Julia Bricklin is one of the authors that will appear in Fatally Haunted, Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles’ upcoming 2019 anthology.
STORY TITLE: “Auble’s Ghost”
At the dawn of the twentieth century, Captain Hurman Auble of the LAPD is obsessed over bizarre clues left by a serial killer—and vows to find him before he strikes yet again.
Q: What intrigued you about the theme of FATALLY HAUNTED that led to the story you wrote?
I’m notorious in my family for being able to recall events and conversations from thirty years ago, but not being able to remember what I said or did yesterday. Smells, tastes and quotes often make me flash back to things years or decades old. When I saw the description for “Fatally Haunted,” I thought, what would it be like to be in a crime-solving profession in an age without computers or modern forensics? What if one’s recollections were the key to solving a murder? And then I remembered clippings I’d saved about a real, dogged LAPD detective from 1905 and used fiction to fill in some gaps in his real story.
Q: Is your story a who-dunit, a why-dunit, or a how-dunit? Why did you make this choice?
“Auble’s Ghost” is a how-dunit. I really wanted to explore the mechanics of transportation and communication by killer and detective alike in the early twentieth century.
Q: What is different about writing a short story? What did you learn from this experience?
It’s ironic, but I feel like I have a lot more freedom. Yes, by definition the word count is substantially shorter than a book or a screenplay. But, at least for me, it opens up a whole bunch of worlds from which to create an impactful experience. What I learned from this experience is that a writer needs to figure out very quickly what needs to be said, and what needs to be left to the reader’s imagination.
Q: How did your editor help you improve your story? What insights did you gain from working with her?
Sheila Lowe helped me trim pieces that weren’t needed to keep the story moving forward, and made sure that I double-checked some historical processes/wording that may or may not have been necessary. What I learned was that no matter how many works one has published — 0, 10, 100 — the editor is critical to successful story.
Q: What’s next for you? What are you working on?
My true crime book Blonde Rattlesnake: Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrorized Los Angeles is slated for release June 1, 2019, so I’ve been working on some pre-marketing for that. I’m now writing my fourth book, about the life and times of Ned Buntline, the complicated man who discovered William “Buffalo Bill” Cody and made him a household name.
Q: What does your writing space look like?
My writing space is actually my dining room table. It’s got my computer, piles of reference books, magazines, bills, papers. Surrounding the table are . . . more piles of reference books.