My guest today is M.M. (Madeline) Gornell.
Madeline has three published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winning Uncle Si’s Secret (2008), Death of a Perfect Man (2009), and her latest release, Reticence of Ravens (2010)—her first Route 66 mystery. Reticence of Ravens is a 2011 Eric Hoffer Fiction finalist and Honorary Mention winner, the da Vinci Eye finalist, and a Montaigne Medalist finalist.
She continues to be inspired by historic Route 66, and has recently completed Lies of Convenience, which will have a 2011 winter release date. It is a tale that fictionally connects murder, truths untold, and
’s Chicago Lake Michigan with ’s high desert on the opposite end of The Mother Road. Madeline is
also a potter with a fondness for stoneware and reduction firing. She lives
with her husband and assorted canines in the Mojave in a town on
internationally revered Route 66. California
Anne – Welcome to my little corner of cyberspace, Madeline.
Madeline - Thank you, Anne, for including me on the Mystery We Write Blog Tour, and talking to me today on your blog.
Anne – My pleasure! Tell us about Reticence ofRavens.
Madeline - Time and events have turned Hubert James Champion
III into a morose man trying for the last year to escape into ’s California Mojave Desert—somewhere a little
north of Route 66 on the way to . No longer a practicing psychologist and FBI collaborator, Hugh now
owns Joey’s mini-mart, a half-defunct gas station with no gas, no supplies, and
little food for customers. Opening hours variable. Arizona
He has become a man hiding out from the world, and himself—trying to seek redemption among the creosote and Palo Verde trees. His main companions these days are an aged desert dog, and the unkindness of sometimes raucous, but usually reticent ravens.
But Hugh soon senses that he can’t escape—especially when a “special” young woman with red Medusa-like hair, and covered in her father’s blood is brought to him one Sunday evening. Turner Jackson has been murdered, and LoraLee Jackson is the main suspect. In quick order Hugh is drawn into proving LoraLee’s innocence by both locals and unwanted East Coast intruders. Add the sudden appearance of LoraLee’s previously unknown brother, a bulldog FBI agent with an agenda of his own, and Hugh’s cousin Della’s love-sick ex-husband—not to mention multiple shootings, exploding drug-labs, and most importantly, Hugh’s past demons rearing their ugly heads once again.
No, Hugh cannot escape having to find a murderer—or his own past.
Anne - What one how-to-write book is a must on your bookshelf? Why?
Madeline - My one is one author, with many books. And my how-to-write book(s) are not non-fiction instruction, but the complete works of P.D. James. For me, her books show/tell it all on how to be not only a good—but a greater writer. I reread one of her books whenever I feel like I need a refresher.
There is one other how-to book I do refer to. It’s “The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation.” A must have. Although, I sometimes just end up re-writing the whole sentence if I can’t figure out the punctuation!
Anne - Do you belong to any writer’s organizations, critique groups, and/or depend on beta readers?
Madeline - I belong to Sisters in Crime National,
, and Los Angeles . I was a member of Southern Nevada Sisters in Crime but they are
unfortunately calling it quits this year. I’m also a member of Greater Los
Angeles Writers Society (GLAWS), High Desert California Writers Club (HD CWC),
and the Public Safety Writers Associations (PSWA). California Central Coast
My membership in these organizations has been invaluable in so many ways—conferences, networking, event opportunities, forums for announcements and promotions, and as my primary source for information on writing/publishing/latest trends, etc. But most of all, through these organizations I’ve made so many wonderful friends. Writing is often a solitary activity, but you don’t have to be lonely.
Critique groups and beta readers don’t seem to fit my personality. I do have three excellent editors, one professional (I pay), my agent (outstanding), and a cherished friend who has a wonderful eye for continuity.
Anne - Of all the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?
Madeline - I’ve written four mystery novels so far, the last soon to be released. Each are “standalones,” populated with many characters, and all with their own back stories. So, I have a lot of “fictional folks” to consider and compare.
And my initial answer to your question is Hubert James Champion
III (Reticence of Ravens) and Margot Madison-Cross (Lies of Convenience)
are my favorite protagonists. But I think some of my actual favorite characters
are supporting ones—the ones my readers know the least about. The ones that if
I were a faster writer and could live on four hours sleep a night, would have
their own tales.
Anne – I agree with you about time. Rarely does a writer write all that is inside her! Are you a glass half-empty or half-full kind of person?
Madeline - Oh, half full for sure! How can an author not be an optimistic sort in face of the challenges (including rejection!) to becoming successful? Completing the “perfect manuscript,” getting an agent if you go that route, getting published—and then there’s promotions! I’m an expert (or is it fool?) on seeing a few drops—let alone half-a-glass—then going for it!
Anne – Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?
Madeline - I think every author’s experience is unique, so don’t despair if your circumstance and results don’t seem to fit the norm, or conflict with someone else’s advice (mine included!) But I do think the more information you gather and have to choose from, the better to find your own path—what out of all the “words of wisdom,” that works for you. And what I always keep in mind is never, never, give up!
Anne – Where can readers reach you online?
Anne – Tell us about your Mystery We Write Blog Tour book giveaway.
Madeline - Leave a comment and your name will go into the drawing for a free copy of Reticence of Ravens (three copies in total, randomly selected by Buster!)
Anne – Thank you, Madeline. We’re going to have to do this again!
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AKA Update: I’m visiting Timothy Hallinan today. Please drop by his blog, and leave a comment to win one of three e-copies of Frank, Incenseand Muriel, book one of the Muriel ReevesMysteries. The winners will be announced December 9.
Tomorrow on Day 9 of the Mystery We Write Blog Tour my guest will be Wendy Gager.
Comments are always appreciated and welcome, have a super day, and happy reading!
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