Recently Jeri contacted me through my RR@H email and wondered if I wouldn’t mind reading her novel ‘REVERB’. I had so much on my ‘plate’ that I thought maybe I should check this book on Amazon before I commit to something. Its blurb was intriguing enough but what really hooked me was the first sentence of the book, so I told her that I’d be happy to do it. To say that this book is well-written is just not quite enough. I’m going to say that it is brilliant. It’s deep. It’s unique. You can find my review of it here.
We’re honored to have Jeri with us today so grab a cup of chai, coffee or any beverage that you like, sit back, relax and let’s find out more about Jeri and her work.
b2b: Welcome to b2b Jeri Cafesin (by the way how do you pronounce your name)? In order for me to remember its spelling I’ve separated it in two words: café & sin. Is that the correct way of pronouncing it?
JC: You got it. Cafe (but I don’t know how to get the little dash over the e), and Sin. But the name is not referring to a place to eat, or sin, which I don’t believe in anyway. Indifference to suffering and willful ignorance are the greatest evils by far. Sin is a religious construct.
The name is a pseudonym, made up from my maiden name when I first started writing. Wanted to keep fine writing separate from my copy writing.
b2b: Got it. I also agree with you on the indifference. Well said! Before I begin this interview, I want to thank you for stopping by, and just to give you a heads up: This is my first interview here or anywhere else, so good luck to both of us!
JC: This is my third. The link to my very first interview is on my Bio page because I kept trying to come up with content, think of something to say about myself, and couldn’t come up with anything beyond the obvious—that I’m a writer and a mom and a wife (the writer and the wife always after the mom).
The writer part of me has spent my lifetime watching and interviewing others, trying to make myself as anonymous as possible, fade into the background. It’s…interesting, being on the other end of that when I do a reading or even an online interview like this.
b2b: I think every mom out there will relate to your answer. Once you become a mother, everything else is secondary.
I have to tell you that the title of your novel ‘REVERB’ had me stumped. I had no clue about what the word meant, so I ran it by my husband and so he’d explained it to me. Tell us how did you come up with it and why that word?
JC: Reverb is a fairly common word with musicians but means several things. Short for reverberation, it’s an electronic effect added to music, but it’s also something else. My son plays electric guitar and he gets feedback, the music he’s playing loops in the amp and comes back at him distorted. This is also considered ‘reverb.’ James Whren, the protagonist of the novel, learns what we put out there, what we give is what we get back.
b2b: How true. I love that metaphor.
Some authors write at certain times of day or week. What’s your typical writing schedule and what gets your creative juices flowing? If you have any tips to help other aspiring new authors out there, feel free to share!
JC: When the kids are in school (YEA! Can’t wait for them to go back there!!!), I get them out of the house by 8:00 in the morning, and after going through email and a quick bit of social networking, FB and Twitter…etc., I write. I don’t stop until I have to pick them up for school around 2:30 most days. Lunch is some dry toast or nuts so I don’t have to take time to eat. Story and characters still linger in my head when I’m dealing with the kids and household things that need to get done, but I’m done with writing for the day. Usually read at night (what I want to after reading with the kids). Reading helps me see structure, what I want to emulate, what I don’t. Reading a lot helps me be a better writer.
b2b: I honestly enjoyed every aspect of this book. What inspired it and who did you envision as James?
JC: Glad you enjoyed the read! (You wrote the word ‘brilliant,’ about Reverb above, and I’m hoping you mean it in the British sense where everything is just brilliant. This morning my daughter told DH and I between giggles she likes to pretend she’s a rock star inside her head. Unknown to her, I did too, hence James Whren.
b2b: How cute! When I said ‘brilliant’ I meant “having or showing great intelligence, talent, and quality”. All of the above definitely apply to your novel.
Some authors give too much space to their secondary characters that often times they take over the story. Some do just the opposite. In my opinion you’ve achieved a wonderful balance and gave us just the right amount. Enough to wonder who they are and want more of them. Tell us more about them and if any (Kate in particular) would be having their own story?
JC: Very good. Ah, Kate. She’s the lead in my first novel Disconnected, which I’m now on the 4th year of rewriting (with 13 years between the first draft and this one). In Reverb, Kate finally came off the page and told me her story, with a satisfying and liberating ending [for women] at that!
b2b: Now that makes me happy to hear. I thought she had a lot of spunk! Looking forward to her story.
Cover Art in my humble opinion is really very important and that guy on the cover of ‘REVERB’ looks so familiar. He reminded me of Seth Gabel, the actor from ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ series. Who is the Dude on the cover and how much input are you allowed during this process?
