Posted by: Vanessa Barneveld | November 3, 2009

My Density Has Brought Me to You

BEATLE MEETS DESTINY – Gabrielle Williams


When a boy named John ‘Beatle’ Lennon meets a girl named Destiny McCartney, it’s gotta be fate, right? He’s sensitive; she’s fiercely artistic. He’s a little reserved; she’s way more daring. But together they fit together like piano keys. Ebony and ivory… (Ooops, that was McCartney and Jackson’s song, wasn’t it?) There’s just one problem—Beatle already has a girlfriend, a beautiful saint of a girl who stuck by him in sickness and in health. Is it really destiny if it means other people get hurt?

Gabrielle Williams conversational style made me care so much for Beatle and Destiny that I felt like reaching into the pages to save Beatle and Destiny from committing fatal mistakes. At the same time, I egged them on to see just how far they’d go.

BEATLE MEETS DESTINY is Williams’s second book—her first YA. Offbeat, poignant and funny, it’s full of secrets that just can’t and won’t stay hidden.

Now it’s your destiny to meet Gabrielle Williams.

Gabrielle, how did the story come about? Did you set out to write a YA?

No. In fact I started out with a completely different book, different characters, and a different plot. And then I started tinkering. And someone suggested maybe I make the characters a bit younger because it seemed to suit my style of writing. And I channeled my inner immature self (which is never far from the surface, let’s be honest), and threw my two main characters together with a kiss at the end of the first chapter, and then added an extra girlfriend, a stalker, a stolen tapestry, a teacher/student romance, some superstitions, astrology, feng shui and a kooky mother and it all kind of kicked along from there.

The advice “murder your darlings” is often given to writers who are far too forgiving and nice to their characters. Did you have to force yourself to let Beatle and Destiny face consequences for their actions, or did you gleefully give them up?

Oh, no. I’m quite a cruel parent. I was perfectly happy to hang my characters out to dry, and then have the crows pick over their innards while they were still alive. In fact, one of my favourite scenes in the book is near the end when everything comes crashing down around Beatle’s ears – unkind? Yes. Gleeful? Definitely.

Your secondary plots involving family and friends meshed so well together and complemented the main story. Do you have any advice for writers on dealing with subplots?

I’m in the middle of writing my next book at the moment, and I think the trick with subplots is not to worry about them too much until you’ve gotten at least one full draft of the main story down. Then, once you’ve got some words on the page, you can start fiddling around, adding layers, giving secondary characters storylines, and tying the whole thing up in complicated knots with subplots.

Congrats on snaffling a film option for your book! Who do you see in the lead roles?

Hm. Haven’t really thought about it until now, but it’s a good question. I think maybe Beatle could be played by George Clooney, and Destiny could be played by me. No, I don’t think we’re both too old to play teenagers – a little make-up and some soft lighting and no-one would be any the wiser.

Superstition plays a big part in Beatle Meets Destiny. The acting world is full of superstitions, but have you heard of any for the publishing industry? (Please don’t mention black cats, because I have one and he crosses my path at least thirteen times a day.)

The main one I’ve heard is never write a book while you’re sitting under a ladder with a broken mirror hanging on the wall beside you and a black cat crossing back and forth in front of you. Otherwise, we’re a pretty unsuperstitious lot in the writing industry.

Thanks so much for being with us today, Gabrielle!

We have a copy of Beatle Meets Destiny to give away. Just post a comment on fate, destiny or superstitions and you’re in the draw. The winner will be anointed next week.


  1. Oh I think Gerard Butler can play Beatle and I’ll give the girl role a try, lots of soft lighting and a bucket of makeup might be needed but I’d help out if necessary. 😉
    Can’t wait to read it.

  2. Is there anything Gerard Butler can’t do? Nat, I’m sure it won’t be much of a challenge for those make-up girls to transform you into a high school senior!

    While we’re on Hollywood trickery, if you want to get that dewy, soft-focus look, slip a nude stocking over the video lens and–voila!–wrinkles disappear. That was an old trick I learnt years ago. Of course, today, I’m sure most cameras can do the soft-focus thing at the push of a button.

  3. Gabrielle and Vanessa, thanks for such an enjoyable interview.

    Gabrielle, I really like the sound of your story. I’m even tempted to say ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ – the premise sounds so fantastic. I love the fact that you cheerfully torture your characters. It makes for a better book and it’s such a wonderful pastime!

    George Clooney as a teen? My mind is boggling just a tad but I can see where you’re going with this.

    As for superstitions? How about never writing without chocolate in the house in case you need that extra inspiration?


  4. Torturing characters as a hobby – I like that idea, Ann!

    I am so with you on keeping chocolate in the house when you’re writing. I’ve actually studied this. Nine times out of ten, I found it was impossible to write without chockie for incentive.

  5. Gabrielle and Vanessa, what a great interview!

    Actually I took the weekend off (started a new book yesterday and wanted to clean out the brain first!) and watched the Beatles Anthology from goa to whoa. It’s so sad to look at John Lennon, so young and charismatic and talented, and think about what happened. So to read here about a book with a Beatles connection today seems to be fated!

