Jordan Rodale interview #2
Saturday, May 27, 2023 – 11:30 a.m.
Jordan Rodale was Devlin Beauchamp's half-brother. Investigators have been trying to reach him since the day his brother was found dead.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy went back to talk to him again at his residence.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Jordan Rodale
Detective Murphy: Thank you for meeting with us again. I know this is repetitive, but for the record, could you please state your name and address?
Jordan Rodale: My name is Jordan Lucius Rodale, and I reside at 910 Old Taylor Road in Oxford, Mississippi. I'm not sure why we're talking again. I told you everything that might be helpful when we first met.
Detective Murphy: We often do follow-up interviews. It's pretty standard, really.
Detective Armstrong: Mr. Rodale, do you know how you stand in your brother's will?
Jordan Rodale: Do you mean, how much am I going to get? I really have no idea. On the one hand, I'm Devlin's only living relative, so it's possible that I would inherit a fair amount of his estate. On the other hand, my brother and I were never close, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if he left everything to some baseball player or something.
Detective Armstrong: Just for the sake of argument, let's say you didn't get anything from your brother's will. What would your reaction be?
Jordan Rodale: I shouldn't be surprised. I was completely cut out of my mother's will, and he and Mom were always conspiring against me, so he might very well have continued her tradition of keeping things from me, denying me.
Detective Murphy: What would you do? You sued for portions of your mother's estate. Would you do the same to gain control of some of your brother's assets?
Jordan Rodale: I really can't say. It's hard to talk about suing hypothetically. It depends on the spirit of the situation. It's not so much the amount he left me or didn't leave me. It's about the tone, whether he was being malicious or attacking.
Detective Murphy: If you could have any one item of your brother's, what would it be?
Jordan Rodale: Come on now, that's ridiculous. It's not like I went around saying, "Well, if Devlin were murdered, I could have that dining room table" or anything.
Detective Armstrong: We know you were interested in your mother's journals. Any chance you'd choose those if you could have only one thing from your brother's estate?
Jordan Rodale: Well, he and I had argued about them, as I told you in our first meeting, but it was just one of many disagreements. Over and done with.
Detective Armstrong: Right. Well, could you tell us what you're working on now?
Jordan Rodale: My literary project?
Detective Armstrong: Yes, that's right. You're a writer, correct? What are you writing?
Jordan Rodale: I'm not sure how to describe it. It's basically a memoir. A lot of it is about growing up homosexual in a small southern town. A lot is about my family. A lot is about life.
Detective Armstrong: I'm not much on literary stuff myself, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, but it seems to me that "a lot is about life" is pretty vague. Could you be more specific?
Jordan Rodale: I'm not finished with the book, you see, so if it's vague, it's because it's not a finished product we're discussing. However, I'm talking about growing up, always feeling the stares and hearing the whispers from everyone. It wasn't easy, I can assure you.
Detective Murphy: I'm sure it wasn't. We've heard you plan to discuss the death of your mother's first husband in the book. Is that true?
Jordan Rodale: Well, I'm not really finished. As I said, it's still very much in progress, but yes, there's a possibility that I may handle that topic. I don't believe a writer should hold back, so maybe that's in there.
Detective Murphy: If I understand correctly, they never really knew what happened to that man, Frederick Beauchamp. Do you have any ideas?
Jordan Rodale: There are the old rumors, of course. Some say he killed himself. Others say that he was killed. Most people believe that it was just a simple car wreck.
Detective Murphy: But you don't have any particular opinion?
Jordan Rodale: I don't have any inside information or detail, no.
Detective Armstrong: So, how were you going to treat this incident in the book if you don't know anything?
Jordan Rodale: That's the whole point. I describe my process of finding out.
Detective Armstrong: Would your mother's journals help you in this book at all?
Jordan Rodale: I'm sure they could probably provide some minor details and bits of information.
Detective Armstrong: Small details, huh? How important would your mother's journals be to this project?
Jordan Rodale: I don't know since I haven't finished it. I don't know what percentage is going to be about my family and what percentage is going to be about me. I just don't know.
Detective Armstrong: Like I said, I don't know much about books, so you'll have to cut me some slack, but how's this thing work here? You write the book, and then some company buys it? Or do they buy it, and then you write it?
