Augie’s Quick Post
Welcome to Augie’s Corner, today we will be talking with Sally Carpenter who is the author of “The Baffled Beatlemanic Caper.”
Augie: Thank you for taking the time to visit with us so early in the day. May I offer you an espresso or would you prefer tea?
Sally: Hot tea, please, Good Earth Sweet & Spicy blend. If you don’t have that, a Celestial Seasonings fruit blend.
Augie: I love Good Earth tea, usually I like to sit back and savor my coffee or tea, but today I’m so excited about your new book and its title, if you don’t mind can we get into what inspired you to use the name Beatlemanic? I love the title.
Sally: Thank you. I’ve heard that in many publishing houses, the editor chooses the title, or asks the author to submit a list of possible title and selects one. I came up with my title. My publisher said, “We’re sending a contract. What’s the name of your book?” and I told them.
Augie: I love that, smart publisher.
Sally: I used the word “Beatlemanic” so that when someone goes to Amazon.com or Google and searches for the word “Beatles,” my book title will come up.
Augie: Sally that is brilliant.
Sally: As for the rest of the title, it’s part of the series “brand.” My hero starred in a 1970s TV show called “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth.” In many TV shows, the episode names follow a pattern. In “The Wild, Wild West,” all the episodes were “Night of the So-and so.” In “The Man From UNCLE,” the shows were “The Such-and-Such Affair.” In “Buddy Brave,” all the episode titles have a two- or three-word alliteration and the word “caper.” To me, the word “caper” sounds like something fun and clever, which is what I strive for in writing.
Augie: I too love the term caper, its like using strange sounding words like jape, or frolic, cavort, okay I can do on and on. Hey, I remember Illya Kuryakin, I love him on NCIS, and of course Napoleon Solo (what a name).Sally, I don't believe in coincidence or perchance, but today’s MSN (on the Web) 10 Greatest Myth in Rock n Roll and the cover were the Beatles, hey lady you are hot…let me say congrats. Now let’s talk about your Beatlemanic, does it have to do with the term Beatle-Maniac Fever of the late 60’s, which was the British Invasion of groups, like the Beatles, Manfred Mann, Dave Clark Five etc.?
Sally: My book is set at a Beatles fan convention, and rabid fans are called “Beatlemaniacs.”
Augie: So cool. Tell us about your main character Sandy Fairfax, Teen Idol. Is he anything like Tommy Steel (First British Teen Idol), Elvis Presley, Brian Wilson (Beach Boys), with the glamour, fast cars and (fast) women?
Sally: Sandy’s contemporaries were the teen idols of the late 1970s—Donny Osmond, Shaun Cassidy, David Soul, Leif Garrett, Jackson Five and Bay City Rollers. Cassidy’s TV show “The Hardy Boys” ran at the same time as “Buddy Brave,” but “Buddy” always got higher ratings.
Augie: You make me smile.
Sally: Sandy lived the high life of wine, women and song, although teen idols had to be discreet with their partying. Teen idols had a public image to maintain and could not be seen acting as rowdy as rock stars.
Sally: Sandy smoked pot and tobacco, although he quit because the smoke hurt his voice and he did too many stupid things when he was high. But he drank heavily. The book begins when Sandy’s decided to quit drinking and straighten out his life and career.
Augie: Great start. I think readers like to know about a flaw, yet the overcoming is so much more powerful. I’m looking forward to reading (and living) the excitement of Sandy’s career and the 10,000 hysterical fans screaming their heads off.
Sally: The book takes place almost 20 years after Sandy’s heyday, but we do see glimpses of the hysteria in flashbacks, such as the time when Sandy was alone in a mall with a swarm of fans chasing him.
Augie: How frightening for Sandy, I sorta wish I were there. So, 20 years or so ago, there were so many teen magazines which featured teen idols, unlike today when there’s mainly Justin Bieber. Which magazine cover is Sandy Fairfax most remembered for, Teen Beat, Tiger Beat etc.?
Sally: All of them. A person can track an idol’s career through the teen magazines. When his career starts off, his photo is small and in the corner of the cover. The photo increases with the idol’s popularity until it takes up most of the cover, and then starts to shrink. The idol’s career is over when his photo stops appearing on the magazine covers.
Augie: Yep, that can make you or break you, but then the idols are at fault at times too, yet we as fans still remember. In creating Sandy was there much research involved? If so, who were the Teen Idols that inspired this novel?
Sally: Sandy was inspired by The Monkees. They had a highly successful reunion tour in 1986 for the 20th anniversary of their TV show. The Monkees were in their early 40s at that time and quite handsome. Their fans were older but just as crazy. This is the time period I wanted for my character, an idol in his late 30s who’s been forgotten for years but ready for a comeback.
Augie: Sally thanks for the memory.
Sally: I used extensive research. I wanted to make the character as realistic as possible. I read autobiographies of Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy and Donny Osmond. I read biographies of The Beatles and The Monkees. I taped TV programs about teen idols and that industry. I have videos of live concerts. I used my personal experience of attending concerts and talking to fans. “Monkees Business Fanzine” was a big help in that each issue had interviews with the guys, good first hand information.
Augie: I have not heard of Monkees Business Fanzine, but I will check it out on the Net.
Sally: For the Beatles part of the book, I played all my Beatles records and re-watched their movies. In the past I’ve attended three fan conventions, so I used those events as the blueprint for the fictitious convention in the book.
