Today Maddie Wilcox from Death of the City Marshall, an Old Los Angeles mystery, is joining us at Ascroft, eh?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
My name is Maddie Wilcox. I am in my 80s, but the time about which I write is actually the 1870s, when I was only about 30 years old. The stories I told (and continue to tell) are my memoirs, which I begin with the curious events that are related in Death of the Zanjero and Death of the City Marshal. I will also relate the terrifying events of October 1871, when rioters lynched eighteen Chinese men and the terrible deeds that followed at a future time.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
I have no idea what this means. These are my stories. The person penning them is only incidental.
How did you evolve as the main character?
The same way most of us do, I would hope. Alas, introspection is not as common as one would like to think. I simply try to be a better person from day to day, even now, in my old age.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
These being my memoirs, I was writing about myself as a much younger woman, and most of the people I knew then are, sadly, gone and much missed. My dear, dear friends, Regina and Angelina, who were so helpful to me when I stumbled into chasing a killer. Then there was Mr. Lomax, who was not only a very calming presence, but a truly good man. And then there was my household, Sebastiano, Olivia, Enrique, Magdalena, and Juanita, and all the others. They became my family and, indeed, as I come into my dotage, their children show me the most tender concern and care for me as if for their own parents.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
Los Angeles in the 1870s was a truly dismal place. No culture to speak of, and much pretension to such by the ladies of the pueblo. There was no orchestra of trained and able musicians. No plays. No opera. The streets were dusty. Because so many of the men there were transients, it was incredibly violent. I hated being there, but after my husband, Albert Wilcox, dragged me there in 1860, bought our vineyard and then died, I really had little choice but to stay. I suppose I could have left some years later, but as it turned out, the place really did become my home and the people you asked about earlier had become my family. By the time I had sufficient means to where I chose, the city had become somewhat more civilized and I had little inclination to find new friends elsewhere.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
These are my memoirs, so while I’m writing them as an old woman, when you encounter me, I am barely 30 years old.
Thanks for introducing yourself and the series to us, Maddie.
The novel is available online on Amazon.