In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and his daughter Theodora have opened about their collaboration on a children's book called "Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar." Keith Richards (who is 70) wrote "Gus & Me" with Barnaby Harris and Bill Shapiro, while Theodora Richards did the illustrations. In the Harper's Bazaar interview, Richards said that the book wasn't his idea, but it was his idea to have Theodora do the illustrations.
As previously reported, "Gus & Me" (published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) goes on sale in hardcover and eBook formats on Sept. 9, 2014, with the hardcover edition including an exclusive audio CD featuring bonus book content. According to Little, Brown, the world English rights acquisition was made by Tingley, who will also edit the book. It will also be published simultaneously in the U.K. by Orion Children’s Books, an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, a division of Hachette U.K.
Keith Richards' 2010 memoir "Life" won numerous awards and was an international bestseller: 2 million copies worldwide, according to Little, Brown and Company, which published "Life."
This is Little, Brown Books for Young Readers' description of "Gus & Me": "Long before there was a band, there was a boy: a young Keith Richards, who was introduced to the joy of music through his beloved granddad, Theodore Augustus Dupree, affectionately known as Gus, who was in a jazz big band and is the namesake of Keith’s daughter Theodora Dupree Richards. 'Gus & Me' offers a rare and intimate look into the childhood of the legendary Keith Richards through this poignant and inspiring story that is lovingly illustrated with Theodora Richards’ exquisite pen-and-ink collages. This unique autobiographical picture book honors the special bond between a grandfather and grandson and celebrates the artistic talents of the Richards family through the generations. It will also include selected photographs from the Richards family collection."
In the September 2014 issue of Harper's Bazaar, Richards had this to say: "My granddad was the one who turned me on to music ... But this book didn't come from me. It was put forward as an idea that some other guys had come up with about certain chapters in 'Life.' They said, 'These would make a great kids' book.' So I said, 'Yeah.' I was about to become a grandfather for the fifth time, and I had a father who likes to do illustrations, and I felt I could keep it in the family, and I did also want to bring Gus back to life again."
Richards added, "Theo has always been a little bit of an illustrator, and she did a lot of research. She also wanted to know more about her great-grandfather. She would call me up frantically on some nights saying, 'What hat did grandpa wear?' And 'Where the hell is Primrose Hill?' So I sent her on a little journey."
Theodora Richards told Harper's Bazaar: "I literally stayed inside for months doing drawings of London and Dad's face and grandpa's shoes and the dogs and the armchairs and cakes and the landscape."
Theodora also commented that her father has mellowed with age: "I love seeing Dad now with his five grandkids. You know, 10 years ago my dad never would have watched a musical. He'd make fun of them ... But now, he'll watch 'Frozen' and all the Disney stuff with his grandchildren."
She also said that Keith has become less judgmental about the pop music that his kids or grandchildren might like: "When I started to fall in love with Justin Timberlake, my dad definitely let me know he had a stink about it. He was like, 'It sounds so tinny.' It wasn't his style ... But I think he's simmered down now to the grandfatherly ways of being like, 'Oh, I'm going to see what the kids are interested in ...' Poke his head in."
Keith had this perspective: "Now I search for talent in my grandkids — and some of them have got some. They probably listen to what most kids listen to because I don't influence them in any way ... But I'm not there to judge musical tastes or anything. I just observe."
Theodora (born on March 18, 1985) is one of two daughters of Keith Richards and Patti Hansen, who have been married since 1983. Theodora has worked as a model and a nightclub DJ. According to Little, Brown, "she has taken art classes at various schools in New York City, including the New York Academy of Art and the School of Visual Arts. In order to research the images for this project, she traveled to the Richards family home in Dartford, England, and pored over family and historical photographs of Richards’ childhood."
Keith Richards and Patti Hansen's other daughter is Alexandra (born on July 28, 1986), who is also a model and a DJ. Keith has two other children (son Marlon and daughter Angela) from a previous relationship with ex-girlfriend Anita Pallenberg. Keith Richards and Pallenberg also had a son named Tara, who passed away of sudden infant death syndrome at 3 months old in 1976.
As previously reported, Angela (born on April 17, 1972) gave birth to son Otto on Feb. 6, 2014. Otto is Keith's fifth granddchild. Angela Richards and Graham Whitney (who got married in 1998), also have a 3-year-old-daughter named Ava Melody.
Keith Richards' eldest child, Marlon (born on Aug. 10, 1969), has three children with his wife Lucie de la Falaise: Ella Rose (who is 18), Orson (who is 14) and Ida (who is 5).