"Who hasn’t dreamed of being a rock star at some point or another?"

Eastbourne author Judith-Marie Rhodes is in print with Destination: Unknown (Olympia Publishers, £9.99 from Amazon etc)

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 6:10 am
Judith-Marie Rhodes
Judith-Marie Rhodes

“I’ve been toying around with the idea of a fictional band for years, I suppose out of some sort of childish fantasy when I first started taking note of how music is actually made or who makes it if that makes sense.

“From a young age I’ve been brought up on greats such as Iron Maiden, one of my dad’s favourites. He’d put them on in the car any chance he got. I only really liked three of their songs at the time so I’d always make him replay those three over and over.

“It wasn’t until much later on that I really started to take to the heavier side of the music scene. Meatloaf, Queen, and Michael Jackson were others that really stuck with me as I grew up.

“So, I had this cool idea of being a grown-up who got to go around the world as this super cool rock star. Let’s face it, who hasn’t dreamed of being a rock star at some point or another?

“The idea of the main characters, Jess and Riku, came first. Jess was originally a reflection of the kind of cool and intelligent girl I wanted to be when I grew up but before I knew it she ended up taking several wild turns and gaining a completely new personality of her own which I decided to hone until it felt like she was telling me her own story and I was the one just along for the ride.

“In addition to her character and despite his numerous objections any time someone tries to point it out to him, Riku’s name is in fact influenced by my all-time favourite PS2 game growing up.

“This book is very significant to me because over time all of the characters, not just Jess and Riku, have gone through multiple life-cycles, have lived in loads of different worlds, most of them fantasy settings, but the timeline in Destination puts real substance to their lives because it’s like proof that she’s become bigger than that little kid’s dream.

“I also find it amusing that despite all of the fictional worlds they’ve been through over the years, my favourite story of theirs is always the one based in a world similar to ours because that dream of being a musician is always at the back of my mind and it’s always the most fulfilling storyline.

“The book is about four, technically five if you’re counting Tom, teenagers who decide to form a band on a total whim and end up striking it lucky because of a mutual contact.

“They get to live the dream that every teenager in a band wants. As well as the obvious musical subject, it also touches upon British school life for our hero and heroine and the kinds of dramas that could come from that and then it gives the reader a chance to delve into something a little deeper than your typical teenage drama.

“There may well be hints of love. There are certainly hints of loss, but there is also the presence of mental health issues and that is something that you may well be surprised to know hits home with many young adults, including myself.

“It’s not an easy subject to tackle and it’s definitely not easy to understand because everyone experiences it in different ways but maybe seeing life through someone else’s eyes could help to open up a little more to that puzzle. That’s certainly how I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve been reading anyway.

“The book is probably best suited for young adults.”