“More fun than a sex party!”
Long before Ru Paul eyed his first pair of six inch stilettos or Boy George donned his colorful caftan, a handsome young man from the small town of Round Rock, Texas barnstormed the stages of Europe’s most lavish theaters and night clubs as Barbette, a beautiful aerialist drag queen who became a scandalous sensation throughout the Roaring Twenties.
Performing his erotic, high wire and trapeze routine in lavish, feminine regalia, Barbette shocked audiences by revealing the true nature of his gender at the very end of his act.
From a child who picked cotton and walked his mother’s clothes line to headlining at the Moulin Rouge in spectacular drag, Wildflower reveals long-forgotten secrets of this enigmatic performer: his arrest in London on morals charges, his bout with polio, his infamous collaborations with some of Hollywood’s greatest stars— Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, and Judy Garland, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis as well as his hidden affair with French surrealist Jean Cocteau.
Wildflower captivates with every page, dramatically revealing the startling and at times heart-breaking story of Round Rock’s first and greatest drag queen.
Kyle Taylor, author
Wildflower: The Dramatic Life of Barbette – Round Rock’s First and Greatest Drag Queen
Favorite place in the world?
Palm Springs in the very early 1990’s. It was a forgotten modernist paradise. You could actually speak to Albert Frey at the grocery store. Here is Mr. Frey in front of his first Palm Spring home:
Favorite writing music or snack?
I love to have theme music playing when I write! For Exposition, about the 1893 World’s Fair, I had to listen to Pachelbel. It just said ‘Gilded Age’ to me! For Wildflower, I listened to later Josephine Baker albums. I love when her voice deepened. She just became so French. I used one of her songs in the book trailer too!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuvxqzmRVqA
Morning person or night owl?
Both. I must be continental. I love cultures that split the day up. The afternoons are meant for napping.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, who would you want for company?
My golden retriever, Winston. Do you know he makes a cameo in each of my books – sometimes in dog form, other times as a human.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
I’m generally attracted to beaches, but in the summers, to get out of the heat, you will find me cruising in the Baltic or up to Alaska.
If I give you a time machine, what time period and in what place would you travel to?
I’d go to the not too distant future and buy a paper and check the lottery numbers!
If you could visit any place in the world or a place created by a book, where would you visit?
Okay, don’t hate me for this – because it is too self-serving – but I would love to set sail on John Driskil’s revamped SS United States ocean liner in my book Billion Dollar Dreamer. She becomes stunning!
What are your thoughts on ebooks? (i.e. love them, hate them, wave of the future)
I love them because they save the planet and they’re convenient. Maybe it’s because I’m still small potatoes, but I still haven’t been able to get the quality of presentation in my ebooks yet. The fonts I chose for the print version of Wildflower are an example. The ebook version stripped away my art direction. I like the craft of a lovely print book and hope we can get ebooks up to that level.
Read an excerpt:
With all his might, Vander swung the trapeze as high into the air as he could tolerate, the muscles in his feet screaming out. As he reached the apex, he released his feet, tucked into a tight ball and did a backward somersault. In an instant, he was bouncing on the safety net, thrilled by what he had just done!
Bobby Fuller stuffed his cigar into his mouth and applauded loudly. Audrey too was impressed. From the platform, she did a swan dive, turning onto her back at the right instant for a soft landing on the safety net. She then walked over to where Bobby and Vander were standing.
“Now, son, I need you to be honest with me. You’re new to this aren’t you?” Bobby asked as he stared intently at Vander.
“I did shows in my back yard—on the wire. I’m good!” Vander said trying to sell himself. He wanted more than anything to get back up to the trapeze.
“You a run away?” Audrey asked with her hands on her hips.
“No. My momma sent me off today on the train, from Round Rock.”
“He’s got balance,” Audrey said. “It’ll take him time to train.”
“I’m a fast learner! I even doubled up my studies and finished high school two years early!”
Bobby rubbed his chin. “We’ve only got a week, ten days tops, to get him trained. If we don’t get this act back on track, they’ll can us and then where’ll we be?”
Audrey’s pale blue eyes looked serious. “Did you see, how he moved his arms? He sure looks the part. He’ll look sweet in a dress.”
Vander’s mouth dropped. “A dress?”
Bobby Fuller scowled, “The part’s for a female trapeze artist. Didn’t y’all read the advertisement?”
“We’re the Alfaretta Sisters!” Audrey interjected. “World famous aerial queens.”
Vander Clyde was trying to absorb what they were saying.
“He’s got a good figure, not quite a man yet,” Audrey said looking over Vander’s body. “A little taking in here and letting out there and Lydia’s costumes could fit.”
“You ever put on a dress, boy?” Bobby asked. “It’s no big deal. Wouldn’t be the first time a boy in a trapeze act did it.”
“You look better in a dress, up on a trapeze,” Audrey encouraged. “More beautiful, the dress flows, you know.”
Vander remembered Miss Nelson told him all the actors during Shakespeare’s time were men or boys and they played the female parts as well.
“Like Shakespeare, you mean the way the boys played the girl’s parts?” Vander asked.
Bobby and Audrey laughed.
“Yes, son, just like ol’ Will Shakespeare!” Bobby chuckled. “You’ll get five dollars a week—no pay until we get the act back up. Deal?” Bobby extended his hand.
Vander Clyde couldn’t believe it was all happening so fast! He enthusiastically extended his hand. “Deal!”
About the author:
Kyle Taylor is the author of Wildflower, Exposition and Billion Dollar Dreamer. The Kyle Taylor character debuted in Billion Dollar Dreamer as a journalist who was assigned to write a story about high school history teacher cum overnight billionaire John Driskil. He resides in New York—and of course he is a work of fiction! You can contact Kyle at BillionDollarDreamer@gmail.com.
Book Trailer on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuvxqzmRVqA
Author Web Page: http://www.billiondollardreamer.com/
Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002247108853
Buy the book at
Kyle Taylor is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to the commenter who leaves the best question or comment.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2014/04/virtual-book-tour-wildflower-by-alan.html