This week on the Scribbler, we are
featuring another New Brunswick Author.
I’m pleased she accepted our invitation
to share the good news about her debut novel.
Born and raised in New Brunswick, D.C. Malcolm has always been fascinated by
literature and had a vivid imagination. Whether she was going on some magical
adventure; or making up scary stories about the house next door with her
friends. As D.C. got older, D.C. started to write down her ideas and transform
them into short stories. In the third grade, after winning a short story
contest, her teacher suggested she become an author, and D.C. has been chasing
that dream ever since. At 36 years old, she dedicated her spare time to
launching her writing career.
Working Title: Guilty Deceptions
am Sheriff Dawson, and things are usually quiet in this small town. Let me tell
you why September 1869 changed my life. Young Caroline found what was left of
the poor souls in Willow Grove, leading to the most complex investigation I
have ever seen, let alone investigated. Sometimes I think I will never find
answers as I try to make sense of this case. Even the clues that point to the
prime suspect, a famous architect, complicate things. Now, I must prove his
innocence before it's too late!
The Story behind the Story: I have always been
interested in True Crime. I grew up with Robert Stack’s Unsolved
I watched every Friday
night and never missed an episode. I became obsessed with local crimes, and
read up on Allan Legere and Noel Winters among others. That’s when I stumbled
upon a case from 1869. It was the case of Maggie Vail.
That case intrigued me
because there were so many holes. So many unanswered questions that it made me
wonder if they got it right.
In 2013, the first idea
Deceptions surfaced. After a single trip to the library and many
late nights online researching about Maggie, and Saint John in the 1860s and I
was finally ready to write. In my early drafts of Guilty Deceptions, I
included real names as the book followed the truth of the case. Yet, time went
on and the story evolved, and last names got changed because the story had
transformed and leaned away from the truth. Suddenly it became a fictionalized
story based on a real-life murder.
It took me eight years
to publish Guilty
Deceptions but it needed time to grow. Finally, in 2021 it was
My mother, an avid
reader had read the first five chapters and helped me get inside the
characters' heads. She taught me how their personality would be at that time, and
how they’d react to certain situations within the story. Many of the places
mentioned in Guilty
Deceptions were real places in Saint John or Willow Grove at that
time. Like the gallows rumored to have been built by John.
In high school, I had toured
the old courthouse for Law class and when I used the spiral staircase, I got
sick and dizzy. Thus Sheriff Dawson had a problem with the stairs. On the same
trip, I stood in the very spot the gallows once stood.
My brother had heard
the story many times because I read out loud when I’m editing. He loved the
out of me house! He burst into fits of laughter whenever he heard
it so I knew that scene was a keeper.
I had fun writing Guilty
Deceptions and I have been told by others that they have fun
reading it. There will be at least two other books featuring Sheriff Dawson,
Saint John, and Willow Grove sometime soon.
question before you go, DC:
Can you tell us about the perfect setting you have, or desire, for
your writing? Music or quiet? Coffee or tequila? Neat or notes everywhere?
Over the new year, I finally got my desk for a semi-office space in my
living room. My apartment is small and before that, I was writing on my couch!
I usually start writing at 6 AM and continue writing off and on throughout the
day until about 6 pm. I tend to write better when I listen to music (the track
list depends on what I’m writing) currently the track list on my Spotify is 90s
music, as I’m writing a romance based in the 90s. I usually have a coffee at my
of my notes are on my laptop, but my
desk can get messy sometimes. I also don’t stop writing when I travel, but usually take a
notebook and pen as opposed to my laptop.
Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Guilty Deceptions:
Who would have dreamed that something like this would happen in a
quiet town such as here? I've lived it and I'm not sure how I feel about
it. However, I’m getting ahead of
myself. I tend to do that. Anyway, it all begins with the Sheppard family.
Billy and Anne Sheppard lived out in Willow Grove, on Black River
Road. They were farmers because men of Billy's complexion got little education,
but, Billy’s content with his little farm. They had three daughters. Margaret,
the oldest, looked just like Anne. The middle child, Martha, a perfect mix of
the two, and the youngest Caroline was Billy through and through. On September
12th, 1869, young Caroline stumbled onto the horrifying scene that altered our
Caroline and her sisters Margaret and Martha were out picking
blueberries at the junction of Black River and Quaco. Caroline wandered off the
main road and ended up a little way into the Barrens. As she plucked
blueberries, she noticed a bit of cloth sticking up from beneath the brush. Now
Caroline was a curious child and so she pulled at it with her hands. Caroline’s
high-pitched scream echoed around the barrens and alerted her sisters, who
rushed to her side. In a state of shock; all three of the girls threw their
buckets of blueberries on the ground and ran all the way home. Swearing to keep
what they discovered a secret; forever.
