Monday, July 28, 2008

David Cook and Jeffrey Leever: The Unofficial Comparison

After hearing the comment "Hey, you look like David Cook" from people at book signings multiple times over the past few months, I decided to explore if there was any substance behind the statement. What follows is a compilation of some key similarities, differences, and other miscellaneous tidbits.

Claim(s) to Fame

David: Won Season 7 of American Idol by 12 million votes over nearest competitor; had eleven songs debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Jeffrey: Novel, Dark Friday, cracked’s Top 100 bestsellers in the mystery/hardboiled category (in Sept., Oct., and Dec., ’07).

Latest Tour

David: Appeared on the highest-rated program on all of television; currently performing with fellow Top 10 show contestants to large/sold out crowds on the "American Idols LIVE!" tour across the United States.
Jeffrey: Sold out book signings across the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions at retailers including Borders (six times) Barnes & Noble (twice), Books-A-Million (twice), Hastings Entertainment, and Waldenbooks.

Teen Appeal

David: Considered cool by Jeffrey Leever’s daughter.
Jeffrey: Considered a dork by Jeffrey Leever’s daughter.*
* Although considered cool by Jeffrey Leever’s daughter’s friends.

Other Appeal

David: Considered hot by Jeffrey Leever’s wife.
Jeffrey: Formerly considered hot by Jeffrey Leever’s wife.


David: Is the middle child of three brothers.
Jeffrey: Is the middle child of three brothers.
The Brethren: Matt, Chad, and Jeff.
(You can't tell here, but I'm actually the tallest.)

Age/Relative Youth

David: Born in 1982.
Jeffrey: Born in 1972.

Ties to Blue Springs, Missouri

David: Grew up in Blue Springs; now travels around country.
Jeffrey: Grew up in Nebraska; now lives in Blue Springs.


David: Has sported “emo hair” in the past few months.
Nice maroon tie, Mr. Rock Star dude.

Jeffrey: Has also sported “emo hair” in the past few months.*
* Per goading from daughter.

Clearly an emo imposter.

Instrumental Expertise

David: Plays the guitar.
Jeffrey: Plays the drums.
All in the name of exercise and good cardio-vascular health.

Alleged Resemblance

Jeffrey: Has been told at book signings “You look like David Cook.”
David: Has likely never been told “You look like Jeffrey Leever.”

Nebraska Ties

David: Auditioned in Omaha, Nebraska.
Jeffrey: Born in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Blue Springs South Ties

David: Attended Blue Springs South High School.
Jeffrey: Attended Blue Springs South High School…to watch daughter perform as a cellist at a JR/SR-high orchestra concert.

Hometown Legend

David: Easily the most famous person from Blue Springs; has been the subject of dozens (if not hundreds) of articles from his hometown newspaper.
Jeffrey: The subject of one newspaper article from hometown paper; able to travel anonymously around town due to tricks known only to mystery novelists.


David: A self-professed "word nerd." Writes songs.
Jeffrey: Makes a living with words. Writes mystery novels.

Prior Creative Work

David: Released an independent CD, though apparently never signed a recording contract.
Jeffrey: Once had a signed book contract with a publisher called David Cook Publishing.

Community Recognition

I guess it's okay if you wave at my daughter, Mr. Cook.

David: Rode in a slow-moving parade down Adams Dairy Pkwy in Blue Springs, MO.
Jeffrey: Pulled over for speeding on Adams Dairy Pkwy in Blue Springs, MO.

Romantic Ties

David: Dates fellow American Idol contestant and actress Kimberly Caldwell.
Jeffrey: Hasn’t dated since the early 1990s. In fact...can't get a date.

The lesson? It doesn't take much to be "mistaken" for someone who resembles David Cook. All it seems to require is to be from Blue Springs, MO, be relatively young (at least in appearance), have messy hair and/or facial hair, and be involved in the entertainment field in some way.

Kudos to David for all his well-earned success. His website:

- Jeffrey (e-mail me)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Book Signings & Internal Monologue

As an author who typically writes from a third-person, limited omniscient perspective, one of the challenges I have is to give each character an agenda that’s expressed in both dialog and internal monologue. Sometimes the lines my characters speak don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes the story being told has very little to do with the literal words being said.

In real life, it both amuses and unnerves me to see this principle play out. Of course, we are not privy to the internal monologue of others in everyday encounters. So we’re left to speculate. (Actually, well, that’s probably for the best.)

Over the past two months, I’ve had quite a few book signings for my new suspense novel Dark Friday. I thought I would share some of the most common lines I hear at these signings, just for fun and education’s sake. And—imagining each person as a character in one of my stories—I’ll also translate the spoken words into internal monologue.

What’s your book about?

I’m not really listening, just probing for key words. The shorter and friendlier you keep your answer, the more interested I will be.

Where are you from?

I expect you to say the name of the city, area, or state where you are currently signing. I will act somewhat disappointed if you do not.

Are you related to Jeffery Deaver? (usually followed by chuckles)

Your name sounds familiar, and I want you to notice how clever I am.

Who’s your publisher?
Have you ever collaborated on a book project?

I am not buying your book, but would like information about how I can publish one of my own.

Is this your first?

Why haven’t I heard of you? Here you are, sitting in this bookstore with a table, a banner with your name on it and a stack of books…what gives? You look like you’re 22.

(For the record, I‘m 35. I seem to get the age question a lot, though.)

Where are you staying tonight?


I’m still trying to figure this last one out…asked of me by a guy in Omaha who, if memory serves, bought several horror DVDs rather than my book. Feel free to provide your own interpretation...

- Jeff