Cleveland Musicologist Deanna R. Adams Debuts First Novel
By Alex Sukhoy
Three years ago, while waiting in line at the Westlake Borders to meet the one and only Pat Benatar, I struck up a conversation with another woman in line: Deanna Adams. As in that Deanna Adams, the woman who wrote the quintessential music bible Rock ‘N’ Roll and the Cleveland Connection.
Both writers and both lovers of music, we’ve since kept in touch and have been supportive of each other’s craft.
Deanna has now branched out into the novel form and the result is Peggy Sue Got Pregnant: A Rock ‘n Roll Love Story, scheduled for release this Wed 6/19. I caught up with the author and asked her some questions, to which her responses were thoughtful, funny and heartfelt.
Alex Sukhoy: What inspired you to write your first novel?
Deanna Adams: I always wanted to write a novel, and planned to after I wrote Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Cleveland Connection, but then I ended up writing Confessions of a Not-So-Good Catholic Girl. Then after that, [I] was commissioned to do Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Roots. So finally, I decided it’s time for that novel! And although rock and roll novels aren’t high on the bestseller’s list, I had to be true to my passion, which, of course, is rock history.
I wanted to take the idea of, let’s say, the movie Forrest Gump, by taking fictional characters and weaving them through the baby boomer years. I then remembered the movie Peggy Sue Got Married and thought, okay, what if she got pregnant and it’s 1957 — when that’s about the worst thing that could’ve happened to a young girl. So right there was the plot. I wanted to include all that pop culture, too, as well as address issues of the past, as well as some issues that remain, for women, in particular.
How did you develop the characters for this book? Did you draw them in gradually or did they all show up all at once?
Once I started writing Peggy Sue’s character, the others simply entered the room (or on a bus, as in the case of her Detroit friend, Angela). The story itself came pretty easily. The challenge was plotting it out in a way that keeps the story and conflict moving. As a writer, I know the importance of keeping the reader riveted to the page. And that’s not always easy when you also need to show internal conflicts and character development, and the complexity of relationships, etc. I wanted to make sure something was happening on every page, so that took awhile to pull off. Because it was my first novel, the pressure to get it right was monumental. I did several rewrites. I was thrilled when my publisher and early readers’ response was so positive and enthusiastic.
Rock ‘n Roll is a theme for your writing. What is it about this music genre that connects with you so deeply?
I think it’s because we all grew up with music being the biggest thing in our young lives. Music was as important to us baby boomers as eating and breathing. There was so much great — and diverse — music born in our era. And it will always be a big part of who I am, personally and professionally.
What do you hope your readers will get out of this book? What do you think will resonate most?
I wrote it for my target audience — baby boomers who grow up in an amazing era, one in which saw many, many changes. I wanted to write a book that took us all back there. I also wanted to take readers on an emotional, sometimes sentimental, ride, so the story in turn reflects human nature. Yet I made a conscious effort to also make it fun to read, too.
What’s next for you?
I just got contracted to write the sequel, which continues with Peggy Sue’s daughter’s story through the ’80s (when MTV really meant Music Television), and the early ’90s. The first few pages of that story will be included at the end of this novel.
Peggy Sue Got Pregnant: A Rock ’n’ Roll Love Story by Deanna R. Adams will be available Wed 6/19
from Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and independent books sellers. Price: $4.99/ebook; $15.99/paperback book.
[Photos: Deanna Adams]
Alexsandra Sukhoy, a globally-networked creative and business professional with two decades of corporate leadership experience, is CEO of Creative Cadence LLC. Her career coaching skills have resulted in numerous success stories for her clients. Alexsandra teaches classes within the Media Arts and Journalism Departments at Tri-C and Business Environment at the Monte Ahuja College of Business at CSU.
She just released her third novella, The ’90s: Diary of a Mess. Her five-star rated novellas Chatroom to Bedroom: Chicago and Chatroom to Bedroom: Rochester, New York are now available on iTunes, B&N.com and Amazon.
Follow Alexsandra on Twitter: @creativecadence.