Behind the Scenes of the Madison Fox Novels

Real-World Thievery

When I sat down to write A Fistful of Evil, I was in the middle of a very busy month of work and I was attempting NaNo WriMo for the first time. (NaNo WriMo challenges authors to write an entire book the month of November.)

I didn’t have more than a character idea: I knew I wanted a woman who could see souls. That was it.

Crunched for time but still desperately needing the creative outlet of writing, I was looking for ways to throw a story together quickly, so I stole from my own life. I didn’t use people, but I happily marched Madison through places I went daily.

This ended up being one of my favorite parts of the series—it’s all set in my backyard.


Madison Fox Headquarters

Shhh, don’t tell anyone. This is the undercover location of Illumination Studios, where Madison works. It looks an awful lot like the building where I was working at the time.

Home Sweet Home

Madison Fox Apartment

Madison’s apartment was my apartment. Have you ever lived on the third floor? The people who rent you that apartment will tell you it’s only a pain on the days you move in and out. They’re wrong. Those two flights of stairs are a pain every time you bring home groceries. Or take your bicycle out for a ride. Or, say, when you sprain your ankle, as I did.

Fortunately, Madison hasn’t experienced the ankle problem, but she did lug a car-full of plants up to this apartment, for which I felt extreme sympathy for her.

Danger Ahead

A Fistful of Evil Construction Site

If you’re Madison, and you’ve got something to prove, this construction site is a good place to start…or to make a fool of yourself.

Here’s a little-known fact: When I wrote the first draft of A Fistful of Evil seven or eight years before it was published, this housing development was just getting started (as it is in the novel). When I abandoned Madison for another project, the construction also stopped. It wasn’t until I returned to A Fistful of Evil and was getting the final edits wrapped up that development resumed here.

Some might say this was a coincidental connection due to the housing bubble that burst and the wee global recession that followed it. I say the development was waiting until Madison and I no longer needed it.

Believe what you will.

Love and Caring Veterinary Clinic

Love and Caring Veterinary Clinic

Mmm. Dr. Love. Mrowr. Ahem, I mean, yes, this actually was the location of my cat’s vet. The vets opted not to use a cutesy pun name and instead incorporated the nearest street into their name. (Boring.) Also, all the vets on staff were female, so unfortunately veterinarian Alex Love is a complete figment of my imagination. Lucky Madison…

Roseville Hotel

Hotel in A Fistful of Evil

It’s hard to believe, but there is no building eight stories tall in Roseville. We’re a low-to-the-ground city. The tallest building might reach six stories, but it’s on the west side of Roseville, outside of Madison’s territory. However, there is a hotel next to a greenbelt. Also, we’re too close to Sacramento to warrant hotels with convention centers, so this hotel has yet to host a gamer’s convention.

The Greenbelt

Roseville Greenbelt featured in A Fistful of Evil

When I first moved to Roseville, I walked the same green belt trail as Madison (albeit without guns). The trail no longer exists, erased with the progress of the housing development, but years ago it was a beautiful and fun place to explore.

At least it was fun for me. Madison would no doubt disagree.

Mr. Bond

A Fistful of Evil Mr. Bond

The novel wouldn’t be complete without Mr. Bond. If you read the copyrights page, you know Mr. Bond is a direct literary translation of my cat (though Mr. Bond is not my cat’s name).

When we found my Mr. Bond in a Dumpster, he was tiny and Siamese.

A Fistful of Evil, Mr. Bond Older

Then he grew up and darkened, proving he was a beautiful mutt, and possibly a descendant of a yet-undiscovered prehistoric mammoth house cat. He weighed more than the average two year old, and back when we lived in Madison’s apartment, my bookcases would shake against the walls when he ran down the hallway. Who knows what the downstairs neighbors thought was happening.

 * * *

Thus concludes our Roseville tour. See how shamelessly I stole from the world around me? I feel no remorse, either. Mwahahah!

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