I

AUTHOR’S NOTE about the Creation of SUPERSTAR

and a Play List of Songs that served as Inspiration for those Paul Montgomery wrote in the story

When the hero in your story is a rock star who writes his own music, an author needs some inspiration. Since the story was going to cover 30 years, I turned to my favorite performers who were also composers during the 1970s and 1980s. 

Who were they? Well, Kenny Loggins, Barry Manilow and a few other composers who owned those decades, so it shouldn't be surprising that they were inadvertently writing the Montgomery "sound". Of course, a few tunes from the ‘90s and beyond worked a bit of magic, too, but as most of the recording sections of the story took place in the earlier years, those hits were particularly inspirational.

 

Besides, once a performer has a Top 40 tune, they’re stuck performing the same song into perdition.

 

Beyond the compositions and arrangements themselves, Michael McDonald contributed Paul’s voice with a touch of David Clayton Thomas of Blood, Sweat and Tears, Robert Palmer, and Michael Bolton thrown in. In fact, Bolton's rendition of "White Christmas" is Paul spot on from sound to performance. I never get tired of listening to it...even when it isn't the holidays.

 

With McDonald and Loggins both sporting beards, Paul had to have one himself. Can’t help it. I like dark haired guys with beards!

 

Unfortunately, because I hadn’t listened to any of this music in decades, making a separate Pandora channel with these gentlemen’s and other singers and groups hits to listen to as I wrote slowed things down since I tended to get up to dance or pressed the headphones closer to my ears to picture Paul on stage while I sang along. And I can close my eyes and see Paul on stage very well. It doesn't even take staring at the poster-sized, framed rendition of the cover to do so, either.

By the way, the channel is called "Montgomery-esque" if you'd like to find it.

Bonnie Tyler belted out Jim Steinman and Dean Pitchford’s “Holding Out For A Hero” in 1984, which means Rand Gunning doing the same for “Hero” in the story in the 1970s predates her, although it was Bonnie who supplied the vocal in my head. And the piano in the arrangement fueled my descriptions of Paul accompanying Rand on “Hero”.

 

The playlist of songs I high-jacked for Paul’s “sound” follows this note for those who are curious or want the “total” Montgomery experience. The criteria was orchestration arrangement (sound) and vocal performance rather than lyrics, though a lot of them sound Montgomery-ish as well. It’s a long list but then I was covering thirty years’ worth of creative output for Paul, so actually, it’s short!

 

And although he hates disco, I loved it! When he draws Rory onstage, the song I choreographed the dance to was a far more modern song though: Phil Collins’ rendition of “You’ll Be In My Heart” from Disney’s Tarzan.

 

A personal history of dating more than one disc jockey (and marrying one) and reprising the sequence with musicians (and marrying one of them, though not a rocker) probably leaked into the story. I culled info from them about the music biz long before I knew I would be using it. Having made things up as needed, I confess that any errors or inconsistencies that appear should be laid at my door alone. Had to toss in KLUC radio in Vegas as I worked there in the early 1970s. Actually, I was in Las Vegas at New Year's as 1980 turned to 1981, though I didn't remember that until later when I reread the story. 

Actually, I reread this story a lot. I get homesick and want to hang out with Paul. He is the hero I'm most likely to run away with.

 

If I hadn’t decided I was going to be a novelist when I was twelve, maybe I would have chosen, as Aurora did, to go into fashion. I designed a lot of dresses for one very well abused original Barbie Doll once upon a time, and firmly believe there is no such thing as enough clothes. The closest I’ve come to being a fashion designer is mentally filling the closets of my various heroines over the years with things that couldn’t be found in the stores. It was a lot of fun sitting down with Rory at the drawing board to create her lines for the runway. Yet again, all the errors – mine – if they exist. Logic was my guide in some cases. And on Pinterest I have a board called "Rory's Closet" where I continue to post things I think would either appear on the Harris Designs or Aurora House catwalks, in the Aurora's shops or in the Aurora's catalog...none of which actually exist, of course.

I was in London in 1968, although I sent Aurora there in 1967. Mary Quant designs ruled and the Carnaby Street fashion revolution was in full swing both years…well, for more than those two years, actually. I loved those clothes, especially Quant’s.

