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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bill Harry Interviews 'Get Back' Author Donovan Day

7:46 PM Posted by Nicole M
Author Donovan Day ('Get Back') was recently interviewed by legendary Mersey Beat founder and Livepool native Bill Harry. The following is reprinted here with permission from Mr. Harry himself.

"Interviewing Donovan Day about his novel Get Back in which a young man travels back in time to prevent the assassination of John Lennon, I asked the following questions:

Bill Harry: You studied creative writing. Does that mean you were interested in fiction, wr
iting novels, or is that a description of a writing course? I'm interested in pursuing the thought processes of a person writing a first novel: When you decided you wanted to write a novel, which ideas came into your head? Did you consider several possible themes to write about? How long did it take before you decided on exactly what you wanted the novel to be about? Why John? Why science-fiction? It is a basic theme to go back in time to alter the past, but there are consequences, some call it the butterfly effect. You mention people who helped you regarding the complexities of time travel (what happens if you go back and kill your grandfather, for instance), what exactly did they advise you? Were you aware of Stephen King’s novel about the man who travels back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Why is the book described as being for 'young adults'? This seems to be a new trend with novels such as 'Twilight'. Exactly what does it mean, that the novel will particularly resonate with people of a certain age?

Donovan Day: I took a number of fiction writing courses at Columbia University in New York and, yes, I definitely had an eye toward writing fiction. It's fairly typical in the U.S. and Columbia is considered one of the best of the best, up there with Harvard and Yale, probably the two best universities in the USA. Many novelists here have MFAs (Masters of Fine Arts ) -- advanced degrees -- that they believe give them the inside track with publishers. I don't think I'll be going that far.

I was aware and influenced somewhat by Stephen King's '11-22-63' about the assassination of JFK. But I read that a few years ago. What prompted this book was a dream. I'd been reading a lot about The Beatles because I had met Diz Gillespie and he was telling me about his times hanging out with Brian [Epstein] and The Beatles. That spurred my interest so I began reading and then I had this dream where I was in the studio with the boys and jamming with them. They knew I was from the future and all went well until John asked me specifically about HIS future. I couldn't answer him, and then I woke up.

Well, the dream was so vivid that I began writing. Time travel books are tough because one must be careful that what you do in one section makes sense in another. For instance, John meets Lenny at various times in the book...the '60s and then 1980. Obviously, John had to remember him. Early readers kept pointing this out to me so I was as careful as possible.

I'm aware of the butterfly effect but I wanted to take a different approach in this novel because, while the butterfly effect sounds good, how does anyone know? No one to my knowledge has time traveled so in this novel, I decided I would change the past so, for example, Jim Morrison lives on. John could not live on -- not because of the butterfly effect -- but because Yoko's mother perished and thus Yoko would never be born.

I think time travel by its nature is science fiction. Why young adult? That's a tough one. The main character is a teenager so I guess that's the main reason, and I wanted to introduce younger people to the '60s and The Beatles. That said, a number of people have told me that they think I should target baby boomers -- those over 50 years old now -- because they will relate more to the music. That could very well be. I think there is an innate interest there.

I had to take some license but tried to stay true to the 'facts' of The Beatles, and worked hard to get their characters to speak as the real flesh and blood people."

Donovan Day's novel is available on Amazon here.