Annie’s life in Virginia at the turn of the century was perfect until she discovers a nasty family secret. Something her parents have been doing for years.
Now she knows, she cannot continue to live like this, but her protests fall on deaf ears.
How can she hope to change what has become a way of life for her family?
Her struggle to change everything only makes her life so much worse, forcing her to try to escape. How far must she run to escape the truth?
Can Annie make a new life for herself, or will they hunt her down and bring her back?
The writing of Bad Moon
(An informal interview with Anita Dawes)
Today I have dragged Anita away from her writing desk and forced her to sit and talk to me about my favourite book (and I suspect, hers too)
Good morning Anita, make yourself comfortable and tell us how you came to write Bad Moon?
Hello Jaye, this is all a bit strange for me. I haven’t done anything like this before. I began to write when I couldn’t stand all the voices in my head. They would not let me rest until I told their story, and once I started, I couldn’t stop!
I just love the people from West Virginia in America, their philosophy and their way of thinking.
What decided the plot of Bad Moon? Was it just your imagination, or did something trigger it?
I was in a bad place at that time in my life, and I think escaping into another world, even one that was not sweetness and light, helped me a lot. There was a song that caught my interest, from Credence Clearwater Revival, about a ‘Bad Moon Rising’. You could say that that was my inspiration right there. I think song lyrics are very emotive. You can usually come up with a good story to go with them. My book turned out to be the usual story of good and evil; you cannot get away from it in nature or human beings. Maybe knowing what I was writing was not real helped me. It is possible.
Is Annie a biographical character? Did you see yourself in her at all?
No, I don’t think so. She turned out to be stronger than I could ever be.
She seems a lot like you, somehow.
Does she? It was not intentional. My mother inspired the creation of Annie’s mother, and Annie’s father reminds me of one of my stepfathers. A long-suffering doormat. And Annie’s relatives remind me of crows at a funeral.
But in the book, Annie’s father seems like a nice chap?
Yes, but he is weak, and unable to control his wife or her relatives.
Why did the title lose the word ‘rising’? And where did the idea for Pa’s grotesque carvings come from? They do sound fascinating…
I had to change the title because there were just too many books with the same title. The idea for the carvings came from my imagination, although I loved the film ‘The Guardian’ with Jenny Agutter. There was an interesting tree in the storyline that could have sparked something.
I have always loved the macabre, like the ‘Tooth Fairy’ in The Silence of The Lambs. Making things out of human skin is fascinatingly disgusting, but people have been doing it for centuries.
Despite all her good intentions, Annie has an incestuous relationship with her brother Nathan before she falls in love with Josh. Did the thought of writing about incest bother you?
No, there is more of that going on than most of us realise. It can be a natural occurrence, as your love for someone – brother or not – can become so strong and overwhelming. It is possible to love more than one person, too. We do it all the time.
Your next book, ‘Simple’, is very similar to ‘Bad Moon’. Is that what you intended?
Yes, because I feel it is a part of who I am, and I love writing them.
Will you ever write another story like these two?
Maybe, although I cannot rule it out as I may not be able to stop myself!
If anyone has any questions or comments, we would be pleased to hear from you!
Brilliant Review on Amazon!
Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2022
After reading the book’s blurb, I picked Bad Moon by Anita Dawes. The part that got me was. “Young Annie’s life was perfect until she uncovers a nasty family secret, something her parents have been doing for years.”
I was intrigued by the idea of a story about someone coming of age in a family with some dark secrets. I expected maybe some unusual sexual activities or maybe abuse. These would be bad enough, but it turned out undoubtedly mild compared to what Annie had to discover and overcome.
The story is told in the first person by Annie herself. Although not unique in point of view, the author crafts the narrative so the reader not only sees the world from Annie’s perspective but identifies with the struggles Annie must overcome. Even when Annie is at her worst, I was always rooting that she would find her way to happiness.
Although the setting is the backcountry, the emotional turmoil and the depth of character development give the reader the feeling that this story could have taken place anywhere. This fact is where the quality of the author’s storytelling skills shines. Using the backcountry setting as an excuse for what transpires in the plot would be easy. However, that would be a disservice to the story since the action gets down to fundamental human issues and predispositions that are not necessarily only the purview of uneducated backcountry folks.
There are examples that I would like to cite, but each would be a spoiler. So I guess I will leave it at this. Once you start reading Bad Moon, you won’t be able to stop. The story is well-crafted and moves at just the right pace. If you like well-written human drama stories with a lot of action, this one is for you.