‘Treat Me Nice’ – Q & A with Howard Jackson

How did you arrive at the metaphor of the Frankenstein Creature?

The idea actually occurred after the first draft had been completed. I was not entirely happy with what I had done. I felt the book needed a theme to make it interesting to the reader. My daughter, who lives in Cheltenham, suggested that the chapter about the limitations of Elvis go near the front of the book. She felt it demonstrated a serious attempt to be objective. Thinking about this revision, it occurred to me that every chapter hinted at a curse. Indeed, I considered using all the chapter headings to describe a specific curse. The idea was soon abandoned but as I thought about how Elvis was cursed I thought more about him as a victim, albeit one with special powers. The notion should have made me think about Frankenstein and the Creature immediately but I did not. On the drive home from Cheltenham to Liverpool I switched off the music and thought as hard as I could about what linked the curses. Eventually, somewhere on the M6, I thought of Frankenstein. This was 18 months ago and it probably helped that it was a dark, wet and miserable night. I immediately re-read the book by Shelley and was pleased to realise how much the Creature in the novel resembled Elvis. I felt it would serve a non-fiction book about his music because it would balance all the detail about his records.

Were you tempted to use the idea as a basis for a novel about Elvis?

Not at all. I do write fiction. I am writing a novel at the moment about a man who sleeps three nights at a time and has to deal with the prospect of losing two thirds of his life. I do not, though, like fiction that features Elvis as a character and I would hate to write a book that parodies Mary Shelley. There are too many parodies in the world of Elvis as it is. I respect Elvis and Mary Shelley too much. Treat Me Nice attempts to persuade people to think again about the music of Elvis and the book by Shelley. Both have been undervalued by too many.

5 comments

  1. I am COMPLETELY excited about your book and COMPLETELY bummed out by the fact that I can’t get it unless through the kindle.Could I send you an International Money Order at whatever price you decide and have you mail me one? To feel so excited and to have to wait for a second edition to come,when and if there ever is one,is beyond Hell.Thanks for your time.Sincerely ,Paul

  2. I am COMPLETELY excited about your book and COMPLETELY bummed out by the fact that I can’t get it unless through a kindle.Could I send you and International Money Order at whatever price you decide and have you mail me a copy.I’m thinking the answer is probably not but I have to try,as I don’t own a kindle and had no plans to buy one as I,like you,am a book lover.To feel so excited and to have to wait for a second edition to come out,when and if there ever is one,is beyond Hell,as decent books on Elvis are RARE. Thanks for your time.Sincerely,Paul

  3. Paul

    I will E mail you about this. We will sort it and I will give a discount so it does not cost you a fortune. Good to see you are excited about the book. It could take a couple of days but it will be resolved. Hope you also like the blogs. Sorry about it only being available on Kindle abroad. Other Elvis fans from abroad who, like Paul, prefer the book to the Kindle can also contact me and I will try and help. Thanks for the interest, Paul. Give my regards to Tony Soprano but do it carefully.

  4. Got home from my trip, and had your book waiting for me. What a nice surprise. I have to finish two books, Hitchens’ memoir and “The Art of Fielding” for my book club. Then, complete devotion to reading your book!

    Thanks for the speedy delivery!

  5. Hope you enjoy the book although, if it follows Hitchens and what I assume is a book about Henry Fielding, you may feel as if you are slumming it. Good to see it arrived okay.

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