“More Than Tongue Can Tell,” Co-Authored by Paul Miles Schneider and Andrea King herself, is now available exclusively through Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. The book includes personal photographs and letters from Andrea’s past! ORDER NOW by CLICKING HERE!
by Paul Miles Schneider
It’s hard to believe more than two decades have passed since Andrea and I first sat down and talked seriously about writing a book together. First came the interviews, the hours of tape-recorded Q&As where I would race home afterward and write everything down in an outline … in pencil … with real paper—definitely “analog, old-school” back then. I wasn’t starting from scratch with the subject matter, either. From the moment I first met Andrea King in January of 1987, we connected and became the best of friends. I was in my mid-twenties, and Andrea was in her late-sixties. My mother Jo Anna Clift made the introduction, and there was an instant bond between us. Andrea and I shared comparable outlooks, a similar perspective of the arts and creativity, a common curiosity about human nature, and a hopefulness that we could get through life, no matter what. Above all, though, we shared a sense of humor. And that, my friends, is everything. The ultimate survival tool in a world filled with great highs and lows is knowing how to laugh even on the darkest of days.
I think that’s what I remember most about her now. She has been gone since April of 2003, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.
We did write our book together. It took us the better part of two years to do it. Andrea’s life was far from ordinary. She had been on Broadway as a teenager in the 1930s and a film star at Warner Bros. in the 1940s. I still see her excellent work on Turner Classic Movies all the time. She also faced darker challenges of a deeply personal nature—alcoholism, rape, and child molestation, to name only a few. Her mother Belle passed away just four months before I met Andrea, and Belle was equally fascinating. She grew up next door to Thomas Edison on a farm in the 1880s, danced with Isadora Duncan in New York, and drove an ambulance on the front lines in World War I. Belle enjoyed her cigars and her scotch, and she lived to be 101 years old. This time span ended up being the framework for our story: a century in the lives of two extraordinary women.
Although Andrea and I gave it a solid shot getting this book published, nothing came from our efforts, and the book never did see the light of day. It was packed away on a shelf, and there it sat, gathering virtual dust, until a few months ago.
I decided to revisit it. After my first two novels were published, I looked for something to do next—a change of course. One day, I thought I would reach into my past instead and read through this story again. It had been a dozen years since I last cracked it open and took the journey with Andrea and Belle. I was surprised at how much I still loved it and how alive Andrea seemed within the pages. She and her mother weren’t perfect people. They made mistakes just like the rest of us, but they persevered, went after their dreams with enormous zeal, and accomplished great things.
So, with that in mind, I dusted off our manuscript, tinkered a little, did another full edit, and now I am releasing it myself, on our behalf. Our book is finally seeing the light of day, thanks to the marvelous developments in self-publishing and this strange new invention called the Internet. Way back in 1990, it was not available to us, but I can now share this incredible story with you. From a sprawling farm in Ohio to the front lines of battle in France to a Hollywood soundstage … it’s all here. And I have to think that Andrea would be thrilled.