|Sara with author, Jude Southerland-Kessler at the Chicago Fest 2014|
So far there are three books in the series, Should've Been there, Shivering Inside and She loves you. And when it is all said and done, there will be 7 books total that chronicle the life of John Lennon from his birth until his death. I am almost finished reading She loves you (on the last chapter and will finish it up tonight) and it focuses on 1963-the Beatles first U.S. visit in 1964.
I am going to be honest with all of you. I first heard about these books at a Beatlefest quite a few years ago. And I recall hearing about them and saying, "Oh, that's nice....but I don't read fan fiction. I like to stick to nonfiction books." And I totally dismissed them. And I don't like to read a whole lot of fiction and fan fiction, especially is not for me. But my Beatle friends, I am here to tell you that these books are NOT FICTION! I know a lot of people online claim that they are. I am a reading teacher. I have a master's degree in reading and I teach genre every day. If I had to pigeon-hole these books into a category, I guess I would have to label them historical fiction, but even that isn't right because they are really in a genre all of their own and I will tell you why.
Jude Southerland-Kessler has spend years of her life researching, interviewing people and traveling to Liverpool to tell the most truthful story of the life of John Lennon as she can. The book is written as a novel, however the facts in the book are completely true. Almost all of the quotes and conversations come directly from words that were spoken in interviews or written in letters. So she did not make up the story of John Lennon's life, instead she researched it in the same way that Mark Lewisohn does his research and instead of telling it like a biography, she tells it like a novel. Her books are well-written and entertaining. You can tell just by reading the books that the author isn't someone who just has a passing interest in John. And when you meet Jude in person, you will quickly see that her love for John is real. I think the fact that I am also a big John fan is why I enjoy these books. I am not sure if I would like them if they were written about Paul; however my mom (the world's greatest Ringo fan) also reads the books and she really enjoys them. She has said that she doesn't care to read biographies and likes the way that the John Lennon series is read like a novel instead.
Personally, I have to be in the right mood to read one of these books. It isn't a quick read and you have to set aside some time to read it. The books are HUGE (in the name of 800 pages) and so they are not easy to take with you on a long trip. They are, however all available on kindle editions, which makes things easier for travel.
If you ever get an opportunity to hear Jude give a presentation, do not pass it by! Jude is a very engaging speaker and she just pulls you right into the story. If she is talking about John Lennon in Liverpool, she paints a picture with her words that take you right down the middle of Mathew Street, or if she is talking about the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, then you want to start screaming along because you think you are there.
|Jude gives a multi-media presentation at the Fest in Chicago in 2013|
Jude also has a podcast call-in radio show every week (usually on Thursday nights, but occasionally on Tuesdays). She talks to a sorts of Beatle authors, D.J.'s and important folks. And you can call in and ask questions (something I do a little too often!). Sometimes there are even give aways to win. The John lennon Hour is archived, so you can go back and listen to past shows. click here to listen!
If you are interested in ordering the books, I would recommend Jude's website, Please click here for more!