Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Welcome Jessica Brody!

I've been horribly behind with my posts for the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit. It's not due to CP time, I promise! Ok, maybe it's a little CP time. I've been really busy with my other blog. But I'm going to try to get back on schedule.

So...welcome Jessica Brody! Jessica is author of The Fidelity Files, about a woman who busts cheaters. She's also a full-time writer and producer, she lives in Los Angeles where she is currently working on her next novel.

The Fidelity Files confronts the thorny issue of infidelity head-on with its controversial main character Jennifer Hunter. Operating under the code name “Ashlyn,” Jennifer leads a double life. Her friends and family all think she’s an investment banker who’s too busy to date. In reality, Jennifer is hired by suspicious wives and girlfriends to test the faithfulness of their partners. Her job has made her pretty cynical about her own love life. But just as she’s ready to swear off men for ever, Jennifer meets sexy, sophisticated Jamie Richards, a man who might just past her fidelity test. However, before she retires her secret agent self forever, she takes on one last assignment – a job which will permanently alter her perceptions of trust, honesty, and love.

I admit I had a brief fascination with the show "Cheaters." There's something satisfying about busting liars. Our conversation is below. Stay with me: this is gonna be good!

Q: Tell us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it.

A: The Fidelity Files is the story of a beautiful, L.A. woman who works as an undercover “fidelity inspector,” hired by suspicious wives and girlfriends to test the faithfulness of the men in their lives. Except no one in her life knows what she does. Her friends and family all think she works for an investment bank.

Before I became a full-time writer, I worked in a very corporate environment. And like all corporate jobs, there were a certain number of “alcohol-related” events that I was expected to attend. I would often find myself at work happy hour functions in nearby bars, observing the interactions between single and non-single co-workers as their behaviors gradually declined from professional to something else entirely. Something hardly capable of being described as “appropriate.”

Witnessing these “indiscretions” upset me on a profound level. I secretly wished that someone would tell the “conveniently” absent significant others about what their husbands/wives/boyfriends/ girlfriends/fianc├ęs really did while attending these “obligatory” and supposedly “uneventful” work functions. But I certainly wasn’t going to be the one to do it. I was brave enough to think it…but not exactly brave enough to go knocking on people’s doors with bad news. You know what people tend to do to “the messenger.”

So instead I created a character whose job and purpose in life was to do just that. To reveal the truth to anyone who wanted to know. To knock on all the doors that I never had the courage to knock on. An invincible superhero-esque woman whose quest is to fight against the evils of infidelity. But of course, she soon finds out…she’s not as invincible as she once thought.

Q: What's been your biggest surprise about getting published?

A: How LONG it takes for a book to hit the shelves! Holy cow! I was a young woman when I sold that thing. I really wasn’t expecting it to take that long. I thought six months maybe, nine tops. But from the time I got the publishing deal to the time it was actually available in stores was 19 months! And I recently sold a YA novel to another publisher and that one is going to take 24 months to release. I’m still not entirely sure why it takes so long but that was definitely an unpleasant surprise. Especially for someone like me who get frustrated when it takes longer than ten seconds for music to download.

Q: Do you have a favorite character in this book? If so, why?

A: My favorite character is definitely Jen’s gay friend, John. Every scene he’s in was always the most fun to write. And the easiest. He’s definitely the comic relief of the book. I don’t know where some of his lines come from. They just kind of emerge as if I’m channeling a flamboyant and sometimes annoying gay man from another dimension. I would be writing a scene with him and he’d respond with a line that was so him and I would just stare back at it on the page, laugh and say, “Where did that come from?” Needless to say, he was one of my favorite characters to return to in the sequel.

Q: What advice would you give to other writers trying to get published?

A: Take criticism. Believe in your work and stand behind it, but don’t be afraid to make changes. Try to be as objective as possible when it comes to your writing (I know how impossible that sounds) but it will only help you in the long run. Use rejections to evolve yourself as a writer, not just to line your waste basket. When someone rejects your work and offers a reason, don’t just blow it off and claim that they “didn’t get it” or that they clearly didn’t read it closely enough, dissect it and try to figure out if what they’re saying makes sense and if it will inevitably help your work. There a lot of people in this industry—agents, editors, other writers, etc.—who know what they’re talking about and know what it takes to make a book work. After all, that’s what they get paid for! Listen to them with open ears and grateful hearts. There’s a fine balance between staying true to your art and being open for suggestions, try to stay somewhere in the middle. If they “didn’t get it,” chances are, readers won’t get it either. And you won’t be there to explain it to them in the middle of Barnes and Noble.

1 comment:

Shauna Roberts said...

Sounds like a fun book. I would definitely enjoy seeing the cheaters get their just desserts.