All of my life I’ve been obsessed with the power dynamics between men and women. For years, I’ve wanted to write the story of an older woman who finds herself unable to resist the attention of a younger man. I didn’t want to write it as a romance, though. I knew there was something murky and dangerous about this story; it took me a decade to figure out exactly how I wanted to frame it.
Watch Me is a dark psychological suspense novel about a professor caught up in a dangerous relationship with her charming but psychotic student. When the premise came to me, I told my husband about it. He said, “Whatever you’re working on now, drop it. This is the book you have to write.” I wrote the first draft in a mad rush and sold it quite quickly. Some books are slow and coy; they work their way into your bloodstream in stages. Others seem to appear out of nowhere and take over your life.
Writing this book felt important and cathartic. “Watch Me” is a dare, a command, and a plea. I was trying to put into words an experience I think many women can relate to. We go from always being on display in our twenties and early thirties to suddenly feeling invisible. The minute we hit puberty we start to feel eyes on us; we get so used to that state, we unconsciously accept it as a law of nature. When all those eyes turn away from us, it’s as if we disappear. My protagonist is thirty-eight, divorced, emotionally bruised, and disappearing. That perfect storm makes her vulnerable to an obsessive sociopath. He may be dangerous, but at least he sees her.
I hope the theme of middle-age invisibility will resonate with readers. We all yearn to be seen, to be savored and appreciated, no matter our age; it’s something we don’t talk about a lot, but our culture’s obsession with youth and beauty can really mess with one’s sense of self after a certain number of birthdays. Nothing would please me more than seeing Watch Me get passed from one woman to another as part of an ongoing conversation about that craving to feel visible again.
About the Author:
Jody Gehrman has authored eleven published novels and numerous plays for stage and screen. Her Young Adult novel, Babe in Boyland, won the International Reading Association’s Teen Choice Award and was optioned by the Disney Channel. Jody’s plays have been produced or had staged readings in Ashland, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A. Her newest full-length, Tribal Life in America, won the Ebell Playwrights Prize and will receive a staged reading at the historic Ebell Theater in Los Angeles. She and her partner David Wolf won the New Generation Playwrights Award for their one-act, Jake Savage, Jungle P.I. She holds a Masters Degree in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a professor of Communications at Mendocino College in Northern California. Watch Me is Jody Gehrman’s debut suspense novel