Thursday, January 18, 2018

Jody Gehrman

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's new novel is Watch Me.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Early this morning I finished A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. When I say “early this morning” I mean 3 a.m. This was one of those books I devoured in one sitting, something I don’t get to do very often these days. I’ve been plagued by a cold and indulged myself with a lazy day of reading.

As it turns out, this is the perfect book to curl up with on a cold, wintry day. It won an Edgar Award for Best YA Mystery, and with good reason. It takes place in the 1800s in a couple of different insane asylums, one in Boston and another in rural Ohio. Madness, incest, rape—it’s full of dark subjects—but somehow it’s not the slightest bit depressing and it’s compulsively readable. The characters are vivid, the setting richly detailed, and the plot had me totally hooked.

Side note: The reason I finished it at 3 a.m. is because earlier in the evening, at a much more respectable hour, just as I reached the exciting final chapters, my husband got all chatty. There are few things I like better than a late night talk with my man, so I knew I was fully immersed in McGinnis’s world when I finally threw the book across the room with a growl of frustration. I decided to grow up and put the book away, but snuck off in the wee hours to finish it by the fire with a cup of tea. I won’t say more about the plot for fear of spoilers; suffice it to say, McGinnis can spin a yarn with the best of them.

I’m a total audiophile, so I’m always listening to at least one audio book, often more. Right now my husband and I are listening to Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water, which is complex and challenging, but coalescing nicely. We took it with us on a road trip and had to quiz each other frequently about the dizzying number of characters, but as we cruise toward the last couple of hours the many plotlines and POVs are starting to braid together into a satisfying whole.

I’m also listening to Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game, narrated by the inimitable Imogen Church (love her husky British voice. If you can’t tell, I’m not only an audiophile, but also a hopeless anglophile). I’m only about halfway through, but so far it delivers a winning combination. Ware is so great at blending atmospheric suspense with rich, in-depth explorations of women’s friendships; that was the recipe that got me hooked on her debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood. I’m thrilled to see her revisiting those elements but in a totally fresh way.
Visit Jody Gehrman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue