Interview with Writer Lisa Jey Davis
Lisa Jey Davis, aka Ms. Cheevious, is a world renowned writer and blogger and her very popular blog at www.mscheevious.com is about thoughts on pop culture, health tips, and much more. Lisa talked with me about her life as a writer and about her new book Ms. Cheevious In Hollywood – Adventures & Mishaps of an Accidental Hot Mamma, which is coming out this fall.
Nick- Hello Lisa Jey Davis how are you doing today?
Lisa- I’m good how are you?
Nick- I’m doing great. Where are you calling from today?
Lisa- Santa Monica, California.
Nick- Nice. Is it beautiful there right now?
Lisa- Yes it is! I’m three blocks from the beach so you can’t really beat it.
Nick- That sounds great because I haven’t seen a beach in quite some time.
Lisa- Well I was just there and it was beautiful.
Nick- Well Lisa what’s going on with you?
Lisa- I’m just writing and trying to get this book finished.
Nick- Is that the Ms. Cheevious book that is coming out this fall?
Lisa- Why, yes! Yes it is.
Nick- Well thanks for your time today and I can’t wait to here all about what you have going on. You are the award-winning writer and publicist Lisa Jey Davis, aka blog personality Ms. Cheevious. Besides your popular Ms. Cheevious blog, you have written articles for publications like the New York Review, Mountain Parent, The Associated Press, and you do a speaking tour focusing on single moms. You own and operate Jey Associates, a marketing and public relations firm in L.A, and you’ve worked with MTV, CBS, the NFL, and Motown doing television production. That is a lot of stuff! First let’s talk about your blog Ms. Cheevious. Back in 2007 Ms. Cheevious in Hollywood won Best Unpublished Manuscript at the New York book festival. Is that when all this began?
Lisa- I suppose you could say that’s when it launched into more of a solid “thing.” I got the idea for a few different books probably around 2003 or 2004. I started talking to friends about all the books that where coming out. I remember there was a book called I Don’t Know How She Does It and I read it because from the title, it sounded like my life. At the time I was newly divorced, had a child in first grade, and was making it work on my own. It was fiction but this woman was married, had a nanny, had a six-figure income, but still couldn’t seem to figure out how to get it done. So, though that book is called I Don’t Know How She Does It, I said to my girlfriends “I’m writing a book called I’ll Tell You How She Does It.” I was frustrated with the perception of woman fumbling around as they juggle career, life, and everything else all at once. It’s quite impossible to do it the way that people think, but it isn’t entirely impossible. What I mean by that is that woman can be organized, smart, strong, powerful, and still be loving mothers. They can be the lover, the wife, the partner to someone, and still be very happy. It just really depends on your situation and what’s going on in your life.
I had just come through a horrific divorce and, and yet I seemed to be holding things together, despite the challenges. So, I just thought ‘I am definitely going to write about this.’ Of course, the fact that I was able to break into the entertainment industry was nice. I had, at that point, just sort of been doing freelance publicity work for people. I hadn’t really established a business in that realm and I really wanted to pursue television production, which I was able to do right after my divorce. I moved up to L.A to do that. And THAT is what Ms. Cheevious is all about. Despite the odds, despite the horrific speed bumps in life, or curve balls that get thrown our way, it is still possible to pursue your dreams… to pick yourself up by your bootstraps (or bra-straps) and come up with a plan. Come up with what you want, plot it out and make it happen. And that’s what I did.
The beginning of the Ms. Cheevious book covers the divorce, the unraveling part, the very end, and then my plunging into that focus and determination to follow my dreams and make it happen in that realm of television production and entertainment. The end of the book goes to where I move to a new chapter and take off to Aspen, Colorado for a one-year adventure. That’s the end of the book. The next book will cover that adventure.
Nick- I really like Aspen, that’s a cool place. That will be an interesting place to start off your new book.
Lisa- Yeah, it was fun! I ended up there for four years, even though it was supposed to be one.
Nick- Well I’ve been reading a lot of your posts on mscheevious.com and first off it’s very refreshing because you compose your writing very well. It’s a place where someone can go and read a variety of topics and not just your personal life, but health types, reviews, and different kinds of advice for men and woman. How do you go about choosing these topics to write about?
