I Killed Jim Jones, Author’s Note

Although I recently have completed a rough draft of my novel, I Killed Jim Jones – the prologue of which is here – I am seeking more first-hand input before undertaking my next draft. In particular, I would welcome any commentary about the following matters:

• Personal observations, descriptions, anecdotes and opinions about some of the principal characters in Jonestown, i.e., Jim Jones, Marceline Jones, Carolyn Layton, Patricia Cartmell, Michael Prokes, Christine Miller, Johnny Jones, Jack Beam, Joyce Ann Parks, Sharon Amos, Annie Moore, Joe Wilson, Bob Houston, Dr. Larry Schacht.

• Observations about the workings of the Planning Commission with special emphasis on conflicts between various members, competitiveness, tensions, and cliques. Were there any warring factions? How did Jones keep order among all those competing for influence?

• Observations about whether there were any challenges to Jones’ leadership within the Peoples Temple. Had any groups within the church plotted to overthrow Jones? If not, why not? How did Jones handle threats to his leadership? Did any members openly challenge Jones’ fake healings and mind reading acts?

• Observations about why and how Marceline Jones put up with the various women Jones slept with? Also, personal observations about Jones’ use of drugs.

• Any personal observations about Christine Miller (e.g., her friends?, how she got along with others in Jonestown? etc.), the only one who openly challenged Jones at the final meeting. She is a most interesting character who has gotten little attention.

Please note that all correspondences will be regarded as confidential. I would be happy to call any respondents who prefer to communicate via phone. Send all responses to my email address: Arnold_Ludwig@brown.edu.

Originally posted on July 25th, 2013.

Last modified on January 3rd, 2014.
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