Saturday, February 18, 2017

Here's Your Sign

In my career, my feelings regarding success are...

I feel I must succeed at any cost and am willing to do anything to achieve it.

As long as the check doesn't bounce, I'm cool. To me, work is just one aspect of life.

I would like to succeed but am not willing to sell my soul for it.

I feel I deserve success and will be successful in any endeavour.

I see my boss as...

Someone to work with and help me as long as she or he is not too domineering.

Someone to look up to. I like my boss and strive to be in his or her position.

Just another bloke. Bosses are a fact of life.

A bourgeois capitalist pig who will be the first one against the wall when the revolution comes. They will keep me down unless they respect my autonomy.

In my relationships with my coworkers, I feel...

They are important to me as a support for me and my work (as long as they do as I say).

They can help me polish an idea or project but can also drag down my work.

They are just another bunch of blokes. I enjoy my coworkers if they are not overly serious or stressful.

I like my coworkers as long as they don't try to dominate the workplace.

When picking a career, I look for...

Independence and a laidback atmosphere.

Stability in a company, financial gain, and a friendly environment.

A dynamic work environment with lots of opportunity for advancement.

A job that allows me a certain degree of freedom, autonomy, and the ability to express myself.

During my lunch hour, I...

Am out at a restaurant having nachos and a beer.

Am working on my personal projects like art, music, and writing.

Am using the time to pick up my dry cleaning or working ahead.

Am the center of the conversation in the lunch room.

I arrive at work...

Early, but leave early.

Early and stay late.

Late, but stay late.

Whenever I arrive is on time.

Things I have stolen from work include...

My coworker's client list but not physical items.

Laptops, light bulbs, copper wire from the wall, anything that's not bolted down.

Drinks on the expense report and paper clips.

Only big items I know I can get away with.

My obligation toward work is...

I need my job for money, but my real obligation is to myself.

I want to have the reputation as doing my best, but deep down I don't care.

I feel obligated to do my best and succeed.

I do my work so I deserve to get paid.

When I quit a job, I...

Leave well liked and on good terms.

Send around a goodbye e-mail thanking everyone.

Burn my bridges and tell everyone to piss off.

Quietly walk away, but fantasize about burning the place down.

When I go on vacation...

I check in occasionally, but prefer not to.

I never check my messages or e-mail. Whatever it is can wait.

I try not to check in but can't help thinking about work.

I am in constant contact and check messages daily.

In a lover or spouse, I look for...

Someone who supports and adores me.

A true partner, someone who challenges me.

A loving, easygoing partner.

Fun, love, and sex.

Dating is...

A fun way to meet people and possibly get some action.

A pain in the neck.

An opportunity for me to be charming and adored.

A huge waste of time. We should cut right to a stiflingly codependent relationship.

In a long-term relationship, I tend to be...

Codependent at the expense of my other relationships.

Stable and avoid relationship drama.

Committed but not overly analytical about my feelings.

The dominant partner and the center of attention. We do what I want.

After a breakup, I...

Am also hurt and have a period of quiet reflection.

Am hurt (especially my ego) and wonder why someone would give me up.

Am emotionally crushed and often drunkenly call my ex.

Realize it wasn't meant to be and recover quickly.

During sex, I am...

A top.

A bottom.

A top, bottom, or side.

Tied to the bedpost.

On a first date...

I find myself in Vegas getting married by Elvis. I quickly think he or she is "the one."

I read him or her some of my poetry, and I am very open about my feelings. I, too, quickly think he or she is "the one."

I just want to go out and have a good time.

I try to be myself but have trouble showing my true personality.

When I propose marriage...

It's going to be a grand gesture such as on the Dodgers' scoreboard or while we're sky-diving.

It will be because we can't stand it anymore and must be together. My proposal will be hopelessly romantic and memorable.

It's either because I knocked her up or am on hard drugs.

I have thought about the ramifications and realize I truly want it.

I view sex as...

A way to express myself and the spiritual union with my partner.

An intimate expression of love and a way to get me rocks off.

A way to achieve love and affirmation.

A fun way to relax and feel good.

My thoughts on infidelity are...

I'm not willing to cheat because I don't want to be viewed as that sort of person.

It's easier to be monogamous than cheat on my lover. I like to keep my love life simple.

