Sunday, August 19, 2012

This Time Tomorrow, and how it began

I remember the moment when I changed from Little Girl to Big Girl. There I was, holding onto Barbie with one hand and a transistor radio with the other. (That’s what we listened to before iTunes, kids,) I was vaguely aware of these Beatle-fellows, and I knew they were from England. That was about it. “She Loves You” was on the Top Forty radio about every fifteen minutes. It was a catchy tune. I liked it. Then came that Sunday evening when instead of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color,” we switched over to a different channel for “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

There they were. John, Paul, George and Ringo. Clean, neat. Dressed in suits with skinny ties. Looking as if they were just as astonished as we were to see them on TV. The audience was filled with screaming girls about my age. Screaming, did I say? That’s an understatement. Sobbing, tearing hair out, fainting. I can’t say that I went quite that far, but I’ll admit to some squees of delight. 

From that night on, it was a steady stream that became known as The British Invasion. The Dave Clark Five. Gerry and the Pacemakers. Freddie and the Dreamers, The Who, The Zombies. 

 And those bad, bad boys....The Rolling Stones.

But my love for the Fab Four never wavered. Even as I write this, nearly fifty years later. (Can that possibly be right? FIFTY??) I’m listening to Sirius XM radio’s Breakfast with the Beatles. 

I wanted everything to do with the Beatles. I rolled my hair on orange juice cans to make it as straight as Jane Asher’s. I begged my grandmother to make me dresses like the ones I saw in Seventeen magazine that came from Carnaby Street. And she loved me enough to do it. I learned all the words to all the songs, and I knew EXACTLY how many hours I had to baby-sit to buy the next Beatles album every time a new one came out. 

My dreams of actually meeting John (he was my favorite) never came true.  But that never stopped me. A romance writer knows how to create her own happy endings.

In 2007 I was working for a small press – proofreading, editing and writing – when they announced a writer’s contest.  Everyone had to start with the same premise: Our heroine enters a small cottage in England, walks through a garden gate and is thrust back in time to one of three eras. Most publishers don’t want “historical” stories as recent as the Twentieth Century, but this contest offered the “Vintage” period. That’s mid-twentieth century. So I asked myself, what was happening in England in the 1960s?

I can remember smiling as I thought about it. The entire story was born just that easily. As soon as I put my heroine into 1962, she had to run into the pioneers of that music era. It practically wrote itself. And I’ve never been able to say that about any other book that I’ve written. 

Alas, I did not win the contest. But the editors liked it enough to want to publish it anyway. Because I had not won the contest, I had to change the setting slightly. So I took her out of the cottage and put her in a castle. Instead of a garden gate, she goes through a heavy door. Who does she meet in 1962? What happens when they meet? How will she get back home again? 

Ah, you don’t want me to tell you that. It would ruin the story. But you can find out for just 99 cents.  Either here or here. Your choice. Hope you enjoy! 

Remember, all you need is love.