It is with much anticipation that we are thrilled to introduce our readers to our newest writer, a Beatles aficionado and a John Lennon expert, JUDE SOUTHERLAND KESSLER! She’s a homegrown girl, but has traveled the world in her quest to discover the life intracacies and facts of John Lennon … his life, his band mates, his story … everything! Please dive into this wonderful bio and welcome Jude to our family! It’s a pleasure to have you aboard 318Central.com, Jude!
Jude Southerland Kessler
Author, The John Lennon Series
Jude Southerland Kessler was born in Alexandria, LA, grew up in Alexandria and later, Natchitoches, Louisiana, the city where “Steel Magnolias” was written, filmed, and actually took place. Surrounded by artists (such as Clementine Hunter) and writers (Robert Harling, Lyle Saxon, Francois Mignon, Lalita Tademy, and others), Jude decided at an early age that she, too, wanted to be an author.
In 1971, Jude attended Northwestern State University, getting two degrees (in English and history) in three years with a 4.0 average. She won a graduate assistantship to The University of Maryland in 1974 and received her master’s degree in English in 1976.
Jude has taught English on the junior high, high school, and college levels. She was an English instructor at The University of Maryland and at Troy State University in Alabama.
In 1986, Jude began researching and compiling The John Lennon Series, a 9-volume definitive work on the life of John Lennon. She collected an extensive Lennon library of over 300 books, numerous interview CD’s and DVD’s, and stacks of periodicals and interview tapes. In 1993, she took the first of seven trips to Liverpool, England to interview John Lennon’s childhood friends, early band members, art college mates, and business associates.
Establishing a reputation as America’s foremost Lennon expert, Kessler began to speak to organizations across the United States. She was the Guest Speaker for the Pennsylvania state convention of the Daughters of The British Empire. She wrote for the Kansas City Beatlefan magazine and toured the United States interviewing “Beatle people” living in this country (including John Lennon’s close friend, May Pang, George Harrison’s sister, Louise, and Paul McCartney’s sister, Ruth).
In late November of 2007, Kessler finished writing and published the first narrative history in The John Lennon Series, the result of twenty years of research into Lennon’s life. Entitled Shoulda Been There, it is a scholarly work, including an Encyclopedia of Real Characters (with bios of each individual who influenced Lennon’s early life), a Scouse (Liverpudlian) Glossary, and annotations for each chapter. This narrative history reads like a story, although it is a researched and footnoted work.
In 2010, Kessler released the second volume in The John Lennon Series, Shivering Inside. This book (formatted identically with Shoulda Been There) details John’s life from 1961 (when The Beatles acquired a manager and left Liverpool) to mid-April 1963 when the band rose to British fame and stood on the brink of “The British Invasion” of America. Then, in 2014, Kessler released She Loves You, Vol. 3 in the Series, chronicling the mad, mad era of 1963-early 1964 when The Beatles topped the charts, played the Royal Command performance, and did 3 show-stopping performances on The Ed Sullivan program, taking America by storm!
Kessler has just published the fourth volume in that series, Should Have Known Better (1964) in which The Beatles make the movie, “A Hard Day’s Night,” go on a World Tour, a North American Tour, and a U.K. Tour as well as producing the Hard Day’s Night LP and their Beatles for Sale LP.
For seven years, Kessler served as the Chairperson for The Authors and Artists Symposium for Arkansas’ “Beatles At The Ridge” festival, and she also chaired the GRAMMY Museum of Mississippi Beatles Symposium in 2017.
Kessler has been selected as a Guest Author for The Fest for Beatles Fans in New York City, Chicago, and Las Vegas, as well as serving as Guest Author for BeatlesFestWest in San Francisco and BEATEXPO in Stanford, CT. She was the “2008 Featured Author” for the Melrose Arts Festival in Louisiana and was a keynote speaker for the Philadelphia “Women’s Night of Commerce” in April 2009, at Penn State Altoona’s “Beatles International Conference” in February 2014, and at the University of Pennsylvania’s “Tomorrow Never Knows International Symposium” in February 2014.
Currently touring the United States speaking to civic groups, book clubs, and social organizations, Kessler also co-hosts the podcast, “She Said She Said,” with Lanea Stagg, author of The Recipe Records Series. They debate rock’n’roll topics and have interviewed noted Beatles authors Ivor Davis, Jim Berkenstadt, Bruce Spizer, and Scott Freiman as well as famous personalities Roag Best (Pete’s brother) and Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame lead guitarist, Elliot Easton of the Cars. Kessler has been featured on the BBC’s “Up All Night” radio show and Rod Quinn’s ABC “Up All Night” from Australia. She is also a monthly guest on BBC’s “Martin Kelner” show on Radio Leeds.
Kessler’s books sell via:
They are also available on all e-book formats, including Kindle and Nook.
Follow Jude on Facebook at:
On Twitter at: @JudeKessler