Many of us have been thinking about the Beatles lately, due mostly to the fact that we’ve recently marked what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday. Sadly, we will soon need to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of his tragic death.
However, in addition to celebrating the Beatles unparalleled career by listening to their music, or by watching their films, concerts, and TV appearances, you may want to consider reading a work of fiction in which the Beatles play an enormous part, even if they remain in the background.
I co-wrote the comic novel From Me To You with Kelly Marie Thompson, who lives in England. We’ve been writing comedy scripts and screenplays together (via e-mails) since 2011. In 2013. we wrote six episodes of a sitcom we created, Barkers Upon Tyne, and published the scripts in book form (the pilot episode finished in the Top Ten of Writer’s Digest 85th Annal Script Writing Competition in 2016).
We wrote From Me To You out of our shared love of the Beatles, but also because we had been searching for an idea that would allow us to write a story that can logically take place in both the America and England. Beware that the book is not “fan fiction.” When we first began planning what kind of story we wanted to tell, and how we wanted to tell it, we agreed that we wouldn’t use the corny (and rarely successful) technique of having the real-life Beatles actually interact with our fictional characters. Instead, the Beatles remain in the background, but are nonetheless a strong presence throughout the story.
The story opens in the summer of 1963, when we first meet Ricky Kramer (in New Jersey) and Maggie Carter (in Liverpool), who have been sharing their enthusiasm for the Beatles. Maggie has regaled Richy with her stories of seeing the group perform often at the Cavern club, and has sent him the Beatles’ early records, giving him a jump on the rest of America, before the Fab Four’s invasion.
Their friendship begins to blossom into something deeper than a typical correspondence. Even their friends, on opposite sides of the Atlantic, sense that the two are truly kindred spirits, perhaps even soul mates. But can Ricky and Maggie’s relationship grow when they are separated by such a vast distance? Would things change if they were to meet face-to-face? These and other questions are asked and answered over the course of the story.
As for the Beatles’ presence in the story, we follow Ricky and his friends await their arrival at Idlewild (later Kennedy) Airport, watch the group on The Ed Sullivan Show, going to Beatles concerts in New York, and more. Likewise, Maggie and her friends in Liverpool experience watching the Fab Four perform in the legendary Cavern (more than 30 times) and elsewhere in the Liverpool area.
The end product is a lighthearted coming-of-age tale, placed against the backdrop of Beatlemania, as the story poses the question of whether a friendship between two pen pals. living on separate continents, can lead to something much, much more.
Whether you were a teenage Beatles fan in the ’60s, or discovered their brilliance years later, you will likely recognize yourself in Ricky, Maggie, and their friends, as they all get swept up in Beatlemania, make tentative steps in the dating world, begin their first jobs, and eventually enter the “real world” — still with their uwavering love of the Beatles — all while learning a few of life’s lessons along the way.
We hope you might obtain a copy of our story and enjoy it as much as we enjoyed writing it. It’s available on Amazon.com. You can learn more about our other works at PenPal Books on Facebook, and at www.GarryBerman.com.
Until next time…