I've had a lot of questions about Strings over the
years. This FAQ is designed to answer the most common ones--but
you can still email
me with more!
What does the "D." in D. Aviva Rothschild stand
Deborah. Don't use it, never did. Adding the "D." to
my writing name is pure pretention.
How do you pronounce "Aviva"?
ah-VEE-vah. It's Hebrew and means "life" or "spring."
Do you use "Aviva" because Ringo appeared in
that ad? Hell no! I've been using Aviva since I was 13 days old.
Are you related to the famous banking Rothschilds?
It's highly unlikely. My father's father's family came from one
of those fluid Eastern European areas that has been variously
Russian or Polish, and the "real" Rothschilds were
German. I personally believe that Grampa's family adopted the
name for luck when they came to the US.
Have you really been writing With Strings Attached
for 29 years? Yeah. I started in early 1980 at age 15. By tradition, I
give the book George Harrison's birthday (Feb. 25) because I
can't remember the exact date when I started, but I almost certainly
started in January of that year. Also, between 1993 and 1997
and between June 2002 and the end of 2008 I didn't work on it
Where did you get all those ideas for Strings?
From my head, of course! Less glibly, I have too many inspirations
to mention; they run the gamut from books to games to TV to movies.
Also, I was trying to make a concerted effort to subvert standard
Are you or any of your friends in the book as characters?
In limited ways. Shag has echoes of a very humorless version
of me in my late teens, but she's really not me. Jeft is a mashup
of some annoying gamers I've known. Sapsa is physically based
on a friend of mine at the Denver Center Theatre Company. Here's
his picture. Russ is a helluva lot nicer and saner than Sapsa!
Finally, there are a couple of shout-outs to Susan
and Jim Ryan in chapter 22. But all the other fictional characters
are original creations.
Will you post Keys? Probably not. I did post chapter 1, and I may change my mind
about posting other chapters later, but right now, I have no
plans to post more.
Are you going to deal with John and George's deaths? Possibly. It won't be in Keys, though. Assuming I
finish Keys, there's a third book to be written (The
Teeth of Their Skins), and I may deal with John's death there.
If I feel like writing a fourth book (and I dunno about that;
I don't really like the scenario for it), it will definitely
deal with both his and George's deaths. (It will probably be
set just a week or so after George dies.)
Is Strings just a big dream of Paul's?
No, despite what some descriptions of the story say. "It
was all a dream" is a huge copout. The four actually travel
to C'hou and have to deal with the consequences of having been
missing for four days of Earth time when they finally return
home. They will talk about these consequences in Keys.
Why are there two versions of Strings on the Internet?
I originally posted chapters on Writer's Cramp, the zine of a
friend, to take advantage of his existing audience. When I decided
to start my own zine, I wanted to move Strings over to
it, and to rewrite some parts of Strings that didn't satisfy
me. But my friend never returned my emails, and I soon discovered
that he'd dropped off the Internet without taking down Writer's
Cramp. He basically vanished into thin air. [He has since contacted
me again.] I couldn't remove it myself, so it sat on the Net
for 12 years until GeoCities itself was removed. Unfortunately,
I think there's still a Tripod version that I completely forgot
about, an old website of mine, and I sure don't have the password
for it. It barely shows up in searches, though, so it's not nearly
Who's your favorite Beatle?
I don't answer that question any more because it changes all
What's your favorite Beatles song?
In no particular order: "A Hard Day's Night," "I
Am the Walrus," "A Day in the Life," "Something."
There are only a handful of Beatles songs I don't like.
How do you feel about slash?
I have no particular animosity towards slash per se; I feel about
it the same way that I feel about heterosexual romance or sex
stories about the Beatles, which is to say, Y-A-W-N. I have never
been interested in reading stories where sex and/or interpersonal
relationships are the only things that take place. Really, they
say far more about the authors and their fantasies than they
do about the Beatles.
Will you read my Beatles story?
Sorry, no. I don't have time to read and comment on anybody's
Do you have any advice for beginning writers? Just the same stuff you've probably heard a million times:
read widely, write a lot, and learn to take criticism. Study
some psychology if you have the opportunity. Above all, understand
yourself. Once you understand why you behave the way you
do, you'll start to understand why other people act the way they
do. And even if you plan to write in one genre, like romance,
read a lot in other areas as well. Remember, one of the reasons
the Beatles were so good was that they were influenced by a wide
range of music, well beyond simple rock 'n' roll: R&B, folk,
country, Broadway, classical, crooners, Indian music, reggae,