24 April 2008

Author Answers with Jill Davis

Word Nerd has been having trouble remember when Wednesdays are, so instead of waiting for another one to roll around, she's going to post this week's Author Answers column 6 days early (that sounds better than a day late, right?)

This week's author is Jill A. Davis, whose new book "Ask Again Later" recently hit shelves. For more info on Davis, check out her website.

WN: What was the inspiration for "Ask Again Later?"

DAVIS: I wrote a serialized novella for USA Today a few years ago called The Countdown. When I was finished writing that I really missed Emily. I had started writing other stories but I kept going back to her and feeling the story was incomplete. In the novella only her work life was written about. This is a comedy about growing up.

WN: You wrote for the Late Show with David Letterman. What's different about writing comedy compared to writing fiction? Is one harder than the other, and if so, what makes it more challenging?

DAVIS: Wait, wait. My fiction isn't comedic? Then I'm failing miserably. There are quite a few differences between writing for television and writing novels. When you write for television it has to be very short, punchy and you are writing in someone else's voice - a man's voice, in my case. As I wrote for him, I'd have to imagine him saying the words. This was excellent practice for novel writing in a way I couldn't have predicted. As you you write a novel you are constantly asking yourself "would this character really say this? would she say is this way?". Of course, a novel has a story to tell. So in that way, it's a different kind of commitment. It's less disposable than television. I love writing for TV and I love writing novels.

WN: Were you a reader as a kid? What turned you on to the idea of being a writer?

DAVIS: Huge reader. I would read and reread anything I could get my hands on. Sometimes this meant reading mom's mail - before mom read it. I would read age appropriate stuff and then I'd also read Sidney Sheldon at my grandmother's house when she wasn't looking. I can vaguely remember reading a biography of Shirley Temple when I was about 10. Whatever was on a shelf at her house was fair game. When I was a teen-ager I loved Hermann Hesse. I can remember stumbling upon him in the high school library and what struck me was that there were so many copies of his books. This was because the 4th year German students read his books as a class, but I didn't know that at the time. I was always a shy but funny kid. So the idea of expressing myself on paper somehow seemed easier than speaking. I never had a plan B, I always planned to write.

WN: What's next for you as a writer?

DAVIS: I'm working on a book now. But there are many things I'd like to do. I've love to write a play. I have an idea for novel for a young adults.

1 comment:

Belinda (Worderella) said...

I stumbled onto Davis's Girl's Poker Night at my local Half Price Books store, and picked it up simply because the cover was so striking (black, with flourescent-colored symbols from playing cards). I ended up loving the book for the same reasons that I love His Girl Friday.

Thanks for posting this, I'll definitely be adding Ask Again Later to be to-be-read list!