Mystery We Write Tour: M.M. Gornell

Madeline (M.M.) Gornell has published four mystery novels, including the Public Safety Writer Award-winners Uncle Si’s Secret and Lies of Convenience. Reticence of Ravens was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Fiction Award, the da Vinci Eye Award and Montaigne Medalist Award. Madeline is also a potter with a fondness for stoneware and reduction firing. She lives with her husband and assorted canines in the Mojave Desert in a town on internationally revered Route 66. To find out more about Madeline and her books, visit her blog at this link.

What characters in the mystery/suspense genre inspired you?
I’ve gone on and on before about how much I like P.D. James, but not always said why. Her series character Adam Dagleish is number one on my list because he’s thoughtful, complicated, rather morose and has a true heart. Through Adam not only does P.D. weave a marvelous story, but also draws her reader in using complex sentences, challenging words (yes, she sends me to the dictionary occasionally), judiciously placed and sometimes lengthy descriptive passages, and most sentences are longer than eight words. Basically, writing that does not talk down, but inspires upward.

What's the best advice you've received as a writer?
Foremost, never give up. And to paraphrase P.D. James: Increase your word power, read widely and with discrimination, write what you need to write, and waste nothing that happens to you—however happy, however tragic.

What book makes you say, 'Damn, I wish I'd written that'?
Actually, one that my book club has just finished called The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips.

Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of Lies of Convenience or another M.M. Gornell novel of your choice. Winners will be chosen on Dec. 11. And be sure to visit Joyce Lavene's blog at this link for my guest post about choosing at setting for The Venus Trilogy.


M.M. Gornell said…
Good morning, Collin! What a pleasure to be on tour with you, and visiting your blog this morning! You've asked many interesting questions and I've picked several this morning to spout-off about. Thank you so much for providing the tour stop, and it's great meeting you!

Hi, Madeline and Collin. The interview was great, always love learning a bit more about writers I love.
Evelyn Cullet said…
Love the P.D. James advice, Madeline. I haven't read any of your novels yet. But Lies of Convenience is on my TBR list.
Anne K Albert said…
That advice about wasting nothing that happens in a writer's life whether happy or tragic struck a chord with me, Mad.
Before we whisked my stepfather to the hospital because he was bleeding internally, I remembered thinking "Blood really does have a metallic smell. I need to tuck that in the back of my head for future use."

Sad. But true. Writers will use everything at their disposal. Everything!
marja said…
I have to agree with Anne's comment. When I least expect it, and sometimes at inopportune times, something will happen that automatically gets filed in my memory folder. Terrific post!
Marja McGraw
Jean Henry Mead said…
Great advice from P.D. James and great writing from you, Madeline. I love your books!
M.M. Gornell said…
Marilyn, thanks for stopping by--I know you're a busy lady. Agree with you, one of the great things about this tour is getting to know so many great authors!

Thanks, Evelyn for putting LOC on your TBR list, sure hope you like it!

Anne, I can so sympathize and understand. Whenever I need to be re-energized, I look to P.D. for inspiration.

Yep, Marja, even little things sometimes--was in WalMart this morning getting get-rid-of-flu-juice, and I thought about the couple in front of me 'Have to use how they're acting somehow, sometime, somewhere..."

Jean, thanks for stopping by, I know you too are a busy lady and sure appreciate all your encouraging words and support!

Morgan Mandel said…
Good advice about not wasting anything that comes to you. Even when I'm walking my dog, my mind is churning, wondering if I can use something in a blog or story.

Morgan Mandel
Rionna Morgan said…

I really like your line... "and waste nothing that happens to you—however happy, however tragic". Excellent. I had an aunt who told me when I was in my teens that I couldn't be a writer, because I hadn't lived enough. Nothing bad had happened to me. Of course I was furious at the idea. But, she was right. In a way I'm not sad about the tragic events in my life--they become some of the gripping scenes of which I write.

Thank you for sharing!
john M. Daniel said…
Good post, Madeline. I'm a fan of Arthur Phillips, too. His novel THE EGYPTOLOGIST is a tour de force!
Jake said…
You are tops on list of favorites. Have been sending your books as gifts with rave reviews of thanks. Looking forward to more.
WS Gager said…
I agree with you and Anne and Marja about tucking away details. I do it too. I can't wait to write about a psycho off his's that about a teaser to an actual event?
M.M. Gornell said…
Morgan, so true how you can be "writing" while doing everyday activities--interesting where inspiration can come from.

Yeah, something similar happened with me Rionna, and I certainly have picked up a lot from "life." And the advice came from P.D. James--a wise author!

John, I'll have to read Egyptologist! Love my book club, gets me reading books I wouldn't otherwise try...

Jake, so glad you're following along on this tour--I so much appreciate your encouragement and kind words. Thank you!

Oh, Wendy, a psycho off his drugs--I'm scared and intrigued already! Thanks for stopping by!

Jean said…
Love the read widely advice.

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