If I believe in the relationship, I will be monogamous. But if I don't truly care, I'm willing to cheat.

If it feels good, do it.

Complete this sentence: I hate ______, I love ______.

War, strong women.

Ex-girlfriends, new girlfriends.

Egomaniacal jerks, deep breathing.

Myself, myself.

When it comes to raising children...

I can be a terrible or amazing parent. If the circumstances are right, I will be a dedicated and loving mom or dad but if I'm forced into parenthood, I can also be distant.

Kids are a fun, important aspect of my life. They should not, however, interfere too much with my marriage and other pursuits.

I will love my kids, if I choose to have them. I am likely to see my children as friends when they grow a little older.

I just love kids and am or will be a dedicated mother or father.

Family is important to me because...

They bring me joy.

They are friends and people who share my interests and beliefs.

I love my family deeply and they support me.

They are the only people I can trust and count on in life.

Which describes your role in your family?

I am just one member of the family. We share decisions and responsibilities.

I'm head of the family. I often plan activities, vacations, and family rules.

I'm just here for the beer. I'm happy to let others worry about the Thanksgiving centerpiece or yell at the kids for not washing their hands.

Deep down I feel I'm the head of the family, but if people want to take intiative, that's fine by me.

When I was growing up, my mother and father were...

Supportive and loving. I got very lucky.

Worried about me. We didn't always get along.

Very giving. They gave me a great deal of freedom.

They weren't perfect, but my parents did the best they could and I don't blame them for much.

An ideal family vacation is...

A romantic get-away with just me and the old lady (or man).

Lying on a beach in the Caribbean.

Travelling all together, possibly in an RV or boat.

Seeing nature or culturally significant places.

Do you owe a debt to society?

Anyone as talented and brilliant as me owes a debt to society.

I'm lucky to be literate, fed, and employed. Life could be a lot worse.

I don't owe the world anything. Life is inherently unfair.

I didn't know I borrowed any money. Honestly, I don't give it a great deal of thought. In the words of that famous philosopher, "I am what I am."

Is stealing ever justifiable?

Stealing is wrong. It hurts others.

I wouldn't steal; I'd just ask for it if I could. Stealing is a last resort.

Stealing isn't 100% wrong. If you have to steal formula for a hungry baby, that doesn't make you a bad person.

Sure. I nick things all the time. Wal-Mart isn't going to miss a few XBox games.

You've arrested a suspected terrorist. He may be aware of when and where a terrorist attack will occur but will only reveal the truth through painful torture. Would you torture him?

If he's only a suspected terrorist, he might also just be an innocent person. How can I be sure he really knows something about an imminent attack? I'm just not 100% sure.

Yes. First of all, he's a terrorist and deserves to be tortured. Second, by torturing him, I will get information that can save lives. Not doing so would mean the death of others.

Yes. It might secretly be enjoyable.

Couldn't somebody else, like Jack Bauer, do this?

Is there such a thing as right and wrong?

Who knows? These ethical questions are annoyingly pretentious.

I'm not sure. I believe in right and wrong, but I'm not sure they are absolutes.

They are subjective. Time, culture, and experience play an important role in determining these ideas.

There is an objective right and wrong. For instance, it is wrong to commit murder or rape.

Is it ever acceptable to lie?

Since I often speak off the cuff, I rarely tell little white lies.

I try not to lie, but sometimes it's unavoidable. Little white lies are okay.

I lie all the time. Lying can save other people's feelings and my butt.

Omission isn't technically lying. I'll lie to save people's feelings and cover my ass at work.

Do you believe in God?

I believe in God and am confident He exists.

If there is a God, He (or She) is more of a higher power or a set of moral truths.

I'm not honestly sure. Part of me hopes there is a God, but I'm not positive.

There is no God. Religion is just opium for the masses.

What is God like?

God is whatever you want him to be.

God is very much human. He is imperfect but also has positive traits such as humour.

God is more of a force or idea. I don't see God as a literal person.

I see God as a stoic person who created us in His own image. He is upset when we sin.

Complete this sentence: I am ______ spiritual ______ religious.

Am spiritual but not religious.

Am both spiritual and religious.

Am somewhat spiritual and somewhat religious.

