Saturday, November 26, 2011


Good morning Readers,

Today we will hear from the award winning mystery author Madeline (M.M.) Gornell: what inspires her, what she likes best about writing and what she wants her readers to experience while reading her books.

Madeline has published three mysteries: The  PSWA awarding winning novel 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.

I'll bet you'd also be interested in knowing that Madeline is 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.

Now I'm turning things over to Madeline.
Thank you, Jackie, for hosting me on your blog!

Since it’s early days on our tour, and since you’ve graciously let me talk about whatever I want, I thought I’d offer my answers to the three questions I’ve asked all my fellow tour members to answer for my blog. Seems only fair. I picked these three because they were representative of many that come up when I’m talking to readers at events—especially at festivals and fairs.

My questions were:
  •  What/who inspires you and your stories?
  •  What do you most like about being an author?
  • What do you most want readers to take away from your novels--what you want them to think and feel when the last page is read?
Inspiration? My inspiration for writing initially came from—and has been reinforced throughout my life by—all the great mystery authors that have led the way. My earliest memories are of falling in immediate love with Agatha Christie—her style, her plots, her protagonists. She was my rock star! Now, I’m continually inspired and re-energized by P.D. James. (I am an admitted and unashamed anglophile)

For each of my novels, my inspiration and first kernel of an idea has come from a location that has reached out, grabbed me, and wouldn’t let go. That sounds a bit silly, and it’s not the whole story, but truly, so far, I’ve been inspired to start a story because a location said, “Me! Me! Write about me!” From the location, I’ve then wondered—who would have lived there, or come that way? What is their story? And in the case of my first, Uncle Si’s Secret—the compelling thought at a particular place along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail on my dog walks kept returning—“What a perfect spot for a murder!” (Another reason why exercise is good for you)

I don’t just like being an author, there’s nothing else I rather be doing. Truth be told, I certainly could do without the promotions part, but I love developing an idea (usually as I go), creating characters, devising the murder mystery—and surprisingly as my writing adventure moves forward—love rewriting! Making it all come together—my ideas(plot and philosophical), words, phrases, hints, clues… Thank goodness for my great editors! Of the bits-and-pieces that come with writing, I particularly enjoy meeting readers, authors, and especially hearing people say they liked by book(s)!

Reader Wishes? First off, I sure hope they enjoy reading my book and are taken away for a few hours into an interesting world that captivates them—either because it’s so different from theirs, or because they can identify with the characters and locations. Especially with Route 66 and the desert, hoping the “feel” of the place came through.

Then there’s my wish they find themselves in my characters mind (the protagonist’s especially)—feeling and hearing their voice.

My most cherished hope, is that when you close one of my books, there’s a smile on your face, and thoughts, questions, ideas beyond who the murderer was remain with you—at least for awhile.

Jackie, thanks for letting talk about what keeps me going as an author. Thanks so much for the visit!
You are so very welcome, Madeline. I've really enjoyed your thoughts on writing and I'm sure our readers have, too. You're welcome on Cozy Mysteries and Other Madness anytime.

Lies of Convenience, Madeline's next Route 66 mystery, will be released soon. It's 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.

Madeline’s books are available at, Barnes &, and Smashwords, in paper and e-book formats. You can visit her online at her website, or her BLOG, or email her directly at

Reticence of Ravens is available at:

Remember Readers! Our MURDER WE WRITE Holiday Blog Tour Writers are giving away over 50 FREE books. To be eligible for all drawings, visit each blogsite and leave a comment.

I’m giving away signed copy of THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE and another of FOXY STATEHOOD HENS AND MURDER MOST FOWL. To get your name in the hat for my free books, leave a comment below.

And be sure to check in tomorrow to meet a new Mystery Writer.




Jackie King said...

M.M., Welcome to COZY MYSTERIES AND OTHER MADNESS,it's an honor to have you as my guest.

Readers, this delightful writer is aka Madeline. It's a lovely name, isn't it?

Remember to leave a comment, that puts your name into my black fedora for a free book drawing.
Hugs to all,

M.M. Gornell said...

Thank you so much, Jackie, for hosting me today! It's so nice to have an opportunity and forum to let readers know how much I like writing, where in me it comes from, and how much I want them to enjoy my work! It's a pleasure being here!


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Hi, Madeline, I'm always glad to learn more about a friend and fellow writers. You feel about writing much as I do.


Mike Orenduff said...

Hi Jackie,

Thanks for hosting Madeline. It is a lovely name, and she's a lovely person.

Timothy Hallinan said...

Hi again, Madeline -- we've got to stop meeting like this. Like you, I love everything about being a writer except self-promotion -- although that doesn't include bookstore tours. I love meeting people in stores and talking about reading and writing.

Still, it's hard to think of an activity that's more unlike writing than promoting is.

Alice Duncan said...

Loved your post, Madeline. And I applaud your goal of leaving your readers with a smile on their faces!

Jackie King said...

Thanks for leaving stopping by Alice.

Earl Staggs said...

Madeline, your answers to your questions were better than mine. I enjoyed getting in your head here.

M.M. Gornell said...

Thank you, Marilyn, Mike, Timothy, Alice, and Earl for stopping by. I know how precious time is to all of us. It's nice just to talk about writing and ourselves sometimes. Thank you, Jackie for letting me "hang out" today.


Carol M said...

I enjoyed reading your post! It's wonderful that you enjoy writing so much!

Anne K. Albert said...

So glad you decided to play fair, Madeline! Seriously, your questions are great, and I share your views on writing. Making someone smile is a gift!

M.M. Gornell said...

Thank you Carol for visiting! Yes, occasionally I've wondered what would I be doing if not writing? Movie star was the only thing I could come up with! (smile broadly!)

Thank you Anne--making someone smile I think is the best you can wish for! Sometimes I forget that...


Jackie King said...

Hi Carol M., Glad you commented here, too. That's one more entry into my black fedora for my drawing at the end of the tour.

WS Gager said...

Great post Jackie. I love the creative part of writing. It amazes me when things just go in a whole new direction and its better than what I planned.
W.S. Gager on Writing

Jackie King said...

Thanks for stopping by, Wendy. I thought Madeline's thoughts on inspiration were excellent.

Jackie King said...

Mike, Hosting Madeline was all my pleasure. She's delightful. And I agree, her name is lovely. Perhaps she and I can meet in person, one day.

M.M. Gornell said...

What a great day! Thanks, Jackie for hosting me, and big thanks to everyone that stopped by! A real pick me up.


Jackie King said...

I had fun, too, Madeline. You were a great guest!