A Life Singular

Lorraine Pestell

Book Cover

GENRE

DRAMA ROMANCE

    Core Theme

    REBIRTH

    TIME PERIOD

    1980s & '90s,Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    P.S. I LOVE YOU; THE PAINTED VEIL; AMOUR; THE CHOICE

    CHARACTER LIST

    JEFF: 40S. LEAD. CONFIDENT AND MULTITALENTED.

    LYNN: 40S. JEFF’S LATE WIFE, PREVIOUSLY A TENNIS STAR.

    GARCIA: 40S. LYNN’S KILLER.

    KIERNEY: 18. JEFF AND LYNN’S DAUGHTER WHO STAYS BY JEFF’S SIDE AFTER LYNN’S DEATH.

    RYAN “JET”: 21. JEFF AND LYNN’S SON, AWAY AT SCHOOL IN ENGLAND.

    GERRY: 40S. JEFF’S MANAGER AND CLOSE FRIEND OF THE FAMILY.

    Logline

    A successful rock star, adored the world over as the people’s champion, is plunged into despair when his wife is murdered by a troubled misfit. Grieving amid a media frenzy, the musician and his teenagers relive their spectacular life and learn valuable lessons while writing the couple's autobiogra

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal,Female Leaning

    Setting

    Melbourne & Sydney, Australia; London; New York

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Lorraine Pestell

    Year Published: 2013

    Starting Description

    A well-respected celebrity couple who have just celebrated 20 years married fly to Sydney for to present a large donation at a charity function. Lynn checks into their hotel while Jeff parks the car. She takes a phone call for him in the lobby and is fatally shot by a hidden gunman.

    Ending Description

    The first book in the series ends with Jeff packaging up the final draft of the couple's autobiography. He surveys the collection of photographs to be included in the book, wondering what lies ahead and how long it will be before the soul-mates are together again.

    Group Specific

    Mental health, counselling, psychology, family

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-1-925151-10-7

    Mature Audience Themes

    Nudity,Substance Abuse, Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions,Twist,Coming of Age

    Plot - Premise

    Internal Journey/Rebirth,Tragedy

    Main Character Details

    Name: Jeff Diamond

    Age: 43/44

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Charming,Complex,Confident,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Heartthrob,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Masculine,Modest,Sexy,Outspoken,Funny,Romantic,Visionary,Seductive,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Lynn Dyson Diamond

    Age: 40

    Gender: Female

    Role: Emotional

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Charming,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Gracious,Heartthrob,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Modest,Obedient,Sexy,Patriotic,Selfless,Skillful,Visionary,Romantic,Seductive,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Juan Antonio GarcĂ­a

    Age: 46

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Criminal,Desperate,Insecure,Underdog,Uneducated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Juan Antonio GarcĂ­a

    Age: 46

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Criminal,Desperate,Insecure,Uneducated

    Development Pitch

    I wrote each part in the "A Life Singular" series with a movie or TV series season in mind. An epic family saga, laced with romance and the idea of eternal love through the ages, deals with complex contemporary social justice issues - such as mental illness, domestic and family violence, substance abuse, inequality and a lack of access to education - against a backdrop of a spectacular celebrity lifestyle. So much more than a love story, the series' themes are the importance of making the right choices, of supporting our loved ones to live their best life and the relentless passage of time. On the surface, Lynn and Jeff Diamond have it all: fame, fortune, two ambitious teenagers, stellar careers and plenty of opportunities to do change the world for the better. When Lynn is gunned down in a hotel lobby by a jealous misfit from his own hometown, Jeff’s idyllic life crashes down around him. Dealing with their grief in the glare of public anger at the senseless murder of half of Australia’s golden couple, Jeff and his children attempts to come to terms with the injustice by writing their autobiography. Working in parallel time periods, each series takes us on a fast-paced journey though the couple's climb to the highest heights. As their family and fortune grow, they gain ever more respect and adulation as they face and surmount incredible challenges. Firm in the belief that their love has already endured many lifetimes, Jeff plots a path to resume their life singular again.

