Mary: Please give us a brief bio first, Madeline.
Madeline: I have three published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winning Uncle Si’s Secret (2008), Death of a Perfect Man (2009), and Reticence of Ravens (2010—and my 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.
In 2012 Lies of Convenience—Book One of a Margot Madison-Cross Route 66 Trilogy, and Pronouncements of Ravens—a sequel to Reticence of Ravens are being released. Lies of Convenience is a tale that fictionally connects murder, truths untold, and Chicago’s Lake Michigan with California’s high desert on the opposite end of The Mother Road. Pronouncements of Ravens takes Hubert James Champion III one step forward in his quest for peace and solitude in the Mojave. But before Hugh can come to terms with himself and his desert home, new obstacles rear their ugly heads—one being a heart wrenching murder. No, there is no easy path for Hugh in the Mojave.
I am also a potter with a fondness for stoneware and reduction firing. I live with her husband and assorted canines in the Mojave in a town on internationally revered Route 66.
Mary: Who inspires you?
Madeline: I’ve gone on-and-on before about how much I like P.D. James, but not always said why. Not only do I think she weaves a marvelous story through multiple points of view, I’m also drawn to her use of compound and complex sentences, challenging words—some long (yes, she sends me to the dictionary occasionally), judiciously placed (and sometimes lengthy descriptive passages), sentences that are longer than eight words—basically, writing that does not talk down, but inspires upward. And with that style, she still keeps the reader engaged and interested.
Mary: Do you like to write series? Or single titles only?
Madeline: So far, I’ve had three books published (and a fourth in publisher’s hands)—all are standalones. Though Lies of Convenience (out soon), I’m planning to be Book One in a trilogy. Ironically, I love P.D. James’s series character, Adam Dagleish—but for me, my writing musings have been drawn to characters who are relatively ordinary people, finding themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Consequently, my story lines have concentrated on that particular time in their lives. And up until recently, I have not been interested in following their next steps—finding it more interesting leaving their “life possibilities” open. Pronouncements of Ravens, my first sequel, will move the protagonist farther along. But I think a trilogy will also complete Hugh’s story in my mind.
There are still so many different locations, characters, and adventures hurtling around in my head—waiting for their day in the sun.
Mary: Where did you grow up? And how did that inspire your writing?
Madeline: I was born and raised in Chicago, and stayed there through college. I’m guessing bits and pieces from all periods of my life have, if not inspired, found their way into my writing. Lies of Convenience directly ties into Chicago, in that Route 66 starts in The Windy City, and the inspiration for the protagonist’s Lake Michigan view penthouse, was the wonderful view-flat of a beloved cousin and her husband. Much in the book was changed, but still, the spark for that story was looking out her wall-to-wall windows at the city below, and the lake beyond. As with all my books—that location—called out to me.
Mary: I love Chicago, one of my favorite cities. Anyway, let's continue. How do you research for your books?
Madeline: Research is an interesting topic for me. Because like publishing, researching information certainly has evolved. I ask my husband a lot of things—he’s a literature, history, gun, and politics data base! If he fails, it’s the internet. So easy, so fast. That being said, I also rely heavily on the law enforcement professionals I’ve met through the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Though I write fiction based in fictional locations, when it comes to procedures, equipment, etc.—I believe in getting it right if I can. The PSWA members have all been wonderful in providing info.
Mary: If you were told your stories were unbelievable and not written very well, would you continue to write? What would your response be?
Madeline: No “if” about it. I have been told (1) I should to do something else other than write, and (2) I didn’t write well enough to get published. My response was to ignore the first, and ignore the second—but also take writing classes! Don’t believe in giving up on dreams.
What thought provoking questions, Mary. Enjoyed thinking about my answers, then spouting-off. Lovely visiting with you!
Mary: It's been nice chatting with you too. Now tell us where we can find you, how we can buy your work, etc.
Madeline’s books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and Smashwords, in paper and e-book formats. You can visit her online at her website http://www.mmgornell.com, or her BLOG http://www.mmgornell.wordpress.com, or email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
M.M. will be giving away 3 copies of her latest book to commenters.
Buy link for Reticence of Ravens:
Thank you, Mary, for interviewing me on your blog. It’s a pleasure to meet and tour with you. I certainly am enjoying visiting with old friends—and making new ones!
It's very nice to meet you also, and now all my garden friends have had the opportunity also!