Jordan Rodale: It works both ways in the industry, but in this case, my publisher has already bought the book. As long as I provide a worthy manuscript within the allotted time, they'll publish it.
Detective Murphy: And they've already paid for it?
Jordan Rodale: They gave me an advance against future royalties. It's common.
Detective Armstrong: How much exactly was this advance?
Jordan Rodale: I'm not sure I should go into those details. That's pretty personal.
Detective Armstrong: It's not like we're the checkout clerk down to the Kroger, Mr. Rodale. We deal with personal information all the time in our business. Besides, you didn't seem to think it was too personal when the papers ran all the articles about the deal you signed. You were smiling pretty big in those pictures.
Jordan Rodale: Oh, well, that's common, you see. I don't really like all that attention, but they do that—for the publicity. I'm much more private, but my agent and editors make me do that promotion stuff.
Detective Murphy: Yes, I'm sure it's difficult for you, but back to the question. How much was the advance?
Jordan Rodale: I really can't tell you because so much of it went to the lawyers, agents, and taxes. The total advance was about $300,000, but I'm honestly not exactly sure how much I personally took home.
Detective Armstrong: That's quite a bit of money.
Jordan Rodale: I suppose. It's not like the good old days when every first-time novelist got $700,000 or $800,000, but I've written several successful books, so I'm a known quantity. Also, memoirs are popular right now, so all of that probably contributed to the advance amount.
Detective Murphy: Could you describe your financial situation to us?
Jordan Rodale: What do you mean?
Detective Murphy: Well, you just got a large sum of money in the last couple of years, so I assume you're pretty affluent.
Jordan Rodale: Yes. Well, it's all a matter of perspective. I'm comfortable. I, uh, wouldn't call it wealthy, but I guess I have been blessed. Yes. But one can never have enough money, right? It just never seems to be enough.
Detective Armstrong: You probably spend a lot, too, don't you? I mean, that architect boyfriend runs in some pretty ritzy company. It probably costs you a lot to keep up, I would think.
Jordan Rodale: We do like to enjoy life. No harm in that, I can assure you. What's the point of making money if you don't spend it?
Detective Armstrong: But you wouldn't describe your spending as out of control. You're financially okay? No worries?
Jordan Rodale: Of course, I have worries. Who doesn't? But I'm not living on the streets, digging through garbage cans.
Detective Armstrong: You had to repay an advance once, didn't you?
Jordan Rodale: Yes. Unfortunately, a publisher and I didn't see eye-to-eye on a project, and I had to repay the advance.
Detective Murphy: That must have been very difficult.
Jordan Rodale: Yes. Financially and emotionally.
Detective Armstrong: What if you have to repay the $300,000 on this current book?
Jordan Rodale: I can assure you that won't happen.
Detective Armstrong: But let's just say you did have to. Could you? You haven't spent it all, have you?
Jordan Rodale: I already told you that I was fine.
Detective Armstrong: So, I'm just talking off the top of my head here, but let's say you weren't in good shape financially. It seems to me that you could either really use your brother's money or you could really use those journals. Either way, you get out of the hole. I'm just talking hypothetically.
Jordan Rodale: Yes, I guess you're right, but that has nothing to do with the situation. I cannot tell you any more than I already have. I am fine financially!
Detective Armstrong: So, last summer, when Neilson's had to file court proceedings against you to get you to pay your account, what was that?
Jordan Rodale: Well, that was an administrative error. It simply got overlooked—an oversight. My assistant lost the bills.
Detective Murphy: Is this the same assistant who "lost" our messages when we were trying to contact you? Seems to me this guy isn't working out too well.
Jordan Rodale: He's fine. It was just a mistake. I'm probably the one who misplaced the paperwork.
Detective Armstrong: So money is not a problem?
Jordan Rodale: For the last time, no!
Detective Murphy: Okay, okay. I'm sure you understand that we have to ask these questions as part of our investigation into your brother's death. I hope we haven't upset you too much.
Jordan Rodale: No, of course not, but I think we've sufficiently covered that subject. Is there anything else? I do have other things to do today.
Detective Murphy: I think that'll do, for now, Mr. Rodale. We'll be in touch if we have any more questions. Thanks for your time.
Interview ended – 11:58 a.m.