    Genre

    ROMANCE, DRAMA, MATURE AUDIENCE

    Brief

    A celebrity family has their world rocked when the matriarch is killed in cold blood by a man targeting her husband. Her husband is racked with grief, missing his soulmate and trying to be remotely stable for his children, who are both young adults. The gunman is charged with her murder and found guilty, but it’s a small comfort. The husband decides to kill himself to join his love in whatever world comes next, but first he writes an autobiography of their life together.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Overall the book profile accurately reflects the book. The logline appears to be unfinished on the page, though. Juan Garcia also has two character entries, and perhaps Kierney could be included here instead.

    Draw of Story

    The Diamonds’ lifestyle is lavish and fun to explore for an audience who doesn’t have nearly that level of wealth. Audiences have always loved the draw of the rich and famous, and this is no exception. The love that Jeff and Lynn have for each other is also clear on the page, which is fantastic.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The pacing of the book is very slow, which is not helped by the epic number of pages. The plot is not meaty enough to support its length, hence the dragging pace. Potentially trimming hundreds of pages could form this into a romance book that really packs a punch due to Lynn’s death and the ensuing court trial. As it stands, there is not always a compelling reason to continue reading. The relationship between Jeff and Kierney also feels disturbing and borderline incestuous a number of times, which will be described more below.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    Jeff and Lynn’s eternal love is the singular hook in the novel. It’s clear that they genuinely care for one another, and it’s great that they’re so open about how they feel about each other. They engage with one another emotionally, sexually, and as the best of friends. Theirs really is an impressive love story, and the grief at that being cut tragically short is apparent.

    Fanbase Potential

    It’s unlikely this would have a large fanbase unless the story adapted was more focused. Right now, there’s not a specific audience being targeted, nor is it universal. It’s difficult to connect with Jeff or his children due to their extreme wealth and celebrity, which makes it difficult for a fanbase to grow. Jeff is at times sympathetic because of his past struggles with mental health, but those don’t feel current or organic.

    Awards Potential

    If the story were streamlined and focused either on Jeff’s characterization or the court case, and if more plot were inserted, it’s possible to see awards potential for the leading actors.

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    P.S. I LOVE YOU THE PAINTED VEIL AMOUR, THE CHOICE

    What’s New About the Story

    The only element that stands out as truly original is the Diamond family’s wealth and celebrity. Unfortunately, this ultimately works against the story by making the characters less relatable to an audience. Some of the court trial proceedings could be original, since the family is watching their wife/mother’s killer be tried. However as there is no new or exciting information presented during the trial, that’s not the case. For the story to stand out as unique, something unique must occur within it. The fact that Lynn is murdered is unique, especially as she’s a public figure, but that occurs in the first 30 pages. The following 670 pages lack that element of surprise or originality.

    Lead Characters

    The key thing that stands out about the lead characters is their fabulous wealth and celebrity, as well as their philanthropic deeds. Unfortunately, the audience is largely only told about those deeds which happened in the past are are not shown within the present day timeline of the story. This also happens with Jeff. Jeff isn’t really shown actively being good at anything, the audience is just told that he is perfect at nearly everything. He can even do the lawyers’ jobs for them. Jeff’s relationship with his children stands out, but in a somewhat negative light. The way he talks about and behaves toward Kierney often feels uncomfortable and near-incestuous, especially because it’s drawn in sharp contrast to the way he treats his son. When in Jeff’s point of view, Kierney is referred to as “the sultry teenager” (125) and he calls her “hot and sweet” (121). Jeff even makes a gay joke when Jet kisses him on the cheek, but he and Kierney are unnervingly physical throughout the book.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This book unfortunately isn’t a rare gem. Besides their celebrity and philanthropic work, nothing stands out about these characters. Their wealth, talent, and popularity works against them, because they’re all virtually perfect and thus not relatable to the audience. They have no flaws, and they feel flat. Beyond that, the story simply isn’t compelling. It feels like lessons are being taught to the audience about having a vibrant sex life, raising children, and being aware of one’s prejudices against others. While all those might be good messages, it feels often like Jeff is lecturing to others (and, by extension, the audience), and the plot stalls as a result. Finding a way to move the story forward in an organic way is necessary, and trimming pages is a good place to start. The story has to be pushed along for a reason, whereas the plot here is simply unfolding the way it would in real life. Jeff has very little impact on what happens next. Someone is killed, so there’s a murder trial, and thus the perpetrator is found guilty. There are no surprises, and Jeff’s presence in the story has no marked effect on that happening.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    The pacing of the book is very slow, which is not helped by the epic number of pages. The plot is not meaty enough to support its length, hence the dragging pace. Potentially trimming hundreds of pages could form this into a romance book that really packs a punch due to Lynn’s death and the ensuing court trial. As it stands, there is not always a compelling reason to continue reading. The relationship between Jeff and Kierney also feels disturbing and borderline incestuous a number of times, which will be described more below.