Sadly, while Aurora and Bobbie wear the same uniform I did in high school, there was no tempting boy next door for me to lust after. Rory, Bobbie, and I all share the same graduation date, and I let Rory drive my first car early on. Sadly, I let her have my emergency appendectomy, too.

In regards to Paul’s music videos, at least one owes its look and choreography to Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” in 1982, “Thriller” in 1983, and “Smooth Criminal” in 1987. Thank you YouTube for having them available to watch again. MTV wasn’t born with that moniker, which is why I’ve called in Music Television, which is what it premiered as August 1, 1981. I’ve loaded the airing schedule with Montgomery tunes which isn’t that far off since Rod Stewart had five that aired that first day. And from watching those on the real schedule that are still available on YouTube, the guy putting Paul’s together read them right – nearly all might as well have been shot in a club or someone’s garage. Blah to a modern audience, as is (which surprised me) Michael Jackson’s 1979 entry, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” Chroma key and green screens have come a long way since then.

 

It’s strange the way stories come together. Superstar was in progress for decades. I started writing it in the late 1980s and here it is over thirty years later. Early parts of it made an appearance (under a different title) in my degree work for a Masters in English Composition with an Emphasis on Creative Writing.

 

I would like to thank John Andreoni for setting me right on what Paul would have done during his tour of duty in Viet Nam with the advisory forces and my former brother-in-law Mark Albright for what little I know about life in the motor pool where I dumped Jim Gordon for his time in Nam. I may be detail oriented when it comes to writing tales set in the 19th century but the 20th…well, as I came into my majority in sync with Aurora’s timeline, I tend to think I remember things correctly. Learned my lesson, John! And I embroidered at lot, Mark!

 

Superstar is the only storyline of its kind that my muse and I have dreamed up, genre fiction being more our forte. The fact that there would be no similar books to follow it contributed to the slow progression. I nearly tossed it out more than once, but Paul and Aurora wouldn’t let me forget them. I hope their story touches a chord with you, gentle reader.

Beth Henderson

August 2015

 

Playlist

(Noted by artist, not composer)

 

“Addicted to Love”, “Simply Irresistible”

Robert Palmer

“If You Leave Me Now”

Chicago

“What Kind of Fool”

Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb

“Turn Your Love Around”

George Benson

“Nobody Does It Better”

Carly Simon

“Footloose”, “Heart to Heart”,

“Whenever I Call You ‘Friend’”,

“Celebrate Me Home”, “Danger Zone”,

“I’m Alright”, “Sweet Reunion”

Kenny Loggins

“When I Wanted You”, “Somehow We Made It”,

“It’s A Miracle”, “Could It Be Magic”

Barry Manilow

“Just Once”

Quincy Jones

 “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”,

“What A Fool Believes”, “Sweet Freedom”,

“Yah No B There”, “I Keep Forgetting”,

“Our Love”

Michael McDonald

 “Holding Out For A Hero”

Bonnie Tyler

“Gloria”

Laura Branigan

“Maniac”

(from Flashdance)

Michael Sembello

“Kyrie”, “Broken Wings”

Mr. Mister

“That’s The Way Of The World”

Earth, Wind and Fire

“God Bless The Child”

Blood, Sweat and Tears

“What You Won’t Do For Love”

Bobby Caldwell

“All I Need Is A Miracle”,

Mike and the Mechanics

“Tonight, Tonight, Tonight”,

“Hold On My Heart”,

“Throwing It All Away”

Genesis

”I’ll Be Over You”

Toto

“I Don’t Want To Live Without Your Love”

Foreigner

 “Now and Forever”, “Should’ve Known Better”

Richard Marx

“You’ll Be In My Heart”

Phil Collins

“The Power of Love”

Huey Lewis and the News

“Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?”

Bryan Adams

“Baby Come To Me”

James Ingram

“Shattered Dreams”

Johnny Hates Jazz

“Got To Get You Back In My Life”

The Beatles

“Just The Two Of Us”

Grover Washington Jr.

 “Biggest Part Of Me”

Ambrosia

and

oddly enough

“Play That Funky Music”

Wild Cherry