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Reviews of

Beneath Juliette:

 

“This is the most powerful and subtle, humorous and wonderful debut novel I have read in decades.” -- Clyde Mitchal, Youngstown Reviews

 

“I’m very impressed with Beneath Juliette. This is a fine writer and the characters really come alive, especially the villain.” -- Charles Salzberg, author of “Swan’s Last Song”

 

“What can I say? I read straight through Beneath Juliette in two days! Your novel shines with elegance, insight, and texture. Breathtaking!” -- Robert Middlemiss – author of “A Common Glory

 

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q

Where did you come up with the idea for Beneath Juliette?

A

Back in the seventies I used to go archery hunting at a state managed wildlife refuge, called Rum Creek W.M.A. Back then archery hunting was not as popular as it is today so I pretty much had the place to myself. Just outside of Juliette, Georgia, it was as wonderful a piece of rural countryside I’ve ever seen, a location just looking for someone to tell a good story about it. By the time I decided to write the novel, I had collected many stories, some which were told to me and some I witnessed myself. I used to tell my children ghost stories and Beneath Juliette starts off as a sort of ghost story. All of these pieces and parts came together as a pretty good plot. Then I needed some characters. Most of the folks I’ve met lead strange enough lives to be in a novel, but I didn’t want to make Juliette’s characters from real life. That can be dangerous to an author especially with villains!

Q

So your characters aren’t modeled after people you know?

A

Yes, but not entirely. Juliette’s characters have characteristics of real people but most of them are spare parts too. Characters have to be realistic, but like real people they do crazy things. Only one character in Beneath Juliette is modeled from a real person, but I’m not saying which one. The rest come out of the mold needing bits and pieces of other people I know to flesh them out. Some of their characteristics are my own invention.

Q

The villain is especially vicious. Did you ever know anyone like that?

A

Never. I think a lot of us have a level of meanness in us, particularly when we’re driving. What I did with TV Swanson was amplify that to the monster level. Yet I found him a fascinating person, full of strange notions, anger, violence, self-loathing and a bizarre fear of other people, especially his own 10-year-old son.

Q

What about your hero?

A

Which one? Brendan Macbean is similar to a broadcaster we used to have in the Atlanta area named Leroy Powell, who died of brain cancer in 1999. Leroy Powell was the antithesis to a typical television personality. He focused on unusual personal interest stories. I wanted a different type of hero. Somebody who wasn’t a superman but solved problems with his wits, someone who suffered from narcissism deficit disorder enough to become obsessed with finding the other hero, the long lost Frank Robillard, a true but flawed hero, brilliant, strong, courageous but weak when it came to himself.

 

Q

Macbean seems very realistic and loveable. Since you are not in broadcasting, how did you make him believable?

 

A

I was very fortunate. I went down to the WXIA studios in Atlanta and spent an afternoon with Ted Hall and Brenda Wood, anchors for the evening news, who were very gracious with their time. From them I was able to get insight on how a broadcaster’s mind works, what some of the problems they go through and how spots on television are conceived and produced. Ted Hall was particularly helpful answering my endless questions and to him I give a great deal of credit for the success of the character.

 

Q

Many of your most gripping scenes take place inside of prison. How did you learn so much about incarceration?

 

A

I had one relative who ran afoul of the law pretty much his whole life and spent time in prison. At times he was very likable, but he gave me insights to how criminals think. But his experiences were insufficient to provide enough detail to make those scenes believable. The rest came from research, but I figured if Stephen King could do it, I could do it. Prison does things to a man and that’s what I wanted to explore. Also I wanted to show the effects criminals have on their families, which is something I witnessed firsthand.

 

 

 

 

About The Author

 

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John Wilsterman finished a successful career with IBM and has now turned his hand to novel writing. Mr. Wilsterman makes a spectacular debut with Beneath Juliette, a novel set in the South, with all the strange and wonderful characters, places and stories he’s encountered. Mr. Wilsterman is married and has two grown children, Kira and Luke, and is now working on a new novel. He lives with his wife, Jean, near Atlanta.