Monday, January 22, 2018

"Watch Me"

Jody Gehrman is a native of Northern California, where she can be found writing, teaching, reading, or obsessing over her three cats most days. She is also the author of eleven novels and numerous award-winning plays.

Her Young Adult novel Babe in Boyland was optioned by the Disney Channel and won the International Reading Association's Teen Choice Award.

Gehrman's 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 and Communications at Mendocino College.

Gehrman applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Watch Me, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Watch Me delves into the back-story of one of my main characters, Sam Grist. He recalls the first time he met the girl who was destined to break his heart. The way he deals with this heartbreak is violent and extreme, but I won’t say more for fear of spoilers.

In some ways page 69 differs from most of the book, which centers on a mutual obsession between a writing professor and her deranged but charming student, Sam. This section teases out Sam’s character arc, showing us the origins of his pathology—or at least the early signs of it.

Every psychopath has a tender story in his past. In Lolita, Humbert Humbert begins his tale with a story of the girl who started his obsession. “There might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea.”

Eva is Sam’s tender story from the past. On page 69, we meet her for the first time; she is a goddess in striped, mismatched socks and combat boots. She’s queen of her strange domain, a hippie commune of scattered yurts and teepees on a few acres of frozen hills outside Jackson Hole. It’s her honesty that draws him in; it’s that same honesty that later hardens his heart.

I can’t resist a tiny postscript. I always seem to weave yurts into everything I write; sure enough, page 69 happens to be my yurt page. It’s become a standing joke with my friends. New York editors are forever struggling with the concept. I usually end up sending them a picture. I suppose my recurring yurtieness comes from having lived in a yurt one dreamy summer long ago. But that’s another story.
Visit Jody Gehrman's website.

Writers Read: Jody Gehrman.

--Marshal Zeringue