fifteen, Joseph Davida left his parents’ home and moved into Manhattan. Too young to get a “real” job, he started up what became one of the biggest weed delivery services in New York to support himself while he pursued his career as a musician and songwriter. For years he worked with some of the best musicians in the world, until a nervous breakdown brought his time in the music industry to an end. During this time he traveled the world before finally settling in Nashville, where he had two beautiful daughters and started a successful chain of retail stores. He now concentrates on being a good father, and actively plans for the coming revolution…while also working to get his many stories onto the page. He's here today to chat about his book TRAVELING HIGH AND TRIPPING HARD. Visit his website at www.josephdavida.com.
Interview:
Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
Well, it was a combination of things. Probably the biggest inspiration came from the books I read as an early teenager, before I had a chance to get out and see the world on my own. For better or for worse, it started with “On the Road” when I was thirteen. That quickly led me to Burroughs, who immediately became a huge influence. After I had done some serious traveling, I decided I wanted to share some of my own my stories.
Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
I had too little patience to try and take the traditional publishing route. After dealing with some music industry people when I was younger, I figured I’d be better off trying to do things on my own terms. The idea of sending out a manuscript to agents and publishers sounded like a nightmare.

How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing it, or did it come later?
I had bits and pieces of stories I had written down while traveling, so the title didn’t come until much later. I knew I had to have some reference to the words traveling and tripping, and I just played around with them until something sounded right, and seemed to capture the essence of the book. I’m not sure “trip” is technically a double entendre, but certain readers will definitely get the double meaning.
Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
Yes, I had a good idea of what I wanted the cover to look like. I worked as a tattoo artist for a few years ages ago, but never considered myself much of an “artist”. That being said, I have a decent eye…so I sketched out a few ideas of what I was looking for.
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
I got online, and looked at ton of different artists’ work. Finally, I found a guy named Travis Gillan, and as soon as I saw what he was doing, I knew I had to hire him.
How was your experience working with the designer?
Amazing. At first I told him kinda what I was looking for, but I wanted to see what he came up with by himself. When he sent over his first sketch, it was almost EXACTLY what I had envisioned, except a million times better. I showed him the rough drawing I had done, just to show him how well he nailed it, and he got to work on the final cover.
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
Everyone who has seen it so far has loved it. You can’t deny the talent of this guy. I loved what he came up with so much, that I decided I had to have him do a few illustrations for the inside of the book as well. His line work is incredible, and the way he uses colors is very specific. His style is so distinct, I’m just glad I found him and had a chance to work with him while I could still afford him. Expect to see his work all over the place in the future.
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
Spend some money, and don’t chince out. Your cover is the first thing people are going to see before they ever even decide if it’s worth reading a word of it. There are a ton of great artists out there, a lot of them desperate for work. Look around until you find someone who jumps out and grabs your attention…then hire them.
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
Yes, go buy it. It is available on January 30th, at fine online retailers everywhere! I hear Jeff Bezos needs the money…