We’re thrilled to have here today Madeleine Bacon from David Armstrong’s new historical romance novel, The Rising Place. Madeleine is a 39-year-old print shop owner, living in Hamilton, Mississippi.
It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Madeleine. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
I guess David Armstrong portrayed me pretty well, but I feel like he made me fatter than I really am. And that restaurant scene at the end of the novel—there’s no way anyone could have eaten as much food as David had me eating. Personally, I thought this was cruel of him to do so. If I had been with David when he was writing about me, eating like a pig, I would have cracked my walking cane over his head, too!
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
He definitely did with that, and I’m a very colorful character. The only way I would have liked to have been portrayed differently is that I really did love my husband, Will Bacon, but this was never brought out. In fact, I loved Will a whole lot more than I did any of my three, previous husbands. I do wish David had shown this part of me, but it probably wouldn’t have been believable. Love didn’t seem to fit my character. It is what it is.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
My inner strength. I grew up with an older brother who loved to tease me about how fat I was, so I learned young how to defend myself—with both my words and my fists!
I’m not afraid of anyone. I’d stand up to the devil himself and spit in his eye, if I could.
I’m afraid to reveal who I really am to others. I’m afraid they’ll see right through me—like Emily Hodge did. I’ve never wanted anyone to see my soft side. I’ve always been terrified of that. That’s probably why I never had any true friends, until Emily came along. Emily taught me how to open up, and thank God that she did!
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
Well, the book has already been made into a movie, and in it I was portrayed by Beth Grant, who is an excellent actress. But if there’s ever a remake of the film—which does happen, you know—I think I should be played by Lady Gaga. Lady is as colorful as me.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
Yes. I love my husband, Will Bacon, though David never developed this—for some dumb reason. I also loved Emily Hodge—the best and only true friend I’ve ever had.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
That’s an easy one. I thought David was never going to write me into the story. I kept on trying and trying to get his attention to make me Will’s wife so we could complement each other’s character. At first, I thought David was going to portray Will as a confirmed sissy, who never wanted to get married, and leave it at that. But, finally, he listened to me and wrote about how Will was floundering after he came back from the War and in need of a job. Then I reminded David I was a rich widow, looking for a challenge as much as I was another husband. He finally got the message and brought Will and me together. I just wish he had done it sooner in the story, though, because I had such a great time with the other characters in the book who I got to meet—even Eddie Scruggs!
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
I wouldn’t have wanted to be Harry Devening. What a fool he was to have not loved Emily Hodge back. I can’t even conceive how Harry couldn’t have loved Emily—as beautiful and tender as she was. And then to have finally realized, like Harry did, what a great mistake he made in not returning Emily’s love—I would have rather died. Harry might have lost a leg after his plane crashed during the War, but he lost far more than that when he lost the love of a fine woman, like Emily Hodge. What a pity.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
I like how David ended the book, but I would have liked to know what, if anything, happened between Emily and Streete Wilder. Also, who was the old, gray-haired stranger at the start of the book? Was that Harry, Streete, or someone else? I hate it when authors tease us like that—makes me want to crack my cane over their skull!
What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?
Write me in at the beginning of the book. I’m a great character!
Thank you for this interview, Madeleine Bacon. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
You’ll have to ask David Armstrong, that one. Getting through to a hard-headed author like him was difficult enough, the first time around.
David Armstrong was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi, where he was a former mayor and candidate for the United States Congress. He received an undergraduate and master’s degree in political science from Mississippi State University, where he taught American and local government. He also received a law degree from the University of Mississippi, graduating with honors. In addition to The Rising Place, David’s debut novel, he has written two other novels, one of which will be released this summer, and four screenplays. David has also taught screenwriting at the college level, and he has spoken at several literary and film festivals about writing novels and scripts.
David is the father of two grown sons, William and Canon. When he isn’t working on his fourth novel, he serves as the COO for the city of Columbus, Mississippi. He and his cat, Butch, live in one of the oldest and most haunted antebellum homes in Columbus.
About the Book:
What if you found a hidden box of letters from World War II that belonged to an old maid spinster who had just died—would you read them? And what if you did read them and discovered an amazing story about unrequited love, betrayal, and murder that happened over seventy years ago in a small, southern town?
After a young attorney moves to Hamilton, Mississippi to practice law, his first case is to draft a will for Emily Hodge. “Miss Emily” is a seventy-five-year-old recluse who is shunned by Hamilton society, but the lawyer is fascinated with her and can’t understand why this lovely lady seems to have lived such a solitary and forgotten life.
When Emily later dies, the lawyer goes to her hospital room to retrieve her few possessions and bequeath them as she directed, and he finds a sewing box full of old letters in the back of her nightstand drawer. He takes the box of letters back to his office, and after he reads them all, he learns why Emily Hodge was ostracized by Hamilton society and why she died alone—though definitely not forgotten by those who loved her.
The purchase link is The Rising Place by David Armstrong.