Am neither spiritual nor religious.

As a kid, I saw church as...

An annoying waste of time my parents dragged me to.

I made it fun, whether through friends or having my own good time.

A fun time. I have many positive memories of church.

A mixed memory. I enjoyed the social aspect of church but couldn't buy into all of its rules and rituals.

Do pets go to heaven?

If there is a heaven, absolutely.

Yes or they are reborn.

No, animals don't have souls like humans.

Little Fluffy might not get into heaven?

How are you with money?

I'm very good with money. I am rarely broke.

I'm pretty good with money, but I can also justify unnecessary purchases.

I'm good with money, but there are times it just seems to fly out of my pocket.

I like to spend money and sometimes it gets me into trouble.

At the end of the month...

There's a good chance I'll come out a bit short.

I can tell you how much I will have left almost to the penny.

I don't keep track of my finances too closely, but I know I will come out ahead most months.

I'm okay because I tend to have a nice reserve.

What do you spend on your vacations?

I like to relax and feel very comfortable on my vacations. I travel in style which doesn't come cheap.

Since I live frugally, I can afford most reasonable vacations.

I tend to spend a bit too much on my holidays, but I am willing to stay in a cheap motel if it gets me where I want to be.

Senor Frog's has my photo up behind the bar.

If you won the lottery, you would...

Never work my crappy job again. See ya, suckers!

Use the money to make myself financially secure even if it meant not changing my lifestyle for the better

Enjoy some of the money. I deserve a really nice car and house.


How much did you spend on your last car?

It's just a car. I got the best I could afford.

I love nice things so I bought a nice car. It might have been a bit out of my budget.

I bought an inexpensive, yet environmentally friendly car.

I budgeted for my car and am happy with my purchase.

What kind of setting makes you the most comfortable?

A group of friends and other people who think I am clever. In work, I prefer to go it alone or with a partner.

Large gatherings and parties. In work, I prefer places with a certain amount of regimentation.

I try to avoid party settings and prefer intimate gatherings. In work, I prefer to work alone.

Parties are good, but so are small groups. At work, I enjoy being part of a team, especially if they appreciate me.

Who do you turn to in time of need?

Only a couple of very trusted people. I don't trust everyone with all the details of my life. I often compartmentalize people for different things.

I turn to my very trusted friends. I don't feel they will judge me.

No one at all. Maybe a trusted mother figure.

Everyone. Friends, parents, coworkers.

What genre of books do you enjoy?

Romance novels, photography books, young adult novels. I'm not a huge reader.

Fiction and nonfiction on topics that interest me.

Nonfiction, spirituality. I enjoy reading about people and the human condition.

Mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, and anything that is enjoyable. I don't read books to make myself look cool.

How politically aware are you?

I like candidates like Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul (depending on political tastes). I focus more on causes like the environment, abortion, and war.

I'm not overly political. I'm aware of major candidates and elections but might have a hard time quoting policy.

Sometimes I vote, sometimes I forget. I'm more interested in local politics.

I have a strong interest in politics but have a pragmatic attitude towards candidates. There's just no way a half-literate actor could become president (oh, wait).

If you were to commit suicide...

I would never commit suicide. I just couldn't do it.

I would have to do it in a painless way.

I'd only do it to save my children or if I were terminally ill.

I'd take everyone with me first.

John: {{John}}%
Paul: {{Paul}}%
George: {{George}}%
Ringo: {{Ringo}}%

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Taiwan Beatles

Apparently this is a thing that happened once upon a time:

It would appear that the lads' faces have been deliberately drawn to look more Asian, except that Ringo has no eyebrows, and John just looks completely baked.

For the vinyl hunters out there, this is on the Haishan label, category number HS-251. Discogs has the low-down, but I have yet to find a copy for sale. Perhaps that's for the best. I'm pretty sure this cover is capable of inducing scream-yourself-awake nightmares.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Day in the Life - is that John or Paul?

Just after Paul's "middle bit" contribution to "A Day in the Life," there are a few bars of ethereal (by which I mean "smothered in echo") vocal, singing "aaaahhhh."

Everyone knows that's John singing that bit, right? It's got his signature thin and nasally sound in the higher register.

