We all scream for Ice Cream Headache.
I love this book so much.
Okay, so that is what you would expect the writer to say but what I love about this book is the nostalgia that I serve up in the story about the lives of five people intertwining one day in 1968. I do that a lot in my fiction and I guess a lot has to do with living overseas for as long as I have and missing the States. For one year I immersed myself in this story. There many things which I drew upon when I was writing it but in the end it took on its own life.
I was really lucky when I asked my friend Anna Takahashi if she would be interested in doing the book cover design for Ice Cream Headache. Her response: I really wanted to do a cover for you! I’m glad she did. Her design is amazing and really captures the feel of the novella.
Check out Anna’s other amazing creations here.
I don’t recall ever seeing a soda jerk in action, but I do remember as a young child going to a drugstore and having an ice cream soda at the store’s soda fountain. Years later, when I was in high school, I would often go to Ford Hopkin’s drugstore in downtown LaSalle, Illinois which had a luncheonette in the back.
In Ice Cream Headache, one of the characters, Ray, remembers when he was a kid and his father took him to the soda fountain. It’s a nice, nostalgic aside in the story. Readers are going to find a lot of these in this novella.
Set in a small town in Illinois in 1968, the novella centers on the lives of a community of people whose lives intertwine on one fateful day in May of that year, including: Ray Jackson, isolated and strong in the face of losing his business and wife; Johnny Fitzpatrick, who has decided to run off to Canada to avoid the draft; Jimmy Smith, who overcomes physical and mental limitations and willing to believe the best about people; Nancy Smith, who has devoted her life to raising her only child against great odds; and Earl Jansen who carries the guilt of an accidental shooting two years earlier that forced him off the police force. These characters are linked together in conflict, and in articulate friendship and understanding. Their plight as human beings is one we all share.
As the editing of my novella enters its second round, I have started to look for an appropriate cover idea for the book. Originally I wanted to have a photo of a milkshake or a malt in a glass, in the foreground with the background out of focus (I have a photographer back in the Illinois Valley working on that concept now) but then, while searching the Internet the other day, I came across this photo.
Although Oglesby’s City Clerk gave me permission to use this photo, I am worried about the resolution. But Damn! This is where everything happens in the book. You can see Balconie’s on the right as well as the Supreme Dairy. And right across the street, though not clear in this photo, the Supreme Dairy Bar. What a find!
What I’m thinking is that this could be back cover of the book. That would really work for it I think. I would of course crop the bottom.
While looking at this photo I was overcome with this immense wave of nostalgia. This is where it all happened. This was my life.
If anyone out there knows who might have the original or a photo similar to this one, please contact me.