How did you come to write the book?
I am a big fan of Sinatra, always have been, with ardor enough to sustain a book-length project and survive the process with no diminution of the joy I feel when I hear him sing "All of Me" or "April in Paris" or "Time After Time." A friend asked whether I listen to him daily and when I said yes she said why don't you write a book, and I was quickly persuaded. I wrote a proposal, got a contract, got to work.
How did you come to settle on the final form of the book?
I had plenty of material and some fresh insights. But how would I organize the book, how would I distinguish it from others on the shelf? There were many, many false starts before I hit on the solution of dividing the book into 100 "notes," each of which could stand as a self-contained entity. Once that idea planted itself in my head, I went to town with it. I've never had more fun writing a book.
Lists have become a popular form of presenting material in this digital age. Was that a consideration in the form of the book?
There are lists in Sinatra's Century -- section 13 includes a list of Italian American singers, who, with one exception, changed their given names, while section 24 is an annotated playlist of 40s songs. I love lists -- whether in Whitman's "Song of Myself" or Cole Porter's "You're the Top." That said, I didn't think of Sinatra's Century as a list or as the outgrowth of my fondness for lists. In my mind the conceit of 100 sections as a symbolic gesture on the 100th anniversary of his birth grew into a form. I call it the century, the key element being the division into one hundred parts. The century is elastic enough to allow for switching gears. You can write one note in the present tense and the second-person point of view while another might consist exclusively of anagrams derived from the name Sinatra.
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