    Tips for Improvement

    Unfortunately the Diamond family isn’t very likable from the jump, because they’re simply a perfect, rich family. There are many scenes right off the bat that show how much of a happy, perfect family they are which don’t move the plot along. They’re not suddenly made likable or empathetic just because Lynn dies. She’s also far more likable than Jeff in the opening pages, and then she is, of course, lost. It’s also great that they’re charitably minded, but acting as though they solved poverty or world hunger in “lesser” countries almost comes off as bragging by extremely well-off people. Finding a way to empathize them to the audience is necessary. A way to do this might be to lean into any flaws they have, as well as showing them having more agency within the plot. The pace drags within the book because the plot is unfocused and not being driven forward by anything other than the calendar. If this is about Jeff writing the book, then it should be about that. It doesn’t transition into that until the last 100 pages. Similarly, if this is about reincarnation, then it should focus on that. It’s not clear why this story needs to be told. The majority of the book is eaten up by Garcia’s trial. While court cases are a popular thing to depict in media, that’s not the case here. It’s not interesting to watch a court case if there’s nothing shocking to it. The audience already knows who killed Lynn, he’s arrested right away, and he’s found guilty. The audience isn’t being convinced of his guilt, or of anything else. Typically this kind of story would involve a twist like Jeff somehow being framed for Lynn’s death, or potentially those around him suspecting him of being involved. There’s nothing shocking or unpredictable here. The following are smaller notes, but they impact the readability. The italicized font is difficult to read on the page. Characters being referred to as epithets instead of their names make the story difficult to follow, for instance, Jeff being “the skilled negotiator” (89) or “the hard-working celebrity” (695). This is a mistake seen in inexperienced writing, and in this novel these are used frequently and for nearly every character. This makes for a muddied read, and simply using the characters’ names is cleaner. The repetition of using character names is less distracting than using epithets, and it requires less from the reader as they don’t have to puzzle out which character is being referred to. Garcia is repeatedly referred to in racist ways, such as “beige offender” (260) and even “spic” (183). The characters even make fun of his accent and broken English. This is off-putting, even if he is a murderer.

    Brief

    After his wife of twenty years is killed in cold blood by an assassin that was after him, a multi-hyphenate celebrity is forced to reckon with a life without her. Though her killer is swiftly brought to justice and their children are handling their grief well, the celebrity finds himself unwilling to move beyond the love of his life. He plans to follow her into the afterlife after writing a book about their romance.

    What We Liked

    Jeff and Lynn’s love story is one for the ages. Jeff simply can’t exist without her by his side, as their souls are so closely tied together. Even after she passes, he can still feel her presence, and she guides him through the hard year following her death. This is a romance that proves that love survives beyond us, and it gives hope that we can meet those we love again and again throughout our personal journeys on this planet.

    Film: Jeff and Lynn’s romantic story is a great fit for a film adaptation, as the medium would really allow their relationship to shine. Jeff’s current grief and even the court trial for Lynn’s killer could be intercut with flashbacks to their relationship when they were younger. These are two people who truly love each other, and that makes for great fodder for the screen. A concise retelling of Lynn’s tragic death and everything that unfurls afterward while keeping a focus on their romance would make for a heartfelt and tearjerking premise.

    TV: This book would make for a great television adaptation because the supporting characters like Kierney, Jet, and Gerry could also be fully explored, while still keeping the focus on Jeff. A limited series would perfectly cover the year following Lynn’s death, and how it affects both this family and Australia as a whole due to Lynn’s celebrity status. It’s easy to see the sections of the book translated into arcs of a show, giving all the plot points their due.

