MM Gornell Stops By for a Visit

M. M. Gornell Drops by for a Visit

It’s great visiting with you today, Marilyn! You’ve asked me what inspired me to write my latest book. Well, if you’ll indulge me, I’d first like to mention my initial inspiration for all my work. I’ve gone on ad nausea about this before—but it’s the truth, so I guess I’m stuck with repeating myself. Locations.

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)

So, given that background, there is a mini-mart at an I-15 exit I often pass, and to me, is most compelling. The gas pumps don’t work, and food and beverage offerings are 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.

You’ve also asked me for my favorite writing tips. I’m always hesitant to give advice on writing, because I really believe every author is different, and every approach individual. That being said, I also think the more info and ideas an author has to chose from and try, the easier to find what works for you. So here are some things that have in the past—and continue to help me:
·         Writing classes,
·         Rewriting, rewriting, rewriting,
·         Reading in my genre, the famous and the not so famous—I learn from all mystery writers,
·         Finding out what other authors are doing, then deciding if it’s something that will help me—or maybe try—even when outside of my “comfort zone,”
·         Consider I’m continually learning to write. With each book, I should be better,
·         Take a thoughtful step back from advice that begins with phrases like, “You should…” and “You have to…,” and
·         Listening.

Thank you, Marilyn, for letting me babble on here on your blog today. As always, love visiting with you.

Bio for Madeline (M.M.) Gornell:

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)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.

Contact and Buy Info from Madeline (M.M.) Gornell:
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

Book Giveaway:

M.M. will be giving away 3 copies of her latest book to commenters at the end of the tour. Once again, Buster will do the selecting.

Buy link for Reticence of Ravens:


Terence said…
Great and interesting post.
Jackie Houchin said…
I like your #3 writing tip, Madeline. You will learn something from every author you read (what TO do, or NOT to do). Some authors say they don't read in their genre for fear of "accidentally borrowing" style or even info for their own works. Do you ever worry about that?
M.M. Gornell said…
You raise an interesting question, Jackie, the difference between learning form and "borrowing" from. So far I haven't worried about. Mostly have dealt with perfecting my own voice, which so far, to my ear, isn't the style of anyone I've read. And the "grammatical to do and not to dos" are for everyone. I have noticed, I think, I might break more grammatical rules than most author's I read (but I can't seem to help it!) Voice usually wins over grammar....I'll stop blabbing now. As usual, Jackie, your questions get me going...

Thanks so much for stopping by!
M.M. Gornell said…
Terrence, thanks for you kind words and for visiting! Glad you found my post interesting.
Anne K. Albert said…
Great article, Madeline. It's always fun to hear what sings to one author and inspires a novel, and I'm so glad it's not just me who spots a place where a body could be buried! ;-)
M.M. Gornell said…
Anne, so glad to hear I'm not the only one who spots "body" spots. Fictional ones, that is! Thanks for stopping by.

marja said…
Great blog, Madeline. I've always said a blog is a place where you can showcase your writing style. I think you did a fine job of it here, and I've got to start your series before any more time goes by.
M.M. Gornell said…
I know, Marja, there are just sooooo many good authors to read--everyone on our tour of course! Thank you so much for the kind words.
Mary Martinez said…
Fancy meeting you and Marilyn here, Madeline. Just kidding.

I am with you about voice winning over grammar, and in contests I have scores (low ones) to prove that. Oh well. I love to write. If it reads well, I don't notice the grammar, unless it's blaring at me.
Earl Staggs said…
Very interesting, Madeline, how locations inspire your books. I've never thought of that, but I like it. Good luck and good writing to you.
M.M. Gornell said…
Thanks for stopping by Mary, and it is a funny thing we keep "bumping" into each other! So nice--your words, "I love to write."

Thanks for your well wishes, Earl. Sure appreciate you stopping by.


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