Geoff Emerick, recording engineer on Sgt. Pepper, even confirms that John sang that part:

"Paul’s vocal, for example, was being dropped into the same track that contained John’s lead vocal, and there was a very tight drop-out point between the two—between Paul’s singing “…and I went into a dream” and John’s “ahhh” that starts the next section." (Geoff Emerick, Here, There, and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles)

Of course, Emerick may be misremembering this particular detail. It was a long time ago, after all, and goodness knows that particular song had enough tinkering and tweaking to confuse anyone as to who did what, where, when, and on which track/take.

To the contrary, John C. Winn says it was Paul who did those vocals. In his entry for the studio session on February 3, 1967, he writes:

"During this session, Paul and Ringo erased their bass and drums on track 3 of “A Day in the Life” with a new performance, Ringo’s austere drumming being especially inventive. Paul then corrected his vocal blunder by taping a new vocal on track 2, also adding some soaring “aahs” over the circle-of-fifths segment that linked back to the final verse." (John C. Winn, That Magic Feeling: The Beatles' Recorded Legacy, Volume Two, 1966-1970)

Anyway, this is all just a set-up to get you to listen to some audio clips. Paul had (and probably still has, to some degree) an amazing chameleon voice. He could imitate Little Richard on songs like "Long Tall Sally," go for a more Elvis-like vibe on songs like "Lady Madonna," and it's hard to believe the same person is singing "Monkberry Moon Delight," "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five," and "Getting Closer."

One of the things he could do with his voice is make it very thin, nasally, and almost raspy - just like John's voice. He does this several times during the song "One of These Days" on the album McCartney II, so just for the fun of it, I've excerpted a clip from that song and stuck it side-by-side with the vocal track from "A Day in the Life."

Just something fun to chew on ...

Click here to listen to the track.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

When mono was the thing

As I'm only recently discovering, there's a rather large difference between The Beatles' albums as released in stereo and the albums as released in mono. The more I read, the more I'm finding out that the mono versions of several of those albums (Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper especially) are more like "authentic Beatles canon" than their stereo version counterparts.

Here's a quick quote from George Harrison (from the Anthology bonus disc) that I found interesting:

"When they invented stereo, I remember thinking 'Why? What do you want two speakers for?', because it ruined the sound from our point of view. You know, we had everything coming out of one speaker; now it had to come out of two speakers. It sounded like ... very ... naked."

Check out this post at The Beatles Rarity for even more information: "... until 1968, The Beatles placed much more importance on the mono mixes of their recordings, not only because that's what they were most used to and what sound they often preferred, but also because they knew that's what most people were going to hear."

Monday, February 16, 2015

Intelligent, but not smart

"... the melody [of "Love You To"] is sourly repetitious in its author's usual saturnine vein ..." (Ian MacDonald, Revolution in the Head)

This is why I hardly ever read Ian MacDonald.

Friday, September 9, 2011

She Said So: An Interview with Jude Southerland Kessler

Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of Shoulda Been There and Shivering Inside, the first two of a multi-volume set of "historical novels" on the life of John Lennon. But don't let the "novel" label turn you in the wrong direction: each volume features hundreds upon hundreds of documented footnotes, and each chapter ends with a fascinating series of notes that indicate which parts of the chapter are historical fact, and which parts (such as the conversational bits) are speculation. Other reviewers of these books have likened the experience to becoming a "fly on the wall" in John Lennon's life, being able to watch each event unfold with the kind of color and real-life detail that strictly academic biographies don't even attempt to include.

I caught up with Jude at least year's Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago, and she cheerfully agreed to do an interview with me. Finally, after much delaying and delinquency on my part, Jude and I were able to chit-chat about Shoulda Been There, Shivering Inside, and her upcoming third volume in the series, She Loves You.

First of all, congratulations on the first two novels in this series, Shoulda Been There and Shivering Inside - it's absolutely fantastic work. I'm sure all the fans of your work are wondering: when is the next book (She Loves You) going to be ready, and when can we get our hands on it?

Thank you! She Loves You will be out for John's birthday (9 October) 2013.

I've had quite a few "interruptions" in the writing process this year since we've moved TWICE (from Alabama to Dallas, TX and then on to Louisiana three months later). Furthermore, my husband just had his fourth heart surgery in the last 18 months just a few weeks ago. Very scary!

