Gritty, compelling crime novelist Julia Madeline has a new novel out. The Truth About Scarlet Rose is an exercise in brilliant narrative revelation. It lives at the edge of darkness. It is erotic, sharp, tight and Noir. I highly recommend it. Julia met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about sexual manipulations and crime.
Tell us about your new novel The Truth About Scarlet Rose. To what extent is the truth about your protagonist tied up in her sexual manipulations and the adult entertainment industry?
The protagonist in the story is Fiona, the adult daughter of Scarlet Rose, a washed up 1960s burlesque queen who forced her into the sex trade when she was underage. When Fiona’s beloved step-father is brutally murdered, she has to help in the police investigation, while her mother fixates on getting her hands on other people’s money.
Fiona is essentially a slave to the adult entrainment industry, at least to the money she makes. Sexual manipulations?….hmm. That would apply better to her mother Scarlet Rose, who uses everyone and everything for her own personal gain. Fiona is more of an innocent I think, the complete opposite of her mother. Although she is in a tough business and her upbringing was anything but good, she’s managed to keep a certain amount of virtue in spite of this.
Did you have a particular audience in mind when you wrote this?
I’ve heard the biggest readers are middle-aged housewives. So generally when I write, I expect this to be my reader. Otherwise I don’t think I give a lot of thought to who might be reading my work, I primarily write what I want to write.
To what extent are your characters’ sexuality tied up with their criminal motivations?
I think my character, Scarlet Rose, the aging burlesque queen, uses her sexuality in her crimes for power and control. She’s a violent, predatory offender. She dominates people, psychologically, emotionally and sexually. Although she’s not sexually excited by her crimes, she uses sex as a tool for her own personal gain. But I don’t think she really has much awareness of the dynamic forces within her personality that causes her to commit her dastardly deeds. Quick simply, she’s a psychopath, and that’s why she does what she does.
What are you working on now?
I’ve recently completed the manuscript for a thriller called The Refrigerator Girls. It’s about a teenager who witnesses the abduction of a neighbourhood girl off the street but can’t go to the police because at the time she was in the commission of her own crime, so she decides to change her appearance and orchestrate her own abduction to find out where he’s taken the girl. It like to think of it as Lisbet Salander meets a female Hannibal Lector.
I’ve also got stories coming out in five anthologies this year, so that’s pretty exciting.
Thank you Julia for an intriguing and great interview which I hope will draw new readers to your writing.
Bio: Julia Madeleine is a thriller writer and tattoo artist living in the Toronto area with her husband and teenaged (future tattooist) daughter. For a year she lived in the country on a 30-acre property in the middle of nowhere which became the inspiration for her novel, No One To Hear You Scream. Find out more about her books at www.juliamadeleine.com