Lisa- Well you’ve read some of the posts so you must know that Ms. Cheevious has her own persona. Ms. Cheevious is just what the name connotes: that she is sassy, does everything her way, and that’s just the way it’s gonna’ be. So when you’re in Ms. Cheevious-land (that’s what I like to call it) you are subject to a whole new set of ideas and customs. I’m an avid reader and I’m online pretty much all day long. I’m on my computer writing, constructing pitches and researching things for clients, so I read all the time in a variety of areas and if I have a client that is into fashion and they have a new line of graphic tee’s, I’m going to be looking up their competition. I might have someone who has got a principle role in a feature film coming out and I want to know who are the producers, directors, and what work they’ve done. All along the way, with the help of the Internet, where everything is at your fingertips, that’s where I get my inspiration. I remember I recently wrote an article called Ten Things Guys Secretly Wish About Girls, and the reason I wrote that was because I noticed that a lot of blogs and articles, especially online, love the numbered posts like the top ten things. People like to find those quick lists of things for whatever reason. I thought, “Well what would Ms. Cheevious make a list about?” and that’s really how that came up, it was that simple. Ms. Cheevious isn’t qualitative research or quantitative, for that matter. Ms. Cheevious has her own opinions but also she’ll reach out to her friends and ask them what they would do in situations.
Another post I wrote came from reading one of my favorite blogs. They had a post called How Buffy the Vampire Slayer Ruined My Life, and I thought it was really funny and interesting. The title grabbed me because I loved the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was made before the series. I remembered seeing that in the theater as a young kid and I just loved it. I still remembered lines from that film so I went back and I researched online for a list of quotes from the film and wrote an answer post called How Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rocked My World.
Recently, I did a post for Memorial Day called Remembering which was a very personal post about people that we’ve lost in our lives and how important it is to remember them and to take the time when we’re out grilling and having fun to actually remember what the day is for. I do book reviews and I have a whole segment called Techno Babe Moments where I’ll review a product. I did one on an app called ‘the bug app’ for the iPhone and Android. It promised to scare away mosquitos! Those are Ms. Cheevious types of apps! Ms. Cheevious is allergic to bees and is afraid of bugs! She loves to be able to say “there’s an app for that" for every single one of her problems. That’s the whole nutshell of Ms. Cheevious and the blog.
Nick- Are we ever going to see a discussion between Lisa Jey and Ms. Cheevious?
Lisa- Well that actually does happen on twitter. <laughs> There have been some blog posts as well and it’s funny because Ms. Cheevious is a character. She’s the crux of the book and she has the blog but Lisa Jey Davis is the writer and the brains behind it. I (Lisa Jey Davis) have my own Twitter and my own Facebook page, which is facebook.com/lisajey. Ms. Cheevious has her own page and her own Twitter and they are very different. Lisa Jey Davis tries to post more thoughtful, thought-provoking posts, and she’s very interested in reading literature and very intelligent articles. Ms. Cheevious is all about being mischievous, having fun, enjoying every moment in life, and not letting people bring her down. Her stuff is much more comedic. But every once in awhile Ms. Cheevious will say on twitter or somewhere, “I would never do that, but Lisa Jey might.”
Nick- I see that she’s making videos now right?
Lisa- That’s Lisa Jey Davis. Ms. Cheevious makes videos, but they are more infrequent because Ms. Cheevious’ video goal is to make comedic scripted videos, or topical series segments (like Techno-Babe Moments). Ms. Cheevious may talk up at the beginning about what the video is about, but then there will be a segment with actual actors. There is one on the Ms. Cheevious YouTube channel (@Iammscheevious), which is really funny about a really bad customer service experience I had. Lisa Jey’s videos are vlogs (Enjoy Every Day with Lisa Jey) that I used to do daily. They were super lengthy, and I was taking people on my day with me and then I when I got home I had to edit it all, so it become too cumbersome. Then I got this brilliant idea to just do a thought a day, whatever it might be. Whatever occurred to me throughout my day and would be encouraging thoughts for people and even that became too much. I started getting close to my deadline for my book so I only do it once a week now.
Nick- Well deadlines are kind of necessity for writers don’t you think?
Lisa- Well you have to be in a certain mind-space in order to write something that has true depth of meaning and still make it funny and enjoyable. That’s the trick. It’s definitely a process.
