JD Scott is the author of Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day (&NOW Books, 2020), a debut short story collection which won the 2018 Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer's Residency Prize. Their debut poetry collection, Mask for Mask, is forthcoming from New Rivers Press in 2021. Scott's prose and poems has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Ninth Letter, Salt Hill, Sonora Review, The Pinch, Spoon River Poetry Review, Bayou, and elsewhere. Other writing has been featured in the Best American Experimental Writing and Best New Poets anthologies. Scott's accolades include being awarded a Lambda Emerging LGBTQ Voices fellowship, attending the Poetry Foundation's inaugural Poetry Incubator, and being awarded residencies at the Millay Colony, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, and Writers at the Eyrie.

Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day by JD Scott

The sly fabulism of JD Scott's fiction casts its own peculiar spell upon the reader as it outlines a world unsettlingly similar to our own. Scott troubles the line between what is literary and genre, fairy tale and parable. In one story, a perfumer keeps his boyfriend close-at-hand by dosing him with precise measures of poison. In another, a comical domestic drama hinges upon the life and death of an ancient chinchilla. Scott pushes liminality with magical scrolls, a drowned twin returning from the sea, and a witty retelling of the Crucifixion where a gym bunny chops down a tree in the Garden of Eden—only to transform the wood into a cross for himself. This debut collection ends with an epic novella where a heroic teenager comes of age inside an otherworldly shopping mall that spans the entire globe. Visceral, dreamlike, and full of dazzling prose: Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day announces the arrival of a distinctive talent who challenges us to see our own endless possibilities—to find luminescence inside and beyond the shadows.


JD Scott's debut Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day defies easy categorization. There's a world that is composed entirely of a mall as well as the possible immorality of a lover's chinchilla and much in between. It's a work of spare fabulism, refreshing as it is rich. – Tenea D. Johnson



  • "…Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day is a surreal and poetically-written foray into the familiar and the weird. It's the kind of book that can make the quotidian seem fantastical and can evoke the banality of living in a world that might look wondrous on paper. This is a book that abounds with unlikely miracles and strange damnations; even so, Scott's fiction is also about such resonant themes as ritual, grief, and the unknown. …Trying to pin [one story in the collection] down to one genre or style is impossible; instead, much of its power comes from its ability to move through liminal spaces between genres (and between expectations of genres). The same could be said for Scott's collection as a whole. Neatly summarizing it isn't easy, but experiencing it is rewarding indeed."

    – Tor.com
  • ". . . a dazzling collection of stories—part dystopian, part fabulist, and wholly immersive . . . Like stepping through a looking glass, the stories ofMoonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Dayskirt the edges of reality and shimmer with enchanting, otherworldly light."

    – Foreword Reviews (starred review)
  • "This strikingly original collection is at once magical and achingly real, distinctive in its formal invention and its sly, inviting wit. Scott's characters grapple with loss and desolation, but this is also a book about possibility and transformation. Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day marks the arrival of a major new talent."

    – Dawn Raffel, author of The Strange Case of Dr. Couney
  • "The stories contained in Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day are true bursts of light. JD Scott has curated a collection that takes all the wild magic of youth and love and transformed it into tender aches, beautiful little pains. The stories sit lodged in your chest and refuse to leave. Compulsively readable and immaculately written, Scott has honed their incredible craft into a book that readers will return to again and again."

    – Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things



In our house there is a small room hidden behind a bookshelf: it was an add-on, a novelty we inherited from the previous owners. He was a librarian and she was a seamstress. She craved a space of her own, and so he built the hidden passage so she would have a place to sew. At least, that is what our real estate agent told us: the house was already empty when we put our bid in. I was pregnant with my son at the time. My husband had hurt his back playing tennis—I remember I unloaded more boxes than he did, and it was June, the house, warm.

We loved that old Tudor like we loved each other, like we loved its backstory: buy the home where a woman serged for the neighborhood. Homemade Halloween costumes! Hemlines! Clientele moving through the false panel to pick up their fitted jeans! And her dearest, a bookish husband who represented knowledge above all else!

There was a fake book in a real bookshelf, that when tugged, unlatched the hidden doorway behind the shelf. We removed it, replacing it with a simple latch. Perhaps we erased some of the charm by making the shelf-door conspicuous, but it's not like I'm opposed to wonder. I can imagine what the original owners felt: pull the spine and the door unlatches; a whole shelf of weighted words feeling airy, swinging out on invisible hinges into a different world. I understood this appeal, the enchantment of a husband and wife in love, what it means to give a gift to your only. The happy couple. Their quaint occupations. It's a good, marketable tale. It's the same reason realtors bake cookies, or apple pies, leave them out during an open house. Ours did—but it was the hidden sewing room that sealed the deal.

I came to look past the intrigue, using that space for boxes: Christmas decorations, downgraded possessions we upgraded from, unwanted baubles for the yard-sale-to-never-come. This was my calculation: for that desirable room to never hold any desire. I did not make the room off-limits; that would have only provoked interest for defiant children, and a hidden room by its nature holds mystery. I gave it the energy that it just was, and why bother wasting time among so much dust and junk? There was some hiding-and-seeking when my son and his friends were small, but that was many years ago. My son spends more time at mall arcades and bowling alleys. My husband has his home office. That room—its fascination—is still mine.

* * *

In that room there are boxes, and behind those walls of cardboard there is one closet against the back wall. This closet is filled with moth-gnawed cloth, leather jackets in plastic dry-cleaner bags. Green yarn. Knitting needles. Bowling bags. The dimensions of this closet only hold past dealings.

In that closet, if you walk in, turn around, and look up, there is a space above the interior closet door. It is flush, unnoticeable in the lightless vault of hodge-podge. My husband does not even know. For me, it requires a step-stool. If you push hard enough on the space where the panel is, it pops out like the chocolate behind an advent calendar.

In that space behind the false panel there is a safe. The combination has nothing to do with weddings, is not a birthday, a deathday, a graduation, anything to do with cats or dogs, a forgotten phone number, old address, corporate identification, license plate, social security digit, or bible verse. The safe has a number and that number is the day when I first opened the safe and put an object in and closed it again.