Roman and Jewel
by Dana L. Davis
Published by Inkyard Press
Releasing on January 5, 2021
If Romeo and Juliet got the Hamilton treatment…who would play the leads? This vividly funny, honest, and charming romantic novel by Dana L. Davis is the story of a girl who thinks she has what it takes…and the world thinks so, too.
Jerzie Jhames will do anything to land the lead role in Broadway’s hottest new show, Roman and Jewel, a Romeo and Juliet inspired hip-hopera featuring a diverse cast and modern twists on the play. But her hopes are crushed when she learns mega-star Cinny won the lead…and Jerzie is her understudy.
Falling for male lead Zeppelin Reid is a terrible idea–especially once Jerzie learns Cinny wants him for herself. Star-crossed love always ends badly. But when a video of Jerzie and Zepp practicing goes viral and the entire world weighs in on who should play Jewel, Jerzie learns that while the price of fame is high, friendship, family, and love are priceless.
Congrats on your next young adult book! What was your inspiration for Roman and Jewel?
I was dealing with terrible, terrible writer’s block so I decided to just not attempt to write. Instead, I chose to listen to music all day every day. For weeks! At first it felt sad and I felt defeated. Would I ever write again?! But I ended up finding the music for the reboot of Once on This Island on YouTube during this time and fell in love with Hailey Kilgore’s voice. I learned later that she had an injury and her understudy had to take over the role on Broadway. It was the first seed for this story coming to life. A friend of mine had also recently spent months in New York as a cover for an actor and the whole experience just fascinated me. The idea of being so close to your dream and yet…so far away. What’s the story of the understudy?
What was your favorite part of writing Roman and Jewel?
Traveling to New York for research. I really fell in love with the city to the point where I’m determined to move there soon. My daughter is on board with the idea as well. Hopefully someday we can make it happen!
If you could spend one day with Jerzie and Zepp, what would you all do? Are there any places you would visit?
A day? It would have to be a week! And we’d totally spend the week seeing shows in NYC. Dear Evan Hanson, Mean Girls, Hadestown, and of course the West Side Story reboot with Isaac Powell and Shereen Pimentel. And yes, even though I’ve seen Hamilton on Disney+ like ten times, I’d still see it on the stage again and again.
Did you have to do any research for Roman and Jewel? If you did, what was your favorite piece of information you came across for your book?
It was the first time I traveled to research for a book, so hanging out in New York City was definitely research. I also immersed myself in Broadway music and interviewed Broadway stars. Two of which were understudies at some points in their career. I also saw shows and went backstage to fully understand the inner-workings of a show and theater. It was seriously great fun! I’d say the coolest piece of information was knowing that cover’s names are printed on these pieces of paper that say: Tonight the role of (this character) will be played by (insert understudy’s name) way ahead of time…during rehearsals probably. One actor I interviewed said that those sheets of paper just ended up being so sad for him because he never actually got to perform, as the actor he covered for never missed a show. And covers have to sit backstage for every…single…show. What dedication!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don’t write to be the best. Write to tell great stories.
What are you hoping readers take away from Roman and Jewel?
The beauty of love at first sight. That we can still believe in magic. We can still see a stranger across a room and have our stomachs fill with butterflies. Love can be all-consuming and fun. I hope people fall in love with the idea of love.
Is there anything else you would like to let the readers know about your book?
We thought it would be fun to write one of the songs mentioned in the book. So “I Think I Remember” is now on Youtube! We foud two amazing singers and made it a beautiful tribute to Broadway. Check it out! Search: Roman and Jewel: I Think I Remember.
Dana L. Davis is a novelist and Hollywood actress with previous series regular roles as: Carmen Phillips on TNT’s Franklin and Bash and modern day mimic Monica Dawson on NBC’s cult series Heroes.
She currently stars on the animated series Star Vs. the Forces of Evil, Craig of the Creek, and She-Ra. Dana has guest-starred in over 20 prestigious primetime series, including 911, Scorpion, Code Black, Grey’s Anatomy, and CSI. She made her film debut in Coach Carter with Samuel Jackson.
In addition to her work on screen, Dana has become a motivational speaker for teens. Her stirring assemblies empower and encourage youth, helping them to redefine what it means to win and lose.
Extremely versatile, Dana is a screenwriter and a trained Violist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from Loyola Marymount University. She volunteers for nonprofits like Empowering Lives International, an organization which provides training, resources, and encouragement to underprivileged East African children.
Dana also created her own nonprofit organization Culture For Kids, LA, an organization which gifts inner city children tickets and transportation to see performing arts shows around the Los Angeles area.
Dana was raised in the Midwest and currently resides in Los Angeles with her 9-year-old daughter.