M.M. GornellTalks About Setting as it Applies to Her
Thank you, Marilyn, for hosting me on your blog! As you know, I enjoy reading your books very much—and your writing and promotions activities have been guiding lights for me. So, I’m especially pleased to be here and participating in this Mystery We Write Blog Tour.
I’m also pleased to have the opportunity to talk about setting. As a reader, a key ingredient for my enjoyment of a book (along with characters) is being “taken away.” For example, my favorite author is P.D. James. I just love being transported to her wonderful locations in Britain. And seeing London through the eyes of her protagonist Adam Dagleish (and others) are the most enjoyable reading experiences I’ve ever had.
In my own writing, the first excitement and kernel of an idea for each of my books has come from a location that has reached out, grabbed me, and wouldn’t let go. I know that sounds “over the top,” and it’s not the whole story, but so far, my novels have started because a location said, “Me! Me! Write about me.” From there, my writing goal is to make the location also come alive for the reader. Have them see, taste, smell, hear what’s unique about this particular setting.
I lived in North Bend, WA for a long period of time, in a rural area east of Seattle, WA. While walking my dogs, one particular spot always caught my fancy, and the idea for Uncle Si’s Secret was born on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Then when looking for a new home, my husband and I (and two dogs) lived in the Ridgecrest, CA area, and while house-hunting, there was a particular spot on Interstate 14 we often passed. It was an odd collection of rag-tag dwellings that just seemed to speak to me. That turned out to be the inspiration for Death of a Perfect Man. Then came Reticence of Ravens which was born in the Mojave, maybe a mile down the road from where I live. My inspirations for Lies of Convenience were a tiny building near my local Post Office (also a tiny little building!), and a ramshackle Quonset hut, again down the road a bit. I can say with certainty, Route 66 has “locations” galore begging to be written about and brought “alive” for my readers through my characters eyes and experiences.
Marilyn, it’s been fun posting on your Blog, thanks for the visit!
Madeline (M.M.) Gornell has three published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winning 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.
She continues to be inspired by historic Route 66, and has recently completed Lies of Convenience, which hopefully will have a 2011 winter release date. It 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. 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.
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
Buy link for Reticence of Ravens:
P.S. from Marilyn:
Madeline has become a special friend to me and my husband. We met at a book fair, saw each other again a a mystery conference, then the Public Safety Writers Conference--since then we've been neighbors at book festivals and other places and learned to enjoy one another's company. That's one of the pluses of being a mystery writer.