Like thousands of other Americans, we faced unemployment during 2010-2011 and the incredible stress that it generates. But now, we have a new job, are all settled in our new home in Louisiana, and Rande's new heart is working amazingly well; he's even running four miles every other night. So, I'm writing like a madwoman!

The first book, Shoulda Been There, covers the period of time from John's birth until The Beatles bring Brian Epstein on as manager. The second book, Shivering Inside, covers the "blossoming" of Beatlemania in Britain, right up to the birth of Julian Lennon. What events are being covered in the new book, She Loves You?

She Loves You is "the conquest of America." It opens on the Spanish Riviera, with Brian and John's holiday together, and it will conclude at the end of 1965. (So many memorable dates and song compositions fill that time frame!) It's the era that readers remember most fondly -- Beatlemania!

Besides the obvious events like the Ed Sullivan Show and the Royal Command Performance, there are other lesser-known events in the book (like The Beatles shows in Wales, for example). Larry Kane has been so kind to agree to write the Foreword for the book, and he will be working closely with me on details for The American Tour. And Richard Langham is graciously helping me again with details for the recording sessions. I've also been in touch with John C. Winn whose amazing transcripts of the recording sessions are so, so, so important to the text. (His book, Way Beyond Compare, is great!) I'm blessed to have a fantastic group of experts working on the project.

I'm glad you mentioned Richard Langham and the recording sessions, because I wanted to ask you something about Shivering Inside. You've written an absolutely gripping chapter in that book that covers, in great detail, the day-long session in which "the lads" recorded Please Please Me. (It was almost like being in the studio with them!)

But you seem to indicate, especially with songs like "Baby, It's You," that John was writing and singing his songs with Julia in mind. In fact, you say the same thing, essentially, in Shoulda Been There when you describe John writing "There's A Place."

I'm interested to hear you elaborate a little more on this idea. Do you think John ever just wrote love songs for "the bairds," for Cynthia, for Yoko, etc.? Or do you see Julia as always there, even if it's just in the subconscious background?

There are definitely some songs for Cynthia - "Do You Want to Know a Secret" for example, which was penned in the Falkner Street apartment that Brian had "given" John and Cyn as a wedding gift. It had been Brian's secret place for romantic trysts, and now John's secret wife, Cyn, was there with him. The song was for his bride. Some people have suggested that "Norwegian Wood" was written for Sonny Freeman or even for Maureen Cleave. Of course, we all know the origin of "Sexy Sadie" and "Dear Prudence." Those are obviously not for Julia. And admittedly, some of John's songs were dashed off -- commercially manufactured. But the bulk of John's songs are about Julia and for Julia.

He doesn't try to hide this fact. In the song, "Julia," he says, "Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it just to reach you, Julia." So there.

But if a listener doesn't want to take John's word for it, look at the lyrics to some of his best known songs:

"Here I stand, head in hand,
Turn my face to the wall ...
If she's gone, I can't go on,
Feeling two foot small.

Everywhere people stare,
Each and every day,
I can see them laugh at me
And I hear them say,

"Hey! You've got to hide your love away!"

Remember the true-life episode that occurred when John went back to Liverpool College of Art only a month after his mother had been killed by that drunk driver? (This can be found in Shoulda Been There, Vol. 1 of the Lennon series.) A girl yelled at John across the registration room, "Hey John? It was your mother who was killed wasn't it?" Isn't that exactly what John is singing about? His pain, his loss, and the burden of acting normal in a callous world? The song is so autobiographical. A great portion of John's songs are.

Look at the lyrics of "I'll Get You" and "I'll Cry Instead" and "There's a Place." All for Julia. And of course, even more obvious are the words to "I'm A Loser" and "Help."

Even John's selection of cover songs reveals his life's story. In one version of "You Really Got a Hold on Me," he ends the song by saying, "You really got a hold on me, Mother." And as you mentioned, "Baby, It's You" is his homage to the woman that Mimi disparaged, but John always desperately loved. Listen to his cover songs on Live at the BBC and you'll hear John's angst. John is telling you who he is ... he never tried to pretend that he was someone else. And Julia IS always there beside him -- albeit at times, in the background.

