Many theories surround the death of Elvis Presley, now imagine that he didn't actually died. On the novel 'Saving the King' published earlier this year, The King is given a second chance.
In an interview with the authors, George and Christine Gomez talk about the fascinating novel where Elvis Presley is granted a second chance. The time is 1956 at the venerable Ryman Auditorium, where a young Elvis Presley saves a defenseless ten-year-old boy from a menacing stranger after a sold-out performance, launching a chain of events that ultimately leads to a mystical encounter with an Angel who sends Elvis on a journey that redesigns his destiny. The young boy re-enters Elvis’ life as a rich and powerful international businessman who devises a brilliant but shocking plan orchestrated by Johnny Cash that forces The King to confront his demons and addictions. The imaginative unfolding of the story is so realistic that it actually makes the reader believe Elvis never died.
George Gomez was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Nashville. Although, most of his family resides in Miami and throughout South and Central Florida, his parents migrated to Tennessee when he was a little kid. As a result, he has been a lifelong Elvis Presley fan. Moreover, Christine Gomez born and raised in Northern California became a very big fan of Elvis when George's passion “won her over.” Both, husband and wife are professionals, Christine is a software developer and George a psychiatric registered nurse. The inspiration for writing the novel emerged from the desire of a different ending on Elvis' life. George expressed “I wanted to personally feel a sense of closure for his great life.” He also added that he wanted to share it with the millions of fans that felt cheated over Elvis' death. Thus, in 2013 they teamed up to write a screenplay that later became the novel “Saving the King.”
When did you start writing this novel and how long did it take you to finish?C. We actually started with a screenplay of the story in early 2013 which took about three or four months and a few months of revisions after that. Once the screenplay was finished, we started the book which took another few months. All the hard work we put into the screenplay gave us a huge head-start when writing the novel. We already had the storyline, the characters, the dialog and the sequencing so it made writing the book a lot easier than it would have been otherwise.
How much of Elvis’ real life is involved in the screenplay?
C. The story is a fictional tale, but there are a lot of real life details from people and events in Elvis’ life that are woven throughout the book which helps to bring the story to life.
What part of the story was the most challenging to develop?
C. Jumping between fantasy and reality and traveling through time via flashbacks was a challenge to make sure the story flowed well and remained consistent.
In the story Elvis did not actually die. How do you feel in real life? Do you believe he could still be alive?
G. That answer is a big No. All the conspiracy theories that were floating around, I just never believed it for a second.
C. I never felt that he faked his death, and to leave his family behind would not be something he would have done. So it's a No for me also, but I can understand why people would want to hold onto that hope.
Why do you think after so many years people feel "hope" that Elvis is still around us?
G. Because of the love he gave to his millions of fans. When you love someone so much, there is some denial in believing that person is gone. And of course, he was larger than life.
C. He was so charismatic and had captivated an entire generation with his music. People don’t want to let go of him.
Do you remember how you felt when you heard he died in 1977? What were you doing?
G. I felt shocked. I felt sad. I felt cheated that this larger than life man died so young and way too soon at 42 years old. I was 16 and it was hot, muggy Tuesday night in August. I just finished dinner and then it hit the airwaves.
C. I felt a sense of loss for the music world. I remember that I couldn't believe he died so young. It was a shock. I was sitting on the swing set in my backyard and a neighbor friend popped her head over the back fence and told me that Elvis died. She had tears in her eyes and I felt sorry for her.
How did the Elvis fans react about the unfolding of the story?
G. I ask people to go to Amazon and read the reviews of our book. You’ll see many comments from true Elvis fans that loved it. They feel drawn into the story and feel close to him.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
G. Exceptional. Not one bad review. We would, of course, like to get more. We gave away close to 1200 free eBooks during Memorial Day weekend in honor of Elvis’service to our country in the Army. We’re hoping to see many more reviews as those people finish reading the copy.
Tell me about the cover, how you came out with it? Why did you choose that picture for the cover?
C. In the book, Elvis saves a young boy’s life, and that boy grows up to be a very powerful man who in turn saves Elvis’ life. With that in mind, it was a very fitting picture for the cover. Much of the story takes place on a tropical island and that explains the backdrop on the cover with the beach, the ocean, and the palm tree.
Did you achieve your expectations with the publishing of this novel?
G. We’ve exceeded our expectations. We had no idea we’d get all this attention, but we’re glad because this story deserves to be told.
Is this the first novel you've written?
G. Yes, it’s the first for both of us.
Are you currently working on another novel, perhaps a sequel of this book?
C. As a matter of fact, we’ve already started it. We planted some seeds in the first novel that we will expand on in the sequel. We have some great ideas, so stay tuned.
Are you planning a book signing in South Florida or surrounding areas soon? G. Hopefully in the near future. I have family in Florida. My brother is a physician in West Palm Beach. So maybe we will be able to set something set up. We’ll let you know if we do.
What is the Elvis Presley Foundation? How involved are you with this foundation? G. 5% of the proceeds of the book will be given to the Presley Charitable Foundation, which was started in 2007 by his daughter, Lisa Marie. Christine and I felt compelled to give back. Elvis was so charitable and literally gave the shirt off his back to help others.
What's your favorite Elvis Presley song?
C. That's easy, "Blue Suede Shoes"
G. Now that's not fair at all. Out of his 700 songs I have to pick only one? Okay, let me pick a few..."Are You Lonesome Tonight," "Fame and Fortune," "Forget Me Never," and probably my favorite "If I Can Dream."
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