First of all, My Soul Was Once Yours has been doing so well and has been greatly received by readers! I can't thank you all enough! I truly enjoyed writing it. And to think it all began with a dream I had one night about my music idol, Del Shannon (I love him so much it's ridiculous). The book was originally written as a stand-alone, but I can't stop thinking about it and realized I didn't want the story to end there. I wanted more of Bobby and Beverly. SO, with that said...I'm currently writing the PREQUEL! It is titled, The Rising Star, and it is the full story of Bobby Eastland and Beverly Forrester - from when they met as kids, dated as teenagers, his rise to rock star fame, until...*no spoilers!*
A couple of weeks ago I decided to take a solo road trip to Coopersville, Michigan – hometown to the one and only, Del Shannon (real name Charles Westover). I have wanted to visit the Coopersville Area Historical Museum’s Del Shannon exhibit and the memorial dedicated to him for years. He was my muse for My Soul Was Once Yours, so it was time for me to pay homage to him. I hadn’t been that excited about taking a trip in a long time – I had ants in my pants as I counted down the days!
On the three-hour drive up, I blasted my Del Shannon playlist the entire way. It was amazing. Uplifting. Therapeutic. It put me in the greatest mood – I was practically vibrating with excitement once I arrived! Seeing the memorial in person was surreal. After seeing pictures of it online for so many years, to have it right in front of me took my breath away. I choked up and got teary as I stood before the monument dedicated to my rock idol. I had a bouquet of roses to place there. I also decided that since My Soul Was Once Yours was inspired by my dream about Del, I left a copy signed to him, even though I (sadly) know he’ll never see it. It was cathartic for me to leave it for him, though.
I was sure the curator thought I was a bumbling goofball as I spoke to him, but he was so kind and informative! The entire museum itself is amazing and PACKED full of history. It was like walking through a time machine – so many fascinating artifacts from the town’s history.I then drove down to Battle Creek, Michigan to check out the historical marker for Runaway. The Hi Lo Club, which is where Del got his start playing and the very place where his first hit was written, is no longer there. But, a historical marker is on the location of where the club once stood and I just HAD to see it and take a picture! I then headed back to reality in Chicago, but the trip was fantastic. Amazing. And everything I had hoped it would be!
The cool news is that the curators of the museum told me that they were so moved by my message to Del in the copy of My Soul Was Once Yours that they found at the memorial. They are adding it to the Del Shannon exhibit in the museum!! I’m not going to lie, I cried. It is surreal to know that my little book is among his memorabilia. AND!! I am donating copies to the museum to be sold there – all proceeds to benefit the museum. So, if you’re ever in the Coopersville area, stop by the museum to pick up a copy to help them out. They have been so kind to me, I want to give back.
AND!! One more thing – SAVE THE DATE – August 11, 2016 – my friend, James Popenhagen (and dear friend of Del Shannon’s) will be performing that night. I will be posting more info of course. He is absolutely fantastic, so join me in watching him perform, and have a great time with me and my family!!