Augie: Hold-up, you really were a 'fanic,' new word I just made up. I like hearing and making up new stuff, just like I loved looking at Bobby Sherman, who was gorgeous, okay so Davy Jones (The Monkees) did take great headshots, and his accent was so dreamy, I know us west-coast folks, we think southern accents are cool.
Sally: I saw Bobby Sherman in concert twice in the late 1990s when he was on the “Teen Idols Tour.” In one show, he spent more time talking to the fans than actually singing. His fans are very intense and devoted. Monkees fans are a bit more “loose” and fun loving.
Augie: I can understand that, like I said ‘fanic,’ me too, I’m one. At what age did Sandy’s career begin and end? And why amateur sleuthing?
Sally: The “Buddy Brave” pilot was filmed when Sandy was 18. He was 19 when the shot went on the air and 24 when it was cancelled. The show ran four years, 1975-1979. A cartoon series followed, “The Secret Files of Buddy Brave,” with Sandy lending his voice to the show. That ran for one year. So at age 25 his teen idol days were over.
Augie: You know, I think I watched that cartoon…wait a minute this is fiction, right? <laughing>
Sally: Why amateur sleuthing? Why not? Sandy’s a performer at heart and nothing makes him happier than entertaining fans. He wouldn’t enjoy working as a full-time cop. Besides, I didn’t want to write a police procedural book (I don’t even like to read them). That would take a great deal of research as to how a police department works, the lingo, how a cop acts, legalities, etc. With an amateur sleuth, I don’t need to be as hung up with technical details.
Augie: Love it! (okay Wheezy again from Dragon Tales)
Sally: For example, a character in the book has a gun. I don’t state what kind of gun it is or the caliber. I didn’t feel that much detail was necessary or important to the story. From the description the reader gets a good idea what kind of weapon it might be.
Augie: Very smart, I wouldn’t know the difference anyway. I love amateur sleuth(ers) like The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.
Sally: What I had in mind when I wrote the book was an “adult Hardy Boys.” The book uses the Hardy Boys structure of action, fast pacing, a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter, attempts on the hero’s life and a final near-death experience for the hero before he catches the bad guy. But my dialogue is much better than “Hardy Boys” and I develop the characters more.
Augie: Will there be “flashbacks” of Sandy’s life? Is there a sequel? Hack there can be many sequels. Sally, I think you are on to something.
Sally: Yes, it’s a series. The next book is “The Sinister Sitcom Caper” in which Sandy is a guest start on a TV show and an actor drops dead at his feet. He does his sleuthing with the aid of a dwarf and an animal actor.
Augie: Sounds like fun, I love it when unambiguous characters appear, and lend their help to the main character.
Sally: I’m planning a long run on the series. I’d like to add romance to Sandy’s life and introduce members of his family.
Augie: We have a lot to look forward to with Sandy Fairfax, Teen idol.
Sally: The books will probably all have “flashbacks” in them, although I don’t want to get repetitious. How many different ways can you describe a teen idol concert?
Augie: I don’t know, but I’m sure you will figure it out. Folks I need to tell you that there are so many dimensions of Sally, I understand that you are originally from the Hoosier state of Indiana, and now reside in Southern California and that you are an acclaimed playwright, an actress, a black belt in kwon do, a theologian as well as a freelancer, when do you have time to write?
Sally: I write in the evenings when I get home from my day job and on weekends. I don’t have family obligations, which is beneficial for writing. A book is as time- and energy-consuming as a full-time job. I mean that in a good way, but when a person commits to writing a book, she better be prepared to give up having any other kind of activities.
Augie: Tell me about it. Sally is there anything else you would like the audience to know about you or even Sandy Fairfax?
Sally: Most people will see the comedy in the book, but there are some serious moments in it as well. Sandy’s a recovering alcoholic and that’s a dark issue. He’s trying to reconnect with his estranged friends and family. Bunny, his biggest fan, gets her feeling hurt. Another character who has a poignant moment of self-discovery. A comedy needs some drama to make the characters human and real; otherwise, they’re just caricatures.
Augie: Good term. I like that, caricatures. The Baffled Beatlemanic sounds like an incredibly exciting who-dun-it to pick up, I’m sure we will be looking forward to more of the repertoire of Sandy Fairfax, Teen Idol?
Sally: Yes, indeed. I don’t know when the next book will be finished—possibly 2013, but don’t hold me to that.
Augie: I truly understand the process. But, I’m not sure if fans can wait so long.
Just quickly I would like to get your first reaction on the following words.
a. Favorite colour: Green
b. Favorite food: Hot fudge sundae (you didn’t say it had to be healthy)
c. Lover of dog or cat? Cat. I have two of them.
d. Favorite cologne/perfume? I don’t like overly smelly perfumes.
e. Drink of choice? Diet A&W Root Beer.
f. If you and a companion can travel anywhere in the world, all expense paid for two weeks, where would you go? England, to London and also Liverpool for the annual Beatles convention there.
g. If I had a trust fund to pay my expenses, I’d write full time.
Augie: Sally, it has been a pleasure as well as fun to have you with us today.
Sally: Thank you. These questions have been fun to answer.
I will invite my audience to go out and purchase Sally Carpenter’s “The Baffled Beatlemanic Caper,” which is our introduction to Sandy Fairfax, Teen Idol Mystery Series which is published by Dark Oak Mysteries/Oak Tree Press.
You can reach Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again Sally for stopping by, great fortunes and good writing.
See you all real soon Augie