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.
Wonderful being on tour with you today, Jean. You’ve graciously offered me the opportunity to introduce myself and my writing. My novels so far have been standalones with unique circumstances and sets of characters. I can say, an underlying theme in my tales is what I phrase, “ordinary” people put into “extraordinary” circumstances. Also important to me is the “what if” concept. And of course, an enticing murder mystery!
Setting/location is also an important aspect (I hope!) in my writing. For me, a good sense of place is also so important in enjoying books I read. My first book, Uncle Si’s Secret was set in the beautiful, damp, overcast, and soggy Pacific Northwest. Then when transitioning locations, I was enamored with a desert spot near Ridgecrest, California. (My first introduction to the desert!) My next two novels have been written where I am now, in a small Mojave Desert town on Route 66.
To fulfill your request for excerpts from my work, I thought it would be fun to include the prefaces of my two latest Route 66 mysteries…
From Lies of Convenience:
The world of this author’s mind is populated with a multitude of places and characters—many composites, and many imaginary. Occasionally, some of these people and places escape—intermingle with reality—and become backdrops and inspiration for tales of mystery.
Situated on Route 66 as it crosses California’s Mojave Desert, NewTown is a fictional place, but its inspiration is drawn from the many “small dots” spreading themselves along The Mother Road. This particular NewTown tale—even though populated with imaginary characters involved in fictional events—is nonetheless, triggered by the realities of High Desert terrain, weather, and the fortitude of its very real inhabitants.
CHICAGO, on the other hand, more than halfway across the country from NewTown, and at the start of Route 66, is on a capital-letters-scale, a world-renowned, sophisticated, and larger-than-life city. Indeed, to experience Lake Michigan’s unparalleled waterfront, especially under the magical shroud of night, with city lights a-sparkling—is to be bedazzled, awed, and visually imprinted for life.
Besides their shared Route 66 heritage, how do these places and people—real and imaginary—intersect? Therein lies the story…
From Reticence of Ravens:
Interstate 15 stretches across Southern California from San Diego to Las Vegas, Nevada. If you take the driving adventure I-15 offers, you will not only join Route 66 for a bit, but also pass through three counties before finally rolling into California’s Mojave High Desert.
The last stretch of highway heading northeast out of Barstow towards Las Vegas is mind-expanding—and capable of tickling the imagination in hundreds of ways. The sparse but curiously compelling terrain leads one to imagine numerous tales of human optimism, fortitude, endurance—and peril.
Such people they must have been to settle this piece of Americana! What past joys and disappointments must still haunt the creosote bushes and Palo Verde (green stick) trees? Even today, new mysteries are still being played out throughout the Mojave vastness—if only in this author’s imagination.
The days of leisurely “cruising” Route 66 in a convertible have certainly evolved. But for all Route 66 devotees and location knowledge fans—California’s San Bernardino County and the cities and areas of Baker, Barstow, Newberry Springs, San Bernardino, and Victorville—do exist. And yes, averages of up to 250,000 cars, motor-homes, and trucks—with real people in them—are reported to use I-15 daily.
However, reader beware. Many liberties were taken with all locations, official positions, government facilities, and organizations in this story—including the “tombs.” Reticence of Ravens is a fanciful tale, constructed in author’s imagination, and intended as an escape from reality. Mojave County is a fictional government entity and place, occupied by fictional people.
Hopefully, it is a place you will enjoy visiting. Welcome.
Thank you so much, Jean, for letting me visit today and jabber-on about my writing. Loved it!
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
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: