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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Spotlight Saturday: Author Interview and Giveaway with Jody Gehrman, author of Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

We will be joined today by Jody Gehrman.

About Jody:

Jody Gehrman is a pagan at heart. She is a native of Northern California, where real witches thrive, and she has had the pleasure of knowing a few. She is also the author of seven novels and numerous award-winning plays. Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft is her most recent Young Adult novel. Her other Young Adult novels include Babe in Boyland, Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, and Triple Shot Bettys in Love, (Penguin's Dial Books). Babe in Boyland has recently been optioned by the Disney Channel and won the International Reading Association's Teen Choice Award. Her adult novels are Notes from the Backseat, Tart, and Summer in the Land of Skin (Red Dress Ink). Her plays have been produced in Ashland, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A. She and her partner David Wolf won the New Generation Playwrights Award for their one-act, Jake Savage, Jungle P.I. She is a professor of English at Mendocino College, where she can be found grading papers when she's not experimenting with spells.


Welcome to Darlene’s Book Nook, Jody! Please tell us a little about yourself.

I have two cats, a lovely husband who does most of the cooking, and I've always wanted to be a witch. I write a lot of plays as well as novels, which keeps me busy in my community and helps balance the solitary nature of writing fiction. I also teach English at a small college here in Northern California.

Do you have a specific writing style? Do you write an outline, or do you write more “by-the-seat-of-your-pants”?

I use a pen and a journal for my scribbly thoughts during my brainstorming stage; I jot down character quirks, rough outlines, anything that pops into my head. I generally draft an outline before I actually start writing chapters. I revise my outlines a lot though, because I can never seem to follow my own plan. I like to be surprised on occasion. I also use a lot of images for inspiration and to keep the world fresh in my imagination. 

Do you discipline yourself to write a certain number of words daily? Or do you ever have dry periods where you do not write?

I have times when life gets in the way, but I generally feel good about my productivity level if I'm writing at least 1000-2000 words a day. That number doubles if I'm working on deadline.

What is your ideal writing environment? Do you prefer music or solitude? Is there a time of day (or night) that you prefer?

I sometimes like a cafe outing with other writer friends, but I work best in my writing room. I use ear buds and surround myself with nature sounds: creeks or waterfalls or oceans. My nature sounds playlist seems to tell my brain, "This is writing time, so you need to leave the ordinary world behind." Writing while listening to music with lyrics makes me insane. It's like trying to have a conversation with two totally different friends simultaneously. Song lyrics pull me into them and distract me from my own sentences; maybe that's because I write songs for fun.

Are there any authors that influence your writing?

This is a hard question for me; so many writers have influenced me at different times in my life. Some of my favorites in the realm of “classics” include Nabokov, both of the Brontes (but especially Charlotte) and Jane Austen. Southern writers like Ellen Gilchrist made a big impression on me as a young writer. When I found Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones Diary, Nick Hornby's High Fidelity and Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series I became fascinated with British comic geniuses. I read a lot of YA these days and some of my favorite writers are Beth Fantaskey, Nina LaCour, Maggie Stiefvater and Stacey Jay.

I see that you have written seven novels and numerous plays. Do you have a preference between writing books and plays? Is your approach to writing plays different from writing books?

Plays are all about dialogue; it's your only tool. I think writing plays hones my dialogue skills so when I go back to novels the muscle is stronger. Plays are much more communal by nature, too. You usually work with the director and cast; that helps fight the solitude of writing novels. When you see a play performed you get to feel what the audience feels; you know when a joke falls flat, when a kiss or a monologue moves people. With novels, you have a huge space between you and your readers; only through reviews and emails do you know what they're thinking. But novels help me reach a wider audience, and I get a bigger canvas to paint on. I can delve into setting and pack in all kinds of sensory details. For me it's ideal moving back and forth between the two forms. I call it "cross-genre pollination." My work in one form inspires and strengthens my work in the other.

Can you tell us about your current or upcoming writing projects?

I'm working on the sequel to Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft. I'm having so much fun with it! I'm way too superstitious to say more, except that I hope to launch it in the spring or summer of 2013.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Shop, do yoga, drink coffee, listen to audio books, go to plays.

What book(s) are you reading now?

I'm reading "A Girl's Guide to Witchcraft." When I realized there's a book out there with such a similar title, I felt like I should definitely check it out. It's really fun.

Fun Facts

Favourite music? Alt country.

Dog-lover or cat-lover? Cat!

Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Both.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Jody! It was a lot of fun getting to know you better!

One lucky winner will win a digital copy of Jody's Young Adult fiction novel, Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft.

Falling in Love, baking a magical cake, fighting an evil necromancer—it’s all in a day’s work for Audrey Oliver, seventeen-year-old witch-in-training. When her mother goes missing and her twenty-one-year-old witchy cousin shows up out of the blue, Audrey knows something’s gone horribly, dangerously wrong. Now it’s up to her to get her own magical powers up to speed before everyone she loves is destroyed by the sorcerer intricately connected to her mother’s secret past.

To enter the giveaway, you must complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open worldwide and will close at 12:01 AM EST on November 17, 2012.

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