On the Writing of Imagined, a novel
Imagined is a shorter work than any of my other novels and fictional pieces. I heard the voice of the main character and allowed the story to write itself.
Back in the 1970's, my editor at the New York Times Magazine, Paul Goldberger, was living in the Dakota building across from Central Park on West 72nd Street, a magnificent creation of 19th century New York architecture. As it happened, I had come to New York to deliver my first novel Studio to my editor at Morrow and my Times Magazine editor let me sleep on the floor of his Dakota apartment which overlooked the entrance to the building. John and Yoko were living upstairs, and each Saturday night a swarm of fans would converge in front of the building as the famous couple came out and got into their limo. I could sense John's vulnerability right then and there; anybody could get close to him in an instant. I had a bad vibe about what might happen to my hero from the 1960's.
John Lennon's music was a passion of mine from the very early days of the Beatles; and he was the Beatles I most identified with, growing up in Ohio. When John was shot, I refused to believe he actually died, so Imagined wrote itself about his return. I got lots of fan mail from folks who were moved by the story and got to experience the meaning and grief of John's loss in the way that I had. A John Lennon collector and masterful archivist, Sam Choukri, published first IMAGINED on his website before the book could see the light of print.
One day I'm hopeful Imagined will find a larger readership which can enjoy the book for its playful and entertaining tour of John's life upon his return. There are some tender moments in the story, if you stay with it, and the dream of a Beatles reunion (before, sadly enough, George Harrison passed away) gives the book its special magic, as we wait for the second coming of John Lennon.