JC: Ouch. Sore subject for me. Publisher wanted the current cover. I didn’t. Providing a photograph of a man on the book cover robs the prose of creating an image of masculine beauty. Though we know James is often perceived as beautiful, at least physically, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in Reverb should be the construct of the reader.
I executed several other book covers, my latest I’m looking to get enough comments on to submit to my publisher in hopes of using it instead of the current guy. Read the novel, and if you agree the cover is not what it should be, follow the link to newest book cover and leave a quick comment. I don’t think she’ll believe me with anything less than 50 in favor of the new cover.
b2b: I actually like both!
Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?
JC: I work with writing groups, in person and online like Zoetrope, Urbis L.A., where [mostly] writers read and critique other writers. I read it aloud, again and again. When I finish I usually have my husband read it first. He’s anal about spelling and grammatical structure, and, of course, I’m, well, not, so he helps me clean up. He’s my first editor, before the book editor from the publishing house. Professional, or friends that read a lot, it’s important for me to get the readers view and take-away of the story to make sure I’m telling the characters stories instead of my own.
b2b: Jeri, have you been writing for long and what else is out there for us to read from you? I think we’d like to know more about your journey into the publishing world. How hard is it to break through?
JC: “Break through.” We all have a different measure of that, to be sure. What’s yours?…To be read? By how many? 500, 5,000, 10,000,000? Mine is to make a living on fine writing alone (novels, essays and such); not a huge sum (even minimum annual wage would be good), but provide me with enough to justify quitting my ‘real’ job in advertising.
My journey in making up stories began as far back as I can remember with my stuffed dog, Checkers. At breakfast I used to make up elaborate tales of going in the night to Disneyland with my foot long blue and white checkered fabric mutt; or maybe sneaking out for a midnight surf off Malibu, with Checkers hanging ten off the front of my board.
I started keeping diaries when I was five. Switched to journals, you know those spiral binders we used for school. I loved having them everywhere, by the bed, in the bathroom, the car, with a pen stuck down the center of the metal spiral, and I wrote in them all the time. Now I can hardly hand-write anymore. I’ve been typing into a computer for so long I’ve become clumsy with a pen. I generally think as fast as I type, but when I have to use a pen I really have to focus on my hand movements to write now.
b2b: Well now you got me thinking. Am I a writer? In writing this Blog would I be considered as such?! I wouldn’t mind 10,000,000 people reading my blog! LOL!!
It is very difficult for me to choose my favorite author or a book, how about you? Are you willing to fess-up?
JC: Hard to choose with so much great writing out there. Favorite author is hard for me because I was taught not to fall for the artist but the art. So a few favorite books, this minute, off the top, which if you asked tomorrow the answers would be different: The Martian Chronicles, The Fountainhead, The Magus, The Collector, Crime and Punishment, Knockemstiff, Childhood’s End, The Godfather, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The End of the Affair, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy…
b2b: Those are some great books! I only read one of those, but now I’ll be checking the other ones you mentioned.
What do you like to read and what’s on your TBR now?
JC: DH and kids buy me books for every present worthy occasion. Usually contemporary commercial fiction. Just finished Stranger on the Planet, and I’m just beginning Matched, and after that is Attachments and The Other Life.
b2b: Now, that ends up our ‘professional’ portion of this interview. Are you ready to get personal? Or are you going to chicken out on me?
b2b: …I take that to be a yes so, let’s get Personal:
Tell us a bit about yourself, something personal that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love?
JC: Never fell in love, except for with my kids, from the day they were born, but I’m taking it you mean adult love. Worked at love twice in my life, (maybe three times but I knew it was a mistake from the beginning), and I’m married to my second journey into love. Everyday we prove to one another we’re here for each other and I’m more in love with my husband. I’m a firm believer Love is an action. The word itself is meaningless unless shown.
b2b: Once more, very well put. Saying the words and not backing it with an ‘action’ is meaningless.
Jeri, you’ve been so gracious today. Thank you for sharing with us. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having you here and I wish you all the luck. You have an awesome talent, please keep at it.
JC: Thanks for having me on bookworm2bookworm!! Questions? Leave a comment here or on my site with your email and I’ll get back to you…
Jeri will be giving away 1 signed printed copy of her ‘REVERB’ novel
& two PDF forms of it.
All you need to do is:
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Post a comment or question
(here or on JC’s website, with your email address).
If uncomfortable with that, send me or Jeri an email.
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