The Taming of a Super Star
A teenage fan becmes a savior and learns what love is really about
Redheaded, bisexual Tommi Rhymer, frontman of the English rock band Belshangles, is no stranger to hard knocks, or to drugs, or to casual sex with young fans and wealthy admirers. At twenty-nine, he’s at the top of his game. But the life-style is beginning to undo him.
Fifteen-year-old Miranda “Andy” Falconer has been a Belshangles fanatic since age eleven. Her room is papered with Tommi’s likeness. She comes to his 1983 Day-on-the-Green concert in the battered microbus of Skye, a girlfriend old enough to drive.
Thanks to Andy’s bossy bravado the girls get invited to Belshangles’s hotel suite. When Tommi rushes them down the service stairs ahead of what he thinks is a police raid, then passes out in the alley beside their car, Andy, on impulse, hauls him into it. She browbeats her terrified friend into driving her and her unconscious idol to her parents’ summer cabin in the Sierra, and saying she lost her at the concert, and drove around all night, too scared to go home. The cabin is a private holding in the National Forest, miles from a paved road or a phone.
Tommi wakes up: a feral animal, furious, disoriented, headed into drug withdrawal. As for Andy, she must learn what it means to truly care for another—to do his laundry, feed him, clean up his horrid messes, repeatedly chase him down the road and try to reason with him. In the challenge, both adversaries grow up enough to become friends. Andy, though disappointed that she didn’t take her first sexual risk with Tommi Rhymer, can take pride and credit for his inadvertant rehab.
Susan Altstatt has degrees in theater from Stanford and UCLA, where she attended as a Wilson Fellow and won a Goldwyn award for playwriting. She has since been acclaimed as a painter of the California wild lands; see artist’s website at www.altstatt.com. Belshangles is her first novel, and the first book of a trilogy. It was a semi-finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards competition. She lives in Los Altos Hills, California.