M. M. Gornell, author of Lies of Convenience Converses with Neil Knight

Thank you, Marilyn, for giving me the opportunity today to “converse” with one of my characters (yes—converse, not talk —to use my latest and rather proper protagonist’s vocabulary!). But Mitch Malone, Wendy Gager’s protagonist is already grilling my dear Margot Madison-Cross on her blog later in our tour. So when you, my friend and “guiding light,” asked me to interview one of my characters, I let Margot off the hook this time. I even gave my other protagonists—Hubert James Champion III, Jada Beaudine, and brother/sister Belinda and Bernard Jones—a pass.

Instead, I decided to interview a “minor” character who appears in both Reticence of Ravens and in my current work-in-process, Counsel of Ravens. Neil Knight is in the hot seat today. Sometimes it seems, minor characters take on a life of their own! And Neil was one of those for me. He started as a foil for Hugh, and somehow, someway, he became a special…

Thanks for stopping by Neil. In Reticence of Ravens, I decided in your first scene that I didn’t like you. You were not a sympathetic character, were you?

Ha! That’s what comes from snap judgments, doesn’t it. Just kidding. Yeah, after what we all we went through in Reticence of Ravens, I’ve even developed a sense of humor. But en effet, you’re right, I don’t come off that well in the first scenes.

Well, you said you hated the desert, hated your boss, and wanted to take her job. And what’s with the foreign phrases all the time? Sometimes it’s just plain annoying.

Not exactly, hate, but I was rather politically ambitious, wasn’t I? Especially, since my father-in-law was the Sheriff and could help me. At least that’s what I thought at the time. And why not use a foreign phrase when one fits, especially French. They have such a way with phrases.

You do seem a little mellower now, Neil, both in your demeanor and tone. Is that because of what happened to you?

(Neil sighs and looks away) Yes, being shot and being in a coma… And then what Hugh and Audrey and Ted did at the end…

Let’s change the subject. 

I’d like that. You know, in Counsel of Ravens, our in-progress next adventure—Hugh, Ted, and I have to deal with several even tougher circumstances.

Really? (tone dripping in sarcasm) Can you give us a preview?

No, you know, a work-in-progress by definition isn’t complete. I can tell you, though, none of us remain the people you started with at the beginning of Reticence of Ravens. Time and events…change us all…

Speaking of time, thanks for taking-the-time, Neil. I’m looking forward to where your “time and events” takes you. Au revoir!

Stay tuned…because Neil keeps surprising me! As usual, Marilyn, I loved visiting with you. So enjoy our touring.

Bio for Madeline (M.M.) Gornell

Madeline (M.M.) Gornell has four published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winning Uncle Si’s Secret (2008); Death of a Perfect Man (2009); Eric Hoffer Fiction finalist and Honorary Mention winner, the da Vinci Eye finalist, and Montaigne Medalist finalist Reticence of Ravens (2011); and PSWA award winner and Hollywood Book Festival Honorary Mention Lies of Convenience (2012). Both Reticence of Ravens and Lies of Convenience are Route 66 mysteries.

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.

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 mmgornell@earthlink.net

Book Giveaway:
Buster, Dobie, and Mugs (the latest) are each drawing a name from comments for free copies of Lies of Convenience (or a M.M. Gornell title of your choosing)

Buy link for Lies of Convenience:


I loved this interview. And you are so right, characters change just as we do. FYI, Madeline and I our friends who met at a book festival and have participated in others together and we once were roommates at a mystery con. And P.S. I love her books.
Earl Staggs said…
Madeline, I can see how a frank, outspoken character like Neil can stand out in a crowd. I might not invite him home for dinner, but I'm sure I'll enjoy reading about him.
Jake said…
Have truly enjoyed your writings. Keep up the good work. Thank you both for this tour.
M.M. Gornell said…
Good morning,, Marilyn, Earl, and Jake! I got a slow start this morning (in a duel with a flu/cold)--but I plan to win! This was such a fun post to do. Yours was a great request, Marilyn, interviewing one of your own characters. Neil and I are still "working" through Counsel of Ravens, and alas, I'm having to follow where he takes me! Love being here!
Jackie Houchin said…
What fun to read an interview with a book character, especially a minor one. I too did NOT like Neil at first, but... with Madeline's careful manipulation first impressions change. Looking forward to the next adventure.
Evelyn Cullet said…
Minor characters often add misadventure to a novel, and Neil Knight appears to be a great one for that. Can't wait to read Lies of Convenience.
M.M. Gornell said…
Jackie, thanks for stopping by! I know, Neil was not supposed to be a nice guy, but he kept nudging at me, saying I wasn't looking deep enough. That there was more to him than I thought. Funny that!

Thanks, Evelyn, for stopping by. So glad you want to read LOC. I'm looking forward to having a little more time for reading and writing--being on tour is time consuming. Though I wouldn't miss this tour for anything!

Jean Henry Mead said…
Enjoyed the interview, Madeline. Neil is proof that no villain is all bad and no protagonist all good.
M.M. Gornell said…
Yeah, Jean, and makes a more interesting story I think that way.

Collin Kelley said…
Loved the interview, MM. I think I said this before, but I love the idea of expanding a character's voice beyond the pages of the actual book.
WS Gager said…
Madeline: It always amazes me that my characters tell me what they are going to do. I use to think writers where nuts when they said that. Now I have to take orders from Mitch Malone. Sometimes life is not fair and it sounds like Neil is a lot like that too. Great post! I have got to get my hands on some of your books...
W.S. Gager on Writing
Thanks, everyone for stopping by and getting to know M. M.'s character and Madeline herself. It's been a great day!
M.M. Gornell said…
I agree, Marilyn, it has been a good day. And thank you Collin and Wendy--your kind words have have brought a nice end to my day!

Thanks, Marilyn, enjoyed my visit!


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