Podcast 314 – in which Bethan Roberts talks about “Graceland”, her novel about Elvis and his mum

We were delighted to welcome Bethan Roberts to Word In Your Ear to talk about her novel “Graceland“. This is based on the most important relationship in the life of Elvis Presley. His mother Gladys brought him up single-handedly when his father went into prison, she encouraged his singing, she feared for what the girls would do to him and what the managers might take from him, wished he didn’t have to go away so often and would have preferred him to be a furniture salesman married to a nice local girl with some grandchildren on the way. Then, when he was undergoing basic training in the army, she died.

People say that Elvis was never the same after he went in the army. In fact he was never the same after his mother died. Bethan tells us about how she got the idea for the book, what fascinates her about the intense relationship between mother and son and while, as she explains, the odd incident may have been embroidered, the basic facts of her narrative are not in dispute. What’s most amazing, when you read “Graceland”, is that nobody’s written this story before. This book is highly recommended, not merely to fans of Elvis, but for anyone who wants to understand what sudden dramatic fame does to the nearest and dearest of the Famous One.