Shopping malls were essential to my emotional well-being as a teenager in the 1980s - from Aladdin's Castle arcade to Waldenbooks to Spencer's Gifts.
Dandelion Crossing is my unpublished collection of linked short stories, set in a suburb of a large Midwestern city in November 1983.
The book follows fourteen characters diverse in gender, age, race and sexual orientation who work at or visit the title mall -- from a gay arcade manager who forges a tentative friendship with a Vietnam veteran, to a brave elderly widow who ventures to the New Wave mall salon to receive a perm. Their individual stories - which come together to form the larger, overarching narrative - chart how different people of various classes and backgrounds live, love, struggle and survive during this era of Reagan's America, where racism and homophobia were as undeniably present as they are today.
I really admire the work of directors like Robert Altman (Nashville and Short Cuts) and Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia and Boogie Nights), that features multiple characters intersecting, interacting and affecting each other’s lives in ways both large and small. I think my diverse cast of characters will appeal to a wide range of readers, and I hope this book will be the first in a series.
The manuscript was a finalist for the 2021 Elixir Press Fiction Award, which gives me added hope that it truly deserves a publishing home.
If you want to learn more, please drop me a line!