Get your mystery kicks on Route 66 with this Mojave author who lists desire, tenacity, and daring as a writer’s three must-have personal qualities.
Madeline (M.M.) Gornell has three published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winning Uncle Si’s Secret (2008), Death of a Perfect Man (2009), and Reticence of Ravens (2010—and 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.
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.
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.
Thanks, Lou, for hosting me on your blog today. I’m certainly enjoying our tour. I also think your topics of discussion thought provoking and of interest to readers and writers alike.
What will never be found in your books? What is off the menu and why? This question grabbed me because of a recent discussion with a member of my Reading Group. I love our group, they have varied and very interesting tastes, and left to my own devices, I’d only read mysteries. But with the group I’ve read biographies, mainstream commercial fiction, and non-fiction I would not seek out on my own. But there have been several books I did not read. I mostly read for enjoyment—escapism into worlds I don’t live in—“meeting” new people I like and want to root for. Consequently, I don’t read books where animals (especially dogs) are harmed, or I know they die. I also don’t read horrific murder scenes or sexual violence (I pretty much like all my violence “off screen” in the British tradition). Consequently, I don’t write those types of scenes.
For me, the story interest is in the location, the characters, their motivations, and how they react to mysterious developments and “what if” circumstances. Using violent descriptions, and swear words, for me, should only come in if necessary to understand those story elements. Gratuitous violence, sex, and swearing can turn me away from what might otherwise be a good story.
If you've ever done signings, what's your best advice for authors? My first signing was in conjunction with my first panel—(I was a newbie and didn’t know anything). Anyway, I was very lucky to have several smiling and encouraging LA Sisters in Crime in the audience. Of course I got through it. I think I was mainly worried I wouldn’t have “answers.” Like it was a test or something? By now, I know all I have to do is be myself—the answers are about writing (which I do and love) and me. Who better to know me, than me. The other hurdle was modesty—now long gone (maybe) into the ethos of promotions. I hate giving advice, because everyone is different—but what I’ve learned from that very first panel/signing and subsequent experiences is a genuine smile goes a long way, and enjoy! Those moments could be some of the best times in your life—being a published author, and someone wanting a signed copy of your book. WOW! And, you meet so many wonderful people in the process.
In the same line of reluctance to give advice that could be only relevant to me—but what the heck: Name three necessary personal qualities a writer needs to succeed. My answers are (drum roll!) – Desire, Tenacity, and Daring.
And since you so graciously offered, here’s a little look at Reticence of Ravens:
Time and events have turned Hubert James Champion III into a morose man trying for the last year to escape into California’s Mojave Desert—somewhere a little north of Route 66 on the way to Arizona. 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.
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.
Again, thanks for having me, Lou. What fun!
Contact and Buy Info from Madeline (M.M.) Gornell:
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. PLEASE EMAIL HER DIRECTLY AT email@example.com
Buy link for Reticence of Ravens: