A story of lies (and 'Consequences') unravels

It’s been a week since those in author Margaret B. Jones’ circle discovered the 33-year-old isn’t the person she claims to be in her memoir Love and Consequences. Her real name is Margaret “Peggy” Seltzer and her book about growing up in gang-ridden South Central L.A. is a bunch of hogwash. Seltzer pulled the wool over the eyes of many, including Inga Muscio who referred to Seltzer’s “background” in the foster care system and as a member of the Bloods in her own book titled Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil. Muscio trusted Seltzer enough to refer her to her literary agent, Faye Bender, who then helped her get a deal for Love and Consequences with Riverhead Books. Following a message posted on her website explaining the extent of her relationship with Seltzer, Muscio answered a few questions posed by EW.com (via email).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When were you first introduced to Seltzer and do you remember the circumstances? What was your first impression?
INGA MUSCIO: I thought she was a brilliant, highly-articulate, deep-thinking individual, not to mention a gifted writer. I still do.

How long have you known her? How close had you become over time?
I have known her for four years. We became quite close. Her number was on speed dial on my phone.

Was there ever anything — in hindsight — that would have made you
raise an eyebrow? For instance, the fact that she was publishing this
memoir under a pseudonym even after changing names of characters, etc.?

Not a thing. The name changes were to protect the identities of herself
as well as people she discussed in the book. She worried about
retaliation, like Monster Kody experienced. The pseudonym seemed
perfectly reasonable. Every detail of her existence was authentic. She
referred to her mom as her "birth mom," and frequently reminisced about
memories of Big Mom. I met her family under the auspices of her making
an effort to reconcile with them.

Just to clarify, you were friends with Faye Bender and/or she was your literary agent?
Faye is my literary agent.

This was deep-seated deceit, which went on for a long time, to
the point where it seemed she even had herself convinced of the
story (with the accent and slang, for example, on public radio).
Because of that — and as an author who has gone through the publishing
process — do you think it was impossible to not be duped by her?

I think another pathological liar might have been wary.

Do you have any theories as to what may have been the driving force of  her betrayal?
I am absolutely clueless about her motives. She could have written her
book as fact-based fiction and it would have been just as brilliant.
She lived the life she described in the book for many years before
there was ever a question of a book, so dang, I’m stumped.

Has she tried calling you to apologize?
No.

How long have you known her? How close had you become over time?
I have known her for four years. We became quite close. Her number was on speed dial on my phone.

Was there ever anything — in hindsight — that would have made youraise an eyebrow? For instance, the fact that she was publishing thismemoir under a pseudonym even after changing names of characters, etc.?
Not a thing. The name changes were to protect the identities of herselfas well as people she discussed in the book. She worried aboutretaliation, like Monster Kody experienced. The pseudonym seemedperfectly reasonable. Every detail of her existence was authentic. Shereferred to her mom as her "birth mom," and frequently reminisced aboutmemories of Big Mom. I met her family under the auspices of her makingan effort to reconcile with them.

Just to clarify, you were friends with Faye Bender and/or she was your literary agent?
Faye is my literary agent.

This was deep-seated deceit, which went on for a long time, tothe point where it seemed she even had herself convinced of thestory (with the accent and slang, for example, on public radio).Because of that — and as an author who has gone through the publishingprocess — do you think it was impossible to not be duped by her?
I think another pathological liar might have been wary.

Do you have any theories as to what may have been the driving force of  her betrayal?
I am absolutely clueless about her motives. She could have written herbook as fact-based fiction and it would have been just as brilliant.She lived the life she described in the book for many years beforethere was ever a question of a book, so dang, I’m stumped.

Has she tried calling you to apologize?
No.

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Comments (6 total) Add your comment
  • Toni

    So many people are enamored ghetto life that they are willing to make up stories just to make people believed she lived there. People want to get out of the ghetto. The ghetto is not a fantastic place to live and brag about. People need to get their thinking straight.

  • Muffy Breal

    Seltzer and Muscio are two of a kind.
    “During the question-and-answer session following the lecture, many jumped to Muscio’s defense when audience members accused the author of fabricating information and overstating the prominence of racism in the United States.”

  • Anonymous

    I knew Peggy for 10 years and the story in the book is the story she told me and the entire community. 10 years people! No one knew it was all a lie. So sad…

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