Today we have Judah Lee Davis, author of She Tells All, joining us. She is stopping by on her virtually tour with CLP Blog Tours! Her tour runds March 19 - March 26, here's a link to all the tour stops.
FBL ♥: Have you always had this exuberant sense of humor?
Absolutely not. Believe it or not I was the world’s most uptight, type-A drama queen, cheerleading diva in high school. I never left home without make-up. I worked out two hours a day. If I ate two Oreos, I immediately barfed them up. I didn’t think Chris Rock standup or the Austin Powers series was funny in the least. It was like I had a permanent pom-pom stuck up my butt.
Shortly after having a nervous breakdown in college (which isn’t surprising in light of the unattainable standards I held myself to) I got in with the wrong crowd, killed off 90 percent of my brain cells, and finally got a sense of humor. I’m not recommending that anyone try this method at home, but have you ever met someone so uptight that you’d like to highly recommend they become an alcoholic? That was me.
FBL ♥: Tell us something about your novel – She Tells All. Any specific reason for this title? How did this book happen and why did you choose to write about it.
So many things happened simultaneously to inspire this odd little tale about a promiscuous girl with magic shoes. First, I read the Old Testament and I was overwhelmed by all of the whore references. Since I could certainly be described as a little free spirited in college (if you know what I mean), all the whore references were the first things in the Bible that I ever found truly inspirational.
I began to wonder if some of the uptight religious people I’d known throughout my life had even read the book they claimed to live by. I played off this idea of “worse than a whore” which is found throughout the book of Ezekiel and Hosea, and in my mind it developed into what the modern day urban dictionary refers to as a “ho.” My brain, or what was left of it after college, started working overtime. Those three cells really started cranking out the ideas. I wanted a character that was in-your-face. I wanted her to be a skanky ho who was super duper offensive to the majority of people. She wouldn’t just tell half her story, she would tell ALL. Yes, she would even tell you some details of random stranger sex. And then I wanted someone to come along and love her in exactly the condition she was in. I wanted to paint the picture of what a REAL Christian is supposed to look like according to my personal interpretation of the Bible. Interestingly enough, though many a nose has been turned up at my novel (especially in my hometown), my book was inspired by the message of unconditional love that I discovered throughout my study of the history of Israel (which is also where I got my pen name from – Judah.) During that time I experienced the passing of a dear friend, which gave me the emotional fuel I needed to write about the character that would represent the unconditional love of Christ.
I’m probably going to get in major trouble for saying this, but throughout my life I couldn’t help but to notice that some (not all) of the Christians I met were some of the most gossipy, two faced, judgmental and elitist people I’d ever encountered. These people scared me away from Christianity, making me say to myself, “If this is what it means to be a Christian, I’ll take Buddah.” In my mind, I silently called their fancy churches the Jesus Country Club. Then one day I met a Christian who changed my opinion forever … inspired me to read the Bible … and boom … here came “She Tells All” barreling out of my womb like a screaming baby – abusing the ears of all who listen, offending some and enchanting others. There’s really no telling how this book baby of mine will affect any one person, and I’ve given up trying to astrologically chart the stars on my reviews.
FBL ♥:Are any things in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?
Sadly enough, the entire book has a seed of truth, but it's a long story. As I said before, I was somewhat free-spirited in college (that’s what I like to call it) and it would be very difficult to write such a sleazy book if I had not had at least some semblance of naughty experiences. However, deep in my heart, I’ve always been a sensitive and fragile little girl who wanted to be like Cinderella. I wanted love. I wanted a prince, but by 30 none of the dreams that I had hoped for had come true. Instead, I was a single mom who’d been left behind by my friends and family. Life had given up on me, and so I wrote a book about a girl who’d given up on life. I looked at my life and retold my story as my psychitzophrenic alter ego Madison Miller. Madison didn't cry at the drop of a hat. Instead she was bold and hard. She had the rigid exoskeleton and carefree character that I so badly needed. In a time when I was dealing with so many serious issues in my life, she helped me to laugh away the pain.
The events in the book concerning my mother and coworker are mostly true and came from journal entries. The Holy Spirit really did invade the blue ant car after me and boyfriend dabbled in too much mischief. But the part about it stopping the car heater is fiction. So you see, there’s a seed of truth in every story. He really did ask me to marry him, and I really did write him that poem. In fact, all the poems are real and came from my journals.
Collin did sleep with a prostitute AND we really did have UDFC (Ultimate Dildo Fighting Championship,) but those two incidents didn’t occur on the same night. That would have been WAY too tiring! We actually used to video tape our UDFC nights, and I will never forget the look on my Dad’s face when he walked up to me and handed me the VHS tape labeled Dildo Fight. He said, (and NOT smiling at all), “I think THIS belongs to YOU.”
FBL ♥:If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I so wish the answer to this question was “No,” but actually, I wake up every day wanting to change things, and so I do. If you go to Amazon and my book says out of stock, it’s because I’m changing something again. I’ve already bounced back and forth between two different endings, taken out the “p” word at the beginning (which offended SO MANY), and added in details in places that many complained were lacking. Sadly enough, I will probably continue with this madness and will more than likely NEVER stop torturing myself over silly details. Such is the life of an eccentric writer-beast with only three brain cells. I am like the weather. Every day I change.