I wrote in Shivering Inside: "Julia was the girl in every song." Okay, maybe not EVERY song, but damn close.

I was recently reading Jim O'Donnell's book, The Day John Met Paul, and I noticed that he kind of does what you're doing in your books, in terms of gluing together historical facts with some "controlled speculation" to flesh it all out - was O'Donnell any kind of influence or inspiration for you? Or - if not O'Donnell - what was it that inspired you to write a historical novel of this nature?

Spot on! The Day John Met Paul is my single favorite Beatles volume. O'Donnell is, in fact, the only author to whom I've ever written. After reading Jim's work, I wrote him to say that more than any writer out there, he feels and loves Liverpool as I do. He breathes Liverpool. He understands the city and its culture.

Amazingly, a few weeks later, Mr. O'Donnell found me and rang me up. I was working as a YMCA Executive in Kansas City at that time and missed his call. But my teenage son excitedly hunted me down at work and said, "Mom, some New York Beatles author wants to talk to you!! He's calling you again tonight! He wants to know about your book!"

That night, Jim O'Donnell spent over an hour with me on the phone, encouraging me to finish Shoulda Been There, to self-publish the work, and to use my speaking abilities to sell, sell, sell! Because of that phone call, I self-published (with the guidance, help, and tireless efforts of my husband, Rande), and Rande and I took it upon ourselves to publicize and sell the book at conventions, clubs, fests, and any venue possible. (Of course, I must admit I have the best Publicity Agent in the world, Jenn Vanderslice of Moonglow PR!!!!!! She does an incredible amount of work on both books. She's amazing!) And after the book came out, I received several e-mails from Jim O'Donnell, congratulating me and cheering me on.

My earliest inspiration, however, was Irving Stone. As a teenager, I was addicted to his very accurate and painstakingly-researched biographical novels: The Agony and The Ecstasy (Michelangelo's biography), Lust for Life (Van Gogh's), Those Who Love (John Adams), Passions of the Mind (Sigmund Freud), Love is Eternal (Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln), and others. I read every one of Stone's books, marveled at his extensive research. In high school, I made a vow to write a book just like that someday.

As an adult, I was reading Stone's The Origin (biographical novel on the life of Charles Darwin) when I decided that the time was right to write John Lennon's story using that same format. If 900 pages could be written about Charles Darwin's life of fossils, rocks, and scientific discovery, then how much more would people love a book about John Lennon? I knew it would be a thrilling biography.

One of the things I most enjoy about your books is that, where you've written the "conjectural conversation" bits - the dialogue between, say, John and Mimi, or John and Paul, etc. - you've really captured John's "voice" and personality in a remarkably authentic way. It's very believable, and I don't think the reader ever finds himself thinking, "Oh, John would never say that," or "John wouldn't think that way." I'm curious: how did you manage to get so far inside John's head that you're able to reproduce his voice so well? Or, put another way, when you have to write a bit of dialogue, how do you prepare to speak for John?

Well, John has been part of my life since I was 9 years old. Hardly a day has gone by in 40 years when I haven't listened to John speak or sing ... or watched him on a video. I make this a part of every day -- on purpose.

I have lists of all of John's expressions (garnered from periodicals, tapes, DVD's, interview CD's, etc.), lists of his mannerisms, facial gestures, and reactions to various stimuli. Every time there's a spare moment, I watch John and record what I see. When I'm driving my car, his interview CD's are playing.

I've also read all of his books (including Skywriting by Word of Mouth) over and over again and been very privileged to read many of his letters that aren't available to the general public. I have a computer file full of "John Quotes" to use, gleaned from those books and letters.

Confession time: I'm also a Beatles book junkie. Over 500 books about John fill my Beatles collection ... and I don't just collect them: I read every word, underline, make notes, find discrepancies ... and research John constantly.

I also do the same for Brian, George Martin, and the other Beatles. Right now, for example, there's a sheet next to me with notes that reads:

Use for Brian

I must say ...
I rather think ...
I don't suppose ...
Would you be so kind as to ...

These are expressions I've observed Brian using in old VHS tapes and on DVDs. I record the actions, expressions, etc. of everyone connected to The Beatles.

Yes, yes, yes ... obsessive! So true.

