Moab local Cactus Moloney describes the genre of her first novel, “Beware of Flight Attendant,” as “contemporary American Horror.”
“It goes over a lot of American issues and all-over-the-world issues,” as it dips in and out of the experiences and memories of a diverse cast of characters who are brought together on the same airplane flight, Moloney told the Moab Sun News.
The first half of the book is all the characters’ backgrounds, Moloney said. The characters are of varying ages, ethnicities and subcultures, but all notice the unusual canine, Buster, aboard their flight.
“He’s this incredible Blue Nose Pitbull service dog,” Moloney said.
Buster winds up being “triggered” during the plane ride and “reverting to his former training that nobody knew about,” Moloney explained. Buster attacks passengers who must struggle to survive. But since the ordeal is taking place on a plane, no one has anything with which to defend themselves.
“There’s no knives. There’s no mace, no glass; there’s no guns. There’s nothing to protect people. There’s no walls. There’s nothing,” Moloney said. “It’s really terrifying.”
Moloney has a background in writing; she earned a degree in Journalism and English from Colorado State University and has written for several newspapers. She has also worked in public relations and was once a librarian on the island of Borneo.
The inspiration for “Beware of Flight Attendant” came to Moloney as she was getting on a plane a few years ago. Her own pet dog was traveling in the cargo hold, but another passenger on her flight, a young man, brought “a 100-pound pit bull” with him for the flight.
Moloney said that, while the young man’s dog was well-behaved, she couldn’t help but wonder, “What kind of protection would we have if this dog decided to turn?”
She said the dog on this flight was not a trained service animal but an “emotional support dog.”
Moloney said this raised many questions for her, such as “What if the dog did not get along with another dog?...What if someone is scared of dogs? Allergic to dogs?”
She also pondered the ethics of bringing a dog onto a flight that may include persons from cultures that consider dogs “dirty.”
Moloney made the dog in her story a service dog with extensive training, though she noted that service animals are far safer because they are trained, whereas emotional support animals are not.
Moloney said she is not drawn to “monster horror” but rather to “true horror, things that can actually happen… the horror of what man can do, or the horror of what an animal can do because of what man has done to this poor animal, putting him on an airplane,” with overwhelming stimulation from many sounds and smells.
Moloney said she wrote the book in about seven months, becoming deeply engrossed in the creative process.
“By the time I got mid-book, you could not drag me away from my computer,” she said.
She formed her own company, Winter Canyon Publishing, to self-publish and is currently formulating a second “Beware of” book about a killer on a cruise ship after learning that “people go missing each year on cruise ships, and nobody knows where they go.”
Moloney said that while “Beware of Flight Attendant” is available on Amazon, she encourages people to purchase it from a local source such as Back of Beyond Books (83 N. Main St.) or Moab Made (82 N. Main St.). It is also available to borrow from the Grand County Public Library (257 E. Center St.).