Following up on the blog post about my middle grade novel, The Art of Being Remmy, [link: https://darlenebeckjacobson.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/author-illustrator-mary-zisk-presents-the-art-behind-the-art-of-being-remmy/] Darlene and I would like to offer a hardcover signed copy to one lucky reader. See giveaway instructions at the end of this post.
It often happens that a memorable event in an author’s life can inspire an entire novel. For me, that event happened in 1964, when I was a Beatlemanical thirteen year old. I entered a Draw-the-Beatles contest sponsored by WABC Radio in New York City and became one of the winners of tickets to see The Fab Four in concert! Not only did my artwork transport me to an electrifying concert of nonstop screaming, that thrill confirmed my destiny that I would always be an artist.
Decades later, I channeled my tween self and wrote a middle grade novel triggered by that concert. Ultimately, the concert became the climax event that pulled together a fictionalized plot about a girl who fights to overcome rules imposed on females in mid-1960s society. 12-year-old Remmy Rinaldi pursues her dream to be an artist in spite of her father’s strong objections, the taunts of a boy rival, and the threat of losing her best friend to a rat fink.
As the novel evolved, I decided to change the historical period from 1964 to 1965, which meant that the concert moved from the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium to the more famous concert at Shea Stadium. But I still used my impressions and emotions from my 1964 concert:
Ed Sullivan steps onto the stage and we scream, knowing why he is here. He yells something about “The Queen” and “America” and then “Here are THE BEATLES!!!!”
I didn’t think it could be possible, but the screams get even louder as the Beatles—the ACTUAL BEATLES—run out to the second base stage and everyone jumps to their feet.
… The Beatles sing and rock and strum and dance so it looks like they’re making music. We bounce and clap to what we think is the music. But it’s impossible to hear anything over the nonstop screams…
But hey, it doesn’t matter. The Beatles are here and my friend and I are here. We are all sharing the same steamy August night, and breathing the same hot air, and seeing the same stars, and hearing the music and screaming collide. I’ll never forget this. Ever.
The Beatles in concert at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in August 1964
And I never did forget that night.
BOOK GIVEAWAY: Do you have a childhood event that defined your life or set you on a lifetime path? Do you have a childhood memory that you will always treasure in your heart?
Tell us about it. Leave that memory in the comments section, and you’ll be eligible to win a hardcover, signed copy of The Art of Being Remmy. Good luck! One lucky winner will be drawn at random and announced here on December 27.