The Moonflowers, book 3

by Joni Abilene

When I wrote The Moonflowers I never imagined there would be a second book much less a third, but each character that came out of that novel burrowed itself in me, each one’s spur pricklier than the last. Jane Day was a slow, happy fire. I felt compelled to recount what it would be like to exist as a housewife circa 1970-ish middle America, and I have to admit, writing what was basically marital rape made me depressed; a scene like went beyond my emotional levels. Despite that, I loved the progression of Jane’s tenacity: throughout the novel she managed to kick her husband out, find a job and a lover. Indeed, the summer I wrote The Moonflowers was incredible and fun–the novel itself set in the Bicentennial. And after its completion I thought, hmm, isn’t there something else here?

So then came Keith. His voice jumped out of my brain like a shark; his fire was a mad teenage urgency with zits and burning sexuality. I became Keith, and loved every minute of it. Perhaps I’ve always wanted to be a boy. It sure felt good. But it also felt wild and messy and suffocating. As I slipped away and this primal kid took over, everything became smoking, swearing, guitars, chicks, and trouble (not for me literally, but the essence of understanding was there). Being a domesticated refugee, that was a bit difficult to grip. So I wrote the book quick and brushed my palms together in relief.

And then came Sally. The most urgent of all. The most unwilling, bitchy, bored, cussing, fireball of womanhood in teenage form you’d ever come across. Still exhausted from the last novel, I took her in stride and kept her there in good measure. In intervals I wrote, quieting down the chaos in between. Most surprising was Gerald, the Texas conman with a camera to lure innocents in. Well, Sally wasn’t so innocent, and she went willingly. What got to me was their conversations. A high school senior and an aging divorcee shouldn’t have such compelling banter, but they did. It touched me. In the eyes of the world, both of them were social misfits, outcasts, and perhaps that’s what drew them together.

So, in this last book, perhaps my last in a good long while as I’ve decided to take a sabbatical from writing, I hope you enjoy Sally and Gerald’s conversations. Love and Lust at the Dairy Stop Café is now available on Amazon in ebook form. I hope you enjoy it, and thank you for the love.