One of the great things about Get Reading! is that I’ve had a fantastic chance to meet authors from other states I haven’t crossed paths with before – one of those authors is the fantastically entertaining Gabrielle Williams, who I sat down with while in Melbourne to talk about all things Beatle Meets Destiny.
Okay, first up, you used to work in advertising, so, what better way to start this interview than with a sales pitch – “sell” Beatle Meets Destiny to our readers.
Ugh! Selling my own book makes me feel very uncomfortable. If I talk it up, it sounds like I’m being boastful, but if I talk it down no-one will want to read it!
How about if I just say I think it’s awesome?
Well… it’s awesome, and it is in the running for some big awards…
True. It’s been short-listed for the Prime Ministers Literary Awards and the Victorian Premiers Literary Awards, as well as being included in the “Get Reading! 50 books you can’t put down”. It was also a Notable Book in the Children’s Book Council awards (not short-listed, but still!).
It’s still a big deal.. Now, why name your character John Lennon? You a big Beatles fan?
I thought it would be quite funny and burdensome if you had a famous person’s name: it seemed to say alot about your parents and also open up lots of opportunities for comedy. I don’t think any other band would have worked for my story quite as well as The Beatles. The only comparable band would perhaps be the Rolling Stones, but to have a main character called Mick Jagger seems to stretch the boundaries of believability for some reason, whereas to have a main character called John Lennon seems kind of normal with only a twinge of weirdness. I think characters’ names are so important when you’re writing a book, I can get quite hung up on it until I find exactly the right name for each of them. Then, when I find the name, I seem to find my story as well.
I loved the randomtwin interviews that pop up every so often during the course of the novel . Where did that idea come from?
I’m not sure. I just liked the idea of throwing in these random stories, and then at the end of the book when the reader has decided all these twin stories have no relevance whatsoever, you find out exactly how they all fit in to the story. I also quite liked the idea of throwing in random stories – almost like ad breaks in a tv show – to break the rhythm and surprise the reader a little.
The final major scenes (at Destiny’s house) had lots of characters and plot-lines all converging at once. How difficult was it to write? Did you always envision everything exploding at once?
The final major scenes did take a while to write. I wrote version after version, with my editor screaming out ‘more chaos more chaos’ after each edit until she was satisfied that it was well and truly calamitous. I wouldn’t have been half as cruel to Beatle as she made me! But I love that it all comes to a head, that so many people are there to witness his humiliation, and that there was no way around it but for him to tell Destiny the entire truth (even if he managed to lie to everyone else who was there).
Beatle Meets Destiny by Gabrielle Williams
A young adult novel that doesn’t quite go along the traditional boy-meets-girl lines. For one thing, Beatle never normally goes out on Friday the thirteenth, but this night is an exception, and how can he avoid talking to the attractive girl who is wearing sunglasses and reading a book while waiting for the tram? Not only is her name Destiny, but her surname is McCartney, and since his real name is John Lennon, and for a whole heap of other spooky reasons as well, it seems destined that they will be together. But Beatle already has a girlfriend. Not that he’s in any hurry to tell Destiny about her… Click here to read the first chapter.