A Croydon born author’s unique contribution to the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ best known LP was published this week.
In the novel ‘Whatever Happened to Billy Shears?’ (Marylebone House, London; £8.99) Steve Goddard imagines the cast of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Billy Shears, Lucy, the Hendersons, Mr Kite and even Henry the (rocking) horse – living in the same South Croydon street in 1967.
‘Lyrically, the album gave us a snapshot of 1960s’ Britain in cultural flux,’ explains Goddard. ‘My story reflects how society has changed over the past fifty years.’
TEB interviewed Steve back in November 2014 following the release of his first book ‘Rattles and Rosettes’ in which he explained how his writing debut came about and the news that he was toying with the idea of ‘Billy Shears’.
This novel begins in the present day with a fatal car accident – a crowd gawps at a ‘face they’ve seen before’ – before documenting events leading up to the crash. Billy, now Canon William Shearwater and a Palace fan, is reminiscing about his first and secret love, Lucy Pitcher, while leading a campaign to root out corruption in football.
Unknown to him, English teacher Sophie Daggert is documenting her slow recovery from bereavement. Adopted at birth, she embarks on a search for her natural parents. Sophie and ‘Shears’ eventually come together in a shocking journey of self discovery.
A tragicomedy, in the footsteps of novelists like David Lodge, Willie Russell and Nick Hornby, ‘Whatever Happened to Billy Shears?’ asks questions about changing social mores and beliefs.
Legendary sports photographer and Palace fan Hy Money said:
‘The sharp wit of Steve’s first novel Rattles and Rosettes is reprised here as the cast of Sergeant Pepper weave their way through a tale with more twists and turns than a scenic railway. I remember the sixties so well and it was good to recall a decade of liberation when the Beatles provided the soundtrack, England won the World Cup and 1967’s Summer of Love intoxicated us all.’
Cindy Kent MBE, former lead singer with 1960s folk-pop group The Settlers, said:
‘Whatever Happened to Billy Shears?’ is witty, tragic and emotional. If there’s a better observed comic novel about the sixties, I’ll eat my kaftan.’
Former presenter of BBC TVs Crackerjack, Don McLean said:
‘Goddard’s knowledge of popular culture is extraordinary, and the way he weaves it into a believable range of characters makes this book utterly compelling. A splendid read is guaranteed for all.’
Don’t just take their word for it, head over to Amazon right now and order your copy to find out for yourself.