On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Janice Mitchell talks about writing her new book, My Ticket To Ride: How I Ran Away To England To Meet The Beatles And Got Rock And Roll Banned In Cleveland (A True Story From 1964).
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Janice Mitchell about her life and career, the experiences that inspired her to write My Ticket To Ride: How I Ran Away To England To Meet The Beatles And Got Rock And Roll Banned In Cleveland (A True Story From 1964), and her creative process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m Janice Mitchell, author of Amazon Best Selling book: “My Ticket To Ride: How I Ran Away To England To Meet The Beatles And Got Rock And Roll Banned In Cleveland (A True Story From 1964)” Published September 2021, Gray & Co. I’m also a nationally lauded award-winning investigator who has cracked major criminal and civil cases in New York City; and I’m a retired Federal investigator. I was dubbed “a modern-day Nancy Drew” by Rikki Klieman, attorney and tv personality, during a television interview about one incredible case I cracked.
“My Ticket to Ride…” is about an international adventure that began in Cleveland, OH. On December 26, 1963, at age 15, the instant I heard the first chord of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on my transistor radio, I became a Beatlemaniac. Soon after that my Beatle buddy and I crafted a plan to leave home and move to Beatleland — London and Liverpool forever.
During the summer of 1964 we got passports, one-way tickets and packed our bags. Also, during the summer, I unexpectedly hung out with the Rolling Stones and received a shocking invitation. In spite of the Stones, the morning after the Beatles Concert at Public Hall in Cleveland on September 15, 1964, I joined my friend, and we quietly boarded a plane destined for Heathrow Airport.
Carefree, we rented a super cool flat and lived the fab life exploring London, shopping on Carnaby Street, dancing to live music in Soho coffee bars and nightclubs, touring around with some very nice boys and even hitchhiking to Liverpool in search of the Cavern Club. Unbeknownst to us Scotland Yard was scouring Liverpool clubs for us. Even the Beatles got involved. Twenty-three days after our arrival, our incredible adventure ended suddenly and shockingly!
My sense of adventure and skills as a researcher and planner, led to an award-winning career as a criminal and civil investigator in New York City. I investigated cases involving international crime as well as high-media murders. But that is a topic for my forthcoming book.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I didn’t actually know that I wanted to write this book. I always told myself that I would write a book about my investigations, but never thought I’d write about my Beatles adventure. I had kept my adventure to myself for over 50 years.
In 1964, upon return to Cleveland, I was told by relatives, school, church, and juvenile court to not to speak of it, but it would be best to put it behind me and move forward with my life. Especially the result of having Rock and Roll and Beatlemania banned in Cleveland as a result, weighed heavily on me. Moving to New York City and finding my career helped me do to that.
However, I returned to Cleveland in 2004 and in 2016, after talking with a friend, I decided that it was time to share my story. Obviously this story had to be told before any other.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I started jotting down my memories. They were all so fresh because I had relived my wonderful time to myself many times throughout my life. It was my beautiful secret. I cherished my memories and writing them down brought them to life again. I had also kept some of the newspaper clippings. The news wrote about us daily both here in and in the UK. I gathered the news clippings that I had and began scouring libraries and online news services for more news articles. It was amazing how many there were.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I started seriously writing my manuscript in 2018 and my book was published September 2021.
What were your biggest challenges with writing My Ticket To Ride?
Although I’d written news stories and investigative reports, I’d never tackled writing a book before. So that was the first challenge. The biggest personal challenges involved revisiting my past and facing whether or not I wanted to reveal myself and my family life.
There were many difficult memories and realizations that I’d never faced before. I learned to accept the life I’d been dealt…. the things that happened to me and the things that I did. Sometimes it was gut wrenching. I spilled tears and laughter during the writing process. I learned to accept myself and the life I had been born into.
What was your research process for My Ticket To Ride?
My research started with a timeline of events beginning with my early childhood. I searched out my school records, genealogical information, tried to find police reports and any court records, obtained news articles from libraries in the U.S. and England, found calendars from 1964, researched television shows and tried to find radio programs from the time, searched for current and past information about the clubs we went to in Soho, searched for our studio flat. Travelled to London and Liverpool in an attempt to verify the locations of places such as the U.S. Embassy and the police station and tried to find other places we’d been.
How did you plan the structure of My Ticket To Ride?
The structure of the book was to first introduce just enough of my early childhood so that the reader could get an idea how I became so independent and such a survivor. I wanted the reader to know the girl who planned and implemented such a bold step at age 16 that led to an international search.
Then I just wanted to tell my story as it evolved and present the newspaper stories as my evidence that it was a true story. The news stories were crucial because we had no idea that there was any search going on. We didn’t watch television, listen to the radio, or read the newspaper. The book needed to make a parallel presentation.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did My Ticket To Ride need?
I actually did a good job by myself, but I knew I needed an editor. Editing is a must. I had three editors in succession as I searched for perfection. Finally, my publisher did a wonderful final edit.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Read books. The writer who influenced me the most regarding bringing the reader into my story was J.D. Salinger. I keep a copy of The Catcher in the Rye close at hand and turn to it when I need reminding to stick to my story. Charles Dickens spoke to my heart in David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. Finally, Victor Hugo’s powerful story, Jean Valjean, had a big impact on me as a teenager.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I’m working on my next book which is very different from My Ticket to Ride. It’s also a true story about some of the investigations I’ve been involved in during my career as a criminal and civil investigator in New York City.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I’m very proud, thrilled and happy with my accomplishment. It was definitely worth the all the effort. It’s changed my life. I’m amazed
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
“My Ticket to Ride: How I Ran Away to England to Meet the Beatles and Got Rock and Roll Banned in Cleveland (A True Story from 1964). Gray and Company, Publisher, Cleveland, OH.
Facebook: My Ticket to Ride Beatles Fan Book
We strive to keep The Table Read free for both our readers and our contributors. If you have enjoyed our work, please consider donating to help keep The Table Read going!