Nick- You own Jey Associates right? Can you tell us about that?
Lisa- Yes. It’s kind of a juggling act to have to switch hats and be the publicist or the marketing advisor, or the social media campaign manager for a client and make it all happen at the same time while I’m trying to do everything else. That doesn’t even count the fact that I’m really into fitness and I teach platies classes.
Nick- How did you get involved in the marketing and the public relations part? Did that come from the television production you did when you first moved to L.A?
Lisa- No, I had been doing marketing for a long time. I was raised in a family of entrepreneurs. My family owned the second largest printing plant in New Mexico. We were all raised to be very entrepreneurial and I was surrounded by a lot of people that encompassed that industry because my parents had a high quality printing plant and back in the day before the Internet you had graphic designers that would have to have everything printed. I think I just had a knack for it from a very young age. I started my first business at 18 and I’ve had various little ventures. I think my first business was a cleaning company for newly constructed projects. I called it So Fine Cleaning Company. I just kind of found I had a niche and a knack for marketing and promotions and that sort of thing and in New Mexico, when I was still there, my first business officially was called Aviso Information Management. I kind of went from the geeky standpoint of developing databases for clients, as well as throwing promotional events for clients where they would collect a mailing list. People would sign up to win the car or whatever and I had to put all that together. Then I slowly moved into PR through various clients and people and the marketing just kind of came as part of that because it’s a very fine line between PR and marketing. I like to be very firm with it so when somebody hires me as their publicist and they start sending me ad stuff, or they want me to buy adds for them, I am very firm and tell them that I am their publicist and they need to talk to their advertising people for this. It is for most people kind of a confusing sort of realm and they aren’t too sure what they get.
Nick- When where you doing television production?
Lisa- I was doing a lot of television production when I moved out here but once 9/11 happened television production fell off at least fifty percent, in terms of the types of shows I was working on. I had my fall-back and got back into doing more and more marketing.
Nick- You do a lot of stuff! And with your Ms. Cheevious In Hollywood – Adventures & Mishaps of an Accidental Hot Mamma coming out this fall - you are a busy woman.
Lisa- I know, you’re making me exhausted!
Nick- A lot of our readers might be interested in this because you say it’s a guilty pleasure for anyone who is interested to learn what really goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood.
Lisa- Oh Absolutely! There’s going to be plenty in there. You have to get through the first part of the book to get to all the glitz and glamour. You watch the Emmy’s, or the MTV movie awards, or the VMA’s, and they show you some of the behind the scenes but it is all very controlled. You don’t hear that so-and-so disappeared and we couldn’t find them and they’re supposed to be over reading teleprompter back stage, and they are due on stage in two minutes and we’re still looking for them. Meanwhile, they’re outside smoking a cigarette. You never hear about those kinds of things and that’s the stuff that comes up in my book.
Nick- It sounds like it’s going to be a fun read with some funny moments.
Lisa- Yeah it’s got some dirty secrets! And you know… I am pretty friendly! So, unless you piss me off, I’m not going to divulge your bad side (which I may have seen a glimpse of while working in production). In the book, I tell stories from my point of view doing talent management on shows. I was responsible to know where Kate Beckinsale was, or Ben Affleck, Matthew Perry, you name it. I’ve got a laundry of list including Scarlett Johansson, Tom Cruise, and other people I have worked with, and some really great stories. It’s going to be a fun read for people, but they are also going to have to sift through my own personal stuff like my divorce and how it was when I moved up to L.A. Plus, being a mom during all that stuff and what that entails. It is definitely great for anyone trying to break into the industry. It’s very uplifting and positive because if I can do it, you can do it.
Nick- Well all this sounds great for you this year and I’m sure every year after this is going to be very busy for you. Our audience can go to www.mscheevious.com and read about what she’s up to and they can also go to your personal site www.lisajeydavis.com.
Lisa- Yes they can and they should go to my facebook page for all the latest going on with me which is facebook.com/iammscheevious and that’s the same on YouTube. Once they do that and they want to find Lisa Jey Davis it won’t take them long to do that.
Nick- Well thank you so much for your time and we’re all excited for your book to come out this fall! I hope it all goes well for you.
Lisa- Thank you so much Nick!