FBL ♥:When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?
I write in the middle of the night. I bounce up out of bed at 2 a.m. as I ramble on about some dream I had that inspired another chapter. Then I rush to my computer screen and type frantically as if a nuclear holocaust is imminent and I must produce this urgent letter to soothe foreign relations and prevent the destruction of the world. In 2009, I would actually wake up and drink two Heinekens for breakfast just to calm my nerves.
Now that I’m married, I endeavor daily to act more normal and force myself to write while my husband’s at work. I've put down many vices and have taken up normal addictions like coffee. I have to keep the weirdness under wraps, you know. And I've been officially trying to reign in my eccentric nature ever since I met this handsome prince of a husband.
FBL ♥:What is the best part of being a writer? What is the worst?
The best part is when you get a fan. It’s not even about money. It’s just that somebody out there was touched by my work. They may have been having a hard day, and maybe my book made them laugh and just forget about it all for awhile.
I LOVE comedy and there is nothing better than laughter to soothe the soul, especially since we live in a world so full of violence, murder, eviction notices, divorce papers, unexpected doctor bills, cheating husbands, glue-sniffing teenagers, diabolical bosses with evil laughs, toll bridges … people who don’t recycle … Geez, I could go on … but I’ll spare you. Bet you’re ready for some comedy now!
The worst part of being a writer is dealing with negative reviews. There’s nothing more troubling than realizing I more than likely damaged my liver from drinking Heineken for breakfast, had to kill off 90% of my brain just to get a sense of humor, and had everyone in my tiny Alabama town calling me a skank, just to get a bad review. It's a little painful, but O.K. at the same time. Being an author is like being a kickboxer; you take a lot of hits to the head.
FBL ♥:What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?
Chelsea Handler is awesome. It really takes a lot to make me laugh, but her books really catch me off guard and I love her raunchy sense of humor. In contrast, Joyce Meyer is my hero. I’ve read nearly all of her books, and she is one Christian who says it like it is. I seem to identify with extreme personality types and am bored to tears by subtlety. Be hot or be cold, but please don’t bore me!!!!! And that is a major goal of mine as a writer … for my reader to simply not be bored.
I wanted to major in English, not journalism, but I couldn’t make it through Milton’s Paradise Lost. It was just too much work for my three brain cells. They started cussing at each other, falling into a pattern of domestic abuse and venting on Facebook. Desperate to salvage what was left of my brain, I changed my major from English to journalism. When my Journalism 101 professor told me the first rule of media writing was that I must “learn to write on a fifth grade level,” I knew I had found the mothership. Finally, a place in the world for me. Then he said, “and the second rule is that you must make a budget for how you will live off of $16,000 a year and three hours of sleep per night.” That was in ’01. I hope the starting salaries have improved.
FBL ♥:Please share with us what you are currently working on.
Last month I published Every Woman’s Hero, which brings my character to her knees (and not in the fun way … not like in the first book.) This month I will publish The Diary of Dion, which re-tells the entire story from Dion’s point of view. I actually got her real journal from her parents to inspire me. This was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to write. I had to hold it away from my face so that my tears didn’t fall on the pages.
Now that The Diary of Dion is with the editor, I’m 500 pages into writing a spoof on the Bible. BYOB is bring your own bull. God is from the South, and so his commandments end with “y’all.”
Adam is completely pronounced wrong. After God made the man, he realized he messed up and cursed,“AhDamn.” We just pronounce it “Adam.”
Esau lost his birthright because he got a D.U.I. Isaac drives a Harley. Rachel works in a diner. You get the picture.
This series may take the rest of my life to complete, but since becoming a millionaire off my Kindle royalties, I have nothing but time on my hands. (That was just a joke. I’m actually so poor I’m writing this as I sit outside of McDonalds in my car and steal their WiFi. Don’t tell anybody.)
Now, I beg of you. I’m holding up a sign that says “Will Write For Food.” Please go buy my book so that one day I can actually go inside McDonald’s AND actually buy a double cheeseburger combo. I will be like the rest of society then. Eating my cheesy burger, enjoying the air conditioner, refilling my beverage … Don’t you want to be a part of that? What better philanthropic endeavor could you possibly imagine contributing to than me eating a cheeseburger? Think about it ...
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Now, as she takes a good, hard look at her life, she relives the past that transformed her into a vainglory vixen and realizes an important lesson about why she should NEVER sleep with strangers.
Madison kept finding love in all the wrong places. It took her awhile but she finally found her groove. She no longer had to settle once she accepted that she deserved better.
"Sometimes to get to heaven, you gotta go through hell"
After graduating in Journalism in 2001, Judah Lee Davis has furthered her career as a corporate writer for the past decade. As a result of her training in media, her non-traditional writing style is simple, easy-to-read, and accessible to adult readers at all education levels.
Her debut novel, She Tells All, is written from the hilarious collage of ideas that could only come from living in a small town. From strong Pentecostal undertones to vulgarity of the crudest nature, Davis contrasts the war between good and evil as she chronicles the struggles of a promiscuous girl looking for love, (or something similar) in a sleepy southern town.
Her sequel, Every Woman’s Hero keeps the funny coming with even more laughter, more fun, and an even bigger dose of can’t-put-it-down humor.