Thelma Adams's latest novel is The Last Woman Standing: A Novel of Mrs. Wyatt Earp.
From her Q & A with Amy M. Hawes at Book Club Babble:
Amy M. Hawes: As I read The Last Woman Standing, it was difficult to believe that no one had thought to write a biographical novel about Josephine Marcus, the beautiful and feisty wife of Wyatt Earp. After a little bit of Internet research, I discovered there are a couple works on the subject but they are very controversial. These accounts provide a much less flattering view of Ms. Marcus than you show in The Last Woman Standing. What kind of material did you discover as you researched this intriguing woman and how did you decide what to include and what to discard?Learn more about the book and author at Thelma Adams' website.
Thelma Adams: I trained as a historian at UC Berkeley so I have experience parsing sources: what is reliable, who has an axe to grind? Cue Winston Churchill: “History is written by the victors.” And that meant, in the case of the west, the last man holding the smoking gun and still standing. I wanted something different. I wanted to make the women of the west come alive – and Josephine in particular. I read both versions of Josephine’s memoirs to get a shape of the story of her time in Tombstone, which is the narrow focus of this particular novel. From watching a million biopics as a film critic, from the Academy-Award winning The King’s Speech to the ridiculous J. Edgar, I knew that framing was everything.
Also, there’s a lot of judging and shaming of women of that time as there is now. Was Josephine a prostitute or wasn’t she? Was she a dancer in an operetta or a “lewd” dancer? I needed, through fiction, to find the dimensional woman that was not defined by these judgments any more than Wyatt Earp was judged a murderer by his enemies or a hero by his supporters no matter how many men he gunned down. So, in answer to your question, I discarded judgments and aimed for emotional truth because...[read on]
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