1. Have you always wanted to become an author? Or did someone/something inspire you to do so?
I attempted my first "novel" when I was eight. My family moved to Canada that year, and I really missed my best friend who still lived in California. We used to play all kinds of imaginary games together, and I totally suffered from withdrawals when we moved away. So my first attempt at a book was actually a very long letter to her, a fantasy about us riding around on our flying dogs. I think I actually typed it on a real typewriter! Ever since then, writing fiction has been all about visiting imaginary worlds for me. I still tend to think of every novel as a long love letter, and I still tend to write some of my best stuff when I'm pining for a person or place.
2. I hear that some authors write during the night, and some during the day. What time of the day do you feel is the best time of day to write or be inspired?
I'm a morning writer, though when I've got a deadline I've been known to write morning, noon and night.
3. I loved Harry Potter, therefore I love witchcraft as well. Where did you get your inspiration to write a book about witchcraft?
I wanted to explore what I knew about real witches but also create a world where their power could be even more amazing. That's part of why I set it in my hometown, Healdsburg; I loved the idea of adding paranormal elements to a place I know so well. I've always been in love with the idea of nature-based magic. I'm a pagan at heart; even as a kid, I sensed a mysterious power running through the natural world. Witches have an ability to interact with that power, which I think is pretty fantastic. Growing up here in Northern California, I was lucky enough to meet some people who practiced witchcraft, so it wasn't that foreign to me, and I decided I'd like to try writing about it.
4. Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft was absolutely hilarious. I'm wondering if it's from your own personality, someone you know, or if all the characters personalities or snarkieness were just made up.
I don't really think I'm that funny as a person; I mean, I'd like to be, but I'm not the girl who tells stories at parties and has everyone in stitches. When people first told me my writing was funny, it caught me off guard. Maybe that's what writers do though: we express our secret selves on the page. I do draw a lot of inspiration from young people I know, especially my students (many of whom are hilarious and snarky) but Audrey's personality isn't based on any particular person.
5. While reading your book, I had trouble picking my favourite characters, did you have the same problem while writing it?
Sadie was my favorite character to create in many ways, though I don't know if I can pinpoint exactly why. I love her sense of style, her relationship with nature, and her willingness to mentor Audrey even though she doesn't really understand Audrey's power. I also felt a connection with Megan from the very beginning. She's a natural rock star, which has always been a fantasy of mine. (Random side note: My husband Dave and I just got back from a two week tour of open mics across six states; we played our music for different audiences in part to get a little of that rock star feeling. I've blogged about it here if you feel like checking it out.) Audrey was the trickiest character for me to understand. It took me quite a few years before I found the right protagonist to tell this story.
6. The recipes. Oh wow, the recipes. Are they your own, and are they actually real? I'd really like to try one of them!!
Sure! You should definitely give them a try. They're real recipes, and while I'm not much of a cook myself, people tell me they've been turning out great. The magical chocolate cake recipe is included in a new cookbook called Passionate Cooks. It's full of recipes contributed by romance writers, and it's free!
7. Are you planning on writing more about Audrey?
Yes! I'm hoping to get the sequel out sometime in 2013, hopefully late spring or summer. If all goes well there will be three books the Audrey's Guide series.
- Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate.
- Coke or Pepsi? Coke.
- Favourite colour? Sea green.
- Favourite author? I can't choose! I love too many. Nabokov is high on my list, though, and so are Dr. Suess and Helen Fielding.
- Favourite book? Again, I'm too moody to commit forever, but I really admire Lolita.
- Country you'd love to visit. Bali!
Jody Gehrman is the author of seven novels and numerous 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 won the International Reading Association Teen Choice Award and has recently been optioned by the Disney Channel. Her adult novels areNotes 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.