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Jude Southerland Kessler
Author of John Lennon novel to give reading
Jude Southerland Kessler is a Northwestern State alumna
By David West

Author Jude Southerland Kessler will give a lecture and reading at Northwestern State University Monday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom. Admission is free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by Northwestern State’s Department of Language and Communication.

Kessler, a graduate of NSU in English education and history, is the author of Shoulda Been There, the first historical novel about the Beatles’ John Lennon which covers his life up to 1961, and Shivering Inside, which details Lennon’s life from 1961 until 1963. Kessler is writing a third novel on Lennon, She Loves You.

Her topic will be "All I Know I Learned From NSU...and the Beatles." Kessler will share five life lessons she learned on campus with examples from the lives of the Beatles to illustrate each point. Kessler will read short excerpts from the first three books.

“All my life, I knew that I wanted to write a well-researched work of historical fiction, much like the novels of Irving Stone,” said Kessler. “I had read all of Stone's books, and I so admired the way that Stone spent 10-12 years researching one person and even living in that individual's city of residence before putting pen to paper. I knew that I wanted to write a book that would present someone's life in an interesting, readable format but that would also give the reader well-documented, solid facts.”

In 1986, Kessler began considering a topic for a historical novel. She settled on Lennon.

“I thought I knew everything there was to know about John Lennon and that his life story would be easy to write,” said Kessler. But, of course, I knew nothing about John. I bought 10 books, then more until I had well over 300 books about John, and I did secondary research from 1986-1993. Then in '93, I began traveling back and forth to Liverpool to do interviews with John's friends, early band members, teachers, Cavern Club associates, and so forth. I learned to speak Scouse (the language of Liverpool) and I learned the ‘lay of the city’ so that I could describe places accurately and vividly for the reader.”

Kessler said Shoulda Been There took her 20 years to write. The research for her first novel helped her complete Shivering Inside in five years. She Loves You should be completed in 2014.

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