Writing this book was exhilarating and cathartic for me. My highest hope is that your experience reading it is half as thrilling as my experience writing it.
“Watch Me” is a dare, a command, and a plea. That’s why I fought to keep that title, because it expresses something so many people—especially women—experience but rarely discuss.
Theme has always been an aspect of writing that eludes me. I have no trouble settling into a scene, imagining the details, and dialogue is pure, childish pleasure for me. When it comes the Big Ideas, though—the daunting “what’s this book really about emotionally?” question—I often falter. Every writer has her super powers and her kryptonite. For me, theme has been the latter.
Watch Me was a refreshing exception to this rule. Almost from the first page, I felt compelled to explore an issue I’d been struggling with for years: the invisibility of middle age. 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. It happens on different birthdays for different women, but for most of us it happens. 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.
If this concept resonates with you, I hope you’ll find meaning in this tale. The writer’s job is to take universal truths and make them new—to help us see our own lives with fresh eyes. I would be so honored if your perspective on some aspect of your own life was altered or expanded by getting to know Sam and Kate.
My ultimate fantasy is that this will be the sort of book women pass to one another with pointed looks and whispered comments. “Remember that thing you brought up last night after our third gin and tonic? Yeah, that. Read this. Then we’ll talk.”
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. www.jodygehrman.com