In order to make you feel as if you are there, as if you KNOW each of the people in a chapter, I have to study them and recreate them accurately. I can't "make up" things about them, or I'd be creating a fictional character. I have to present to the reader the real person, the actual John or Paul or George. It's a serious obligation, because these are real people who lived (and are living) real lives. I must be true to who they were and are. It's a serious responsibility.

As I read your books, another major feature - a major selling point, I should say - is the way you juggle and hold together in respectful tension those places in the story where there are historical discrepancies.

So, for example, there are all sorts of stories about Stuart Sutcliffe being attacked by a gang of street-toughs, and questions about when it happened or how much John was involved, etc. Or, there are discrepancies in the record as to whether or not the Beatles really got booted from the Indra club because of an old lady's complaint about the noise level. In your narrative, you manage to pull off the impossible task of telling the story while somehow leaving room for all of the competing "facts" to find a place.

You mentioned earlier that She Loves You begins on the Spanish Riviera, so, of course, the big question is this: how are you going to recreate the most conflicted and volatile story of them all, the famous "John-and-Brian on vacation in Spain" story? I don't expect you to show all of your cards here, but perhaps just a general trajectory - are you going to skirt the story somewhat, face it head-on, side with one version or another, try to blend all the stories together in a way that they all make sense?

Okay ... I can't tell you. But I will tell you this. I struggled and struggled with a way to present all 18 completely different versions of what happened on the Riviera. I'm used to there being two or three different versions of one event ... but 18? C'mon!!

I worried that there would be no way to tell the story without wandering into fiction or speculation, and it is my responsibility to tell the absolute truth when presenting John's life story. I really lost sleep over a way to rectify the divergent accounts.

Then one afternoon in Dallas, TX, I went out for my daily run (I try to do at least 3.5 miles each day) and as is my custom when I run, I was praying. During the last mile, Wham! The solution hit me! I ran home, ran up to The Beatles room, stood perspiring at my computer, and typed the last two or three pages of the chapter before I forgot what I wanted to say. And it's the truth. And it works.

Right now, I'm writing the chapter in which John batters Bob Wooler at Paul's 21st birthday party, and a similar situation exists. The stories are all over the board concerning what happened that night. Rumors, lies, and outright lies ... cover-ups and milquetoast accounts. It's hard to find the truth in the mire.

I'm running and praying again tonight. The answer is bigger than I. "Gimme some truth!"

This might be more of a "PR and Marketing" question, but - so far, anyway - all of your book titles in this series begin with the letters "Sh" - Shoulda Been There, Shivering Inside, She Loves You. I'm assuming that's deliberate and that you intend to stick with the pattern for the remaining books. Should we expect to see titles like Shoulda Known Better, She Said She Said, and, perhaps Sheepdog Standing?

You got it!! Each cover will be a brown tone ... and each will include a work of art (HINT: something BIG is about to be announced about this in the next month ... stay tuned for thrilling news!) depicting John looking at the reader ... and each title will be a "Sh" title. She Said, She Said is Vol. 4 and Shoulda Known Better is Vol. 5. The final volume will be, of course, Shine On.

That's great to hear, and we'll certainly be looking forward to reading each and every one of those upcoming volumes. Thank you so much for your time, Jude, it's been a pleasure!

Thank you so much for interviewing me! I'm honored. I hope this affords a glimpse into the writing process. Now ... back to work for me! She Loves You beckons.

(My website is On the Rock Books for your readers who'd like to sample a chapter and who'd like to order "the bloomin' bookes"! As we say in Liddypool, TA!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Three Beatle Responses

I always enjoy little "snippets" like these, which highlight the various different Beatle Personality Types (covered in detail in the book Beatleology). The clips below are taken from Anthology, and capture the reactions of Paul, George, and Ringo on the subject of being awarded the MBE.

First, the Paul response, the "Ram," the personality type most likely to take the award - any award - seriously. Notice also that he takes it upon himself to make his opinion the group opinion, setting himself up as the spokesperson for the collective:

Next, the George response, the "Dark Horse," the one most likely to be a bit more "realistic" about the whole thing, and to come off as more-or-less cynical and jaded in the exchange:

Finally, the Ringo response, the "Octopus," the one most given to hedonism and fun and partying and soaking up the "good time" of it all:

Enough said?