June/July 2018

Discover the World of Audiobooks

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Page 27 of 75

Jody Gehrman has been an audiobook listener for as far back as she can remember. "I'm a dedicated audiophile. I have a long-standing love of the form. I used to listen to old radio dramas before audiobooks became accessible." She enjoys listening for a number of reasons. "I can listen while I'm walking, work- ing out, or doing chores. Also, you can listen to an audiobook and experience it with someone else. My husband and I always listen to something on road trips. We stop it, we talk about it, and so it becomes this point of discussion, which is really fun." Gehrman teaches writing at Mendocino College in Northern California and is the award-winning author of numerous novels and plays. Her YA novel Babe in Boyland won the International Literacy Association's Teen Choice Award, while her plays have been produced or had staged readings regionally across the U.S. Her full-length play Tribal Life in America won the Ebell Playwright Prize. While Watch Me is her eleventh published novel, it's also her first adult mystery. "There is a wide range of topics, tones, and themes that are thriving in the YA industry, but I was ready switch to adult suspense." She believes this was the right time in her life to make that change. "I think it's time for me to leave the 17-year-old narrator's head." How did the idea for Watch Me come to Gehrman? The ending came first. After two decades of teaching, she has seen many changes on the college campus. "I've seen a lot more fear creep into the lives of faculty and students alike. I wanted to find a way to explore that fear, but not in a general sense. I wanted to create characters who would specifically embody the fear." She also wanted to investigate the theme of invisibility, in particular, the middle-aged invisibility of women. "I wanted to explore what that feels like . . . from being looked at all the time to not being looked at at all, feeling incredibly irrelevant, and what that does to your overall sense of self. It was the coming together of the two ideas that gave me the premise for the book." Jody Gehrman "Giving voice to Kate gave me a whole new level of appreciation for audiobook narrators." 26 n AudioFile/

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