M.M. Gornell, Mystery We Write Blog Tour
(Today I'm guest blogging at redroom.com/member/lou-allin/blog . Stop in if you have a moment.)
As the Mystery We Write Blog Tour continues, author M.M. (Madeline) Gornell is my guest. Madeline writes what she’d like to read, and that speaks to me as a reader.
Thank you, Marja for hosting me on your blog
today! You’ve asked for an in depth look at how I come up with my story ideas,
and like so many blog tour topics, yours made me think. A good thing!
I’ve babbled on in the past about how locations grab me—to quote myself: “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. 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 also kept returning—‘What a perfect spot for a murder!’ (Another reason why exercise is good for you)”
For Reticence of Ravens, there is a mini-mart at an I-15 exit I often pass, and for me is still most compelling—even though the book has long entered the world of published words. The gas pumps still don’t work, and food and beverage offerings remain minimal. However, the people there are very nice, and do wonderful tire repair—and believe me, I know about such things. One desert “surprise” is the amazing number of flat-causing “odds and ends” lurking just below the sandy and innocuous looking surface of Mojave dirt roads. That mini-mart was my inspiration for Reticence of Ravens—Hubert Champions new home and adventure. And even now, every time I pass, something about the place sings to my heart.
From the locations grabbing me, I’ve then wondered who, and why someone lived there? What compelled them to take up residence, start a business, build a monument—or in the case of Uncle Si’s Secret—murder someone in such a lovely spot? In the background, I’m also aware I want to write about people I’d also like reading about. People I could like or hate, root for, or cheer at their demise. Then there are the unusual circumstances the characters (so far, ordinary people, not super-stars) find themselves in. And hopefully there’s the “what if?” factor—the endless decision tree we’re all stuck with.
As to plot, I start with a small general idea which blossoms, changes, re-focuses, and usually becomes more elaborate through re-writing and deeper back-story development. Some twists and turns developing very late in the process. Has to be tricky but plausible. Somehow, it all works out—after a lot of hard work and tones of rewriting!
And since you so graciously offered, here’s a little look at Reticence of Ravens which touches on some of the elements I mentioned:
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.
Thanks so much, Marja, for hosting me today. I sure enjoyed it— talking about writing is always such fun.
It was my pleasure, Madeline, and I hope you’ll return one day.
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 email@example.com
M.M. will be giving away 3 copies of her latest book to commenters.
Buy link for Reticence of Ravens:
Bio for Madeline (M.M.) Gornell:
Madeline (M.M.) Gornell has three published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winning UncleSi’s Secret (2008), Death of aPerfect 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 ofConvenience 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.
On April 21, Jean Henry Mead arrives for her visit for the Blog Tour. You won't want to miss Jean.
CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s Website
CLICK HERE for a trip to Amazon.com