    Key points: 1. Beautiful love story
    2. Frank discussions about controversial issues
    3. The fabulous lifestyle of the Diamond family
    4. Female co-lead in Kierney
    5. Puts an emphasis on philanthropic service

    Synopsis

    JEFF DIAMOND lives a charmed life in 1996. He’s a famous musician who married into an Australian dynasty, he has two beautiful children in KIERNEY and RYAN (“JET”), and his wife LYNN is the love of his life. The entire family is made of beautiful, talented people who are much beloved by the whole country, and well known worldwide. Jeff’s life comes crashing down when Lynn is shot and killed by JUAN ANTONIO GARCIA. Garcia had come to shoot Jeff, but when he didn’t see him, he took Lynn’s life instead. Garcia is arrested right away and confesses to the crime. Meanwhile Kierney sticks close to Jeff’s side, both of them grieving, and Jet flies home to be with them. Jeff’s manager and longtime friend GERRY also spends time with the family, as he’s close to all of them. Lynn’s PARENTS and FRIENDS help with the funeral planning, and Kierney helps to arrange a memorial service for the week after as a public event. This way everyone can say goodbye to Lynn while allowing the funeral to be private and intimate.

    Lynn and Jeff had written each other and their children letters throughout the years in case anything ever happened to them. The three remaining Diamonds read the letters together, sharing in the memories and the grief. Jeff is fortunate in that there was nothing unspoken between him and Lynn in their twenty year marriage. They were always open and honest, and even still had a lively sex life. They had matching tattoos, and Jeff’s begin to signal him to Lynn’s presence despite her death. It itches or hurts when she agrees with him, and when she doesn’t he hears discordant music in his head.

    Lynn’s letters to Jeff share that she viewed their love as everlasting. She never wanted to be apart from him and always wanted him to follow her. Jeff takes this literally, planning for when everything will be stable enough for him to take his own life. Some four months after the shooting, Garcia is brought to trial in a murder case. Because of Lynn’s popularity and all the publicity surrounding her death, it’s a media circus. Jet went back to school at Cambridge with Jeff’s encouragement. Jeff, Kierney, and Gerry attend, and Jeff often gives the PROSECUTION advice on how to move forward, trying to keep in mind that Garcia was an immigrant and not given the same privileges as Jeff himself.

    Jeff's father was also an immigrant, being born in New York of Polish Jewish parents and emigrating to Australia when he was six years old, though Jeff himself was born in Australia. Jeff struggled with mental health issues as well, but he sought help and moved past them. Garcia wasn’t so lucky, and he harbored intense jealousy for Jeff. He saw Jeff’s life as something he should have been able to achieve. Garcia’s WIFE is a huge Jeff Diamond fan, so his jealousy only festered. He had thought about killing Jeff many times, and finally bought a gun, found out where he would be staying, and came to do so. He confessed to the shooting, but tries to say that he was confused since he saw Lynn and not Jeff. The trial is a grueling affair with multiple expert witnesses, even including Jeff himself.

    The jury deliberates for several hours and finally come to an unanimous verdict that Garcia is guilty. The judge sends him to prison for life, with the possibility of parole in twenty years. The verdict brings some sense of relief and closure to the family, but it’s not enough for Jeff. In the summer, Jeff and Jet go on a long motorcycle trip together through parts of Europe. Jeff is still planning his departure from this world, something both Jet and Kierney are aware of. Jeff meets with a DOCTOR who is researching the ethics of suicide, and Jeff could become part of his study. Jeff declares Jet the CEO of their family company with Gerry’s full support. Back in Australia, Jeff begins to write he and Lynn’s love story down in the form of an autobiography. He finishes the book and fondly looks over old photos of him and Lynn together.

    About The Author

    Lorraine Pestell is a British Australian author of the contemporary fiction series “A Life Singular.” She has enjoyed a successful worldwide IT career despite being a lifelong sufferer of clinical depression and compound Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Lorraine's writing aims to demystify complex mental illness and social justice issues through an epic family saga, taking readers into a fascinating world of celebrity, music, and endless love.