Where was I? At the police station, sitting at my desk and reading The Murders
in the Rue Morgue for the thousandth time. I’m not alone, Deputy Patrick
Jackson sat at his desk, fiddling with a deck of cards and I was reminded of
the interview for his job.
“What do your folks do?” I asked. Patrick leaned forward and folded
his hands on the desk.
“Well, my father, Thomas, is a banker. My mother passed away about
ten years ago,” he said.
I frowned. “So sorry for your loss,” I said. Patrick shifted in his
“Thank you,” he said. “It was a long time ago now. I barely
remember her. Father never remarried, instead he focused all his energy on me.”
“Yeah, well that's the thing about fathers, they tend to do that,”
I said. “So, tell me what makes you want to be deputy?”
Patrick crossed his arms. “Not my father. He doesn’t approve. He
feels it’s a dangerous job,” he said.
“I certainly can relate,” I said. “I notice you’re rather young. No
wife or a girlfriend to speak of, why is that?” Patrick glanced down, wringing
his hands. He hesitated for a moment it could have been two before he shook his
“No,” he said. “I’ve got no interest in settling down with a woman.
I hope that doesn’t stop me from getting this job.”
“Of course not,” I said.
Patrick’s odd. His lack of desire has very little to do with his looks. In
fact, it's not that Patrick isn't handsome. With his wavy blonde hair, he parts
in the middle–to cover the slight scar under his left eye. His green eyes and
ivory complexion make Patrick look like a prince in shining armour; even with
The door opened and John Riley walked in like he owned the place.
John’s my brother-in-law, of course, but truth be told, I didn’t like him all
“Hello, John,” I said.
John nodded. “Stephen,” he said. He was being very formal this
morning and I wasn't sure why.
I nodded. “How’s your father?” I asked. John shrugged and his eyes
narrowed, and he was glaring at the wall behind me.
“I don’t care,” he said.
“You don’t?” I asked.
“My entire life he has done nothing for me,” John said.
“He gave you life,” I said.
“Father only cares about his stature in life,” he said.
“I’m sure that’s not true,” I said.
“I might be his son, but he doesn't care about me,” he said.
“How’s Annie and the boys?” I asked, changing the subject. This
made John smile.
“They are doing well, thank you,” John said. John married my
sister, Annie, in 1862. They have three youngsters, the oldest is about seven.
John, a middle-aged man, has a thick red mane that curled around his ears and
sticks out about an inch. His eyes are the colour of emeralds and he has a very
thick and prominent scar that runs down his left cheek. He hovered over my desk
like he’s the most important person in the room; I hate that.
“What brings you in today?” I asked, rolling my eyes. For about a
year now, John has been coming in everyday without fail and he always has a
feeble excuse for his visits.
“I wanted to remind you to bring a bottle of whisky to dinner
tomorrow night,” he said, his eyes locked on mine as he waited for an answer. I
blinked and shook my head.
“Don’t I always?” I asked. John peered at me and nodded.
“Yeah,” He answered. I peered back at him and furrowed my brow.
“Of course I'd bring one tomorrow,” I said.
September 13th, 1869
That morning, Billy and Anne were sure that something happened the
day before with their girls. While all of their girls seem bothered by
something, young Caroline’s the worst. She isn’t eating, and she isn’t
sleeping, she’s ashen-faced, and Billy even noted her mumbling to herself a few
times. That’s what made him decide to talk to Caroline. She’s sitting on the
porch when he found her and she’s staring at her feet. He sat down beside her.
“Caroline, why are you not eating or sleeping?” Billy asked and
glanced at the ground. Caroline sighed and pressed her lips together.
“Something bad,” Caroline said, not looking up at him. Billy
glanced at his daughter, and noticed she’s trembling.
“What?” He asked. Caroline shook her head.
“Me can’t tell, me promised to not tell,” Caroline said and Billy
pressed his lips together.
“What did you see out there in them Barrens? Can you show me at
least?” Billy asked. Caroline sighed and nodded.
Thank you for being our guest this
week, DC. Wishing you tons of success with your novel.
Thank you to all our readers and
I dare you to leave a