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
Synopsis: I 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 Mysteries.
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 for Guilty 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 complete.
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 scene: Get 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.
A 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.
An 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 lives; forever.
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 seat.
“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 head.
“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 scar.
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 that much.
“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.
Monday, 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 visitors.
I dare you to leave a comment.
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