    And wow, Gabrielle, a film option! That must have been a dream come true!

    Congratulations on the release of the book. It sounds fantastic!

  6. Anna, good luck with the new book! You’re having a busy week with your own book launch and tour, so many thanks for coming over.

    It does bring a tear to the eye when you think about John Lennon. He really was in his prime. My husband plays ‘Oh, Yoko’ a lot–can’t seem to get it out of my head.

  7. Hey, V, I’d never miss one of your posts. Well, I might one day – but I’d never miss one willingly. And you always have such interesting people to talk to.

  8. Aw, you’re a real pal, Anna. And, hey, HUGE congrats to you on ‘Captive of Sin’ making it to Publishers Weekly’s list of top 100 books for 2009!!!!!

    Gabrielle’s book was such a fun read. Her natural wit really shines through.

  9. Gabrielle and Vanessa, thanks for a fun blog.

    Your book sounds great, Gabrielle, and the progression from its beginning as something so very different was interesting. Just goes to show that it pays to be flexible when you’re a writer!

    Congratulations on your book and on the film option! That’s awesome!


  10. Hi, Sharon! Congrats to you on your November release too!

    It’s amazing how a book can start off as one thing and then grow into a totally different story once you start tinkering. I find sometimes the characters dictate where they want to take the story.

  11. I can’t wait to read this book! What a great interview Vanessa, and Gabrielle- phew. Job very well done, congrats!

  12. Hi, Ellie! Thanks for coming up for air in the midst of finishing your book! You should read Beatle Meets Destiny as a reward for your hard work. 🙂

  13. I’ve always liked the idea of fate and destiny but I think my ultimate fav concept is serendipity!

  14. Really interesting interview.
    I’m very supertitious. i tend to make deals with fate. Eg. If i can resist checking the letters til the response from the publisher comes (ie make hubby do it BUT not tell him why) it will be good. Hmmm… hasn’t worked yet…

  15. Llehn, serendipity is wonderful. Just today I was digging through my humungo tote bag for Tic-Tacs but found a little chocolate bar instead. Fortunately it hadn’t melted in today’s heat. Score!

  16. Glad you could stop by, Bec! I totally understand your deals with fate. Aren’t superstitions funny? You want to keep them up even if they seem irrational. I have a really stupid and unproductive one–I can’t start a new story unless I have a title I’m satisfied with. Must get over that one, because I can really suck at titles!

  17. I truly think it was destiny that I ended up living in Nambucca Heads briefly and joining the local writers group, which then led to the decision to join RWA and become a part of this blog. Won’t go on too much about destiny or I’ll have nothing to blog about on Sunday.

    I have a character in one of my stories who is fifty-something (to be kind – she’s never revealed her age to me yet) and yet she’s playing Sandy in the local production of Grease. She’s the Prez and wife of the Musical Director so naturally she gets the part. (She is going to be the heroine of my current Nano effort)
    So if Genevieve d’Vine can play Sandy, I’m sure you can play Destiny, Gabrielle.

  18. I love the idea of a rather, er, mature Sandy, Diane. Does she get to wear the lycra cat suit?

  19. Oh – not only is my husband a scouser but I lived in Liverpool for about eight years on and off so I am now genetically drawn to anything Beatles!!! Anyway, the book sounds amazing and I’m looking forward to reading it!

  20. Hey, Amanda! Did you go to John Lennon’s childhood home when you lived in Liverpool? I hear it’s been preserved as a museum.

  21. When I started dating my husband it was definitely fate. No number of black cats, broken mirrors or under-ladder-walking could have kept us apart. When we married 11 weeks later people said we were crazy (especially our mothers who expressed their concerns by sobbing at random times throughout our special day). Next Wednesday will be our four year anniversary and we are still madly in love and believe it was always our destiny that we would end up together for eternity (and we both have fantastic relationships with our mother-in-laws). I fell like we’re still right at the start of our jouney.

    Needless to say I’m a huge fan of the type of crazy love that cannot be stopped by all the adversity that life can throw at you! Beatle and Destiny sound like my kind of people. Thanks for this interview Vanessa and Gabrielle. I can’t wait to read it!

  22. Now, that’s a whirlwind romance, Jessica! Thanks for sharing your story. I’m wondering how you and hubby managed to meet, fall madly in love and pull off a wedding in less than three months!

    Happy anniversary! Here’s to a happy ever after.

  23. Ha! Love the “density” quote in your title. Poor sweet George McFly…. Despite his bumbling, I think he understood this idea: “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” -William Jennings Bryan

    Enjoyed the interview – thanks! Sounds like another book for my TBR pile for sure!

  24. Hey, Shari. George McFly is my favourite geek. He took density…er, destiny into his own hands, didn’t he?

    I’ll be employing the use of my cat to draw the winner of the contest tomorrow (Friday the 13th). Good luck!

  25. […] How providential that today, Friday the 13th, happens to be the draw date for our BEATLE MEETS DESTINY competition! I totally didn’t plan that. Thanks to all who commented on last week’s […]

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