Friday, April 27, 2012

Madeline (M.M.) Gornell Talks About the Art and Craft of Writing

Madeline, welcome to my mountaintop on the last day of our Mystery We Write Spring blog tour.. It's great to have you visit here from California's Mojave Desert. 

Jean, so glad to be here today. I’ve so enjoyed our previous conversations! You’ve asked me to talk about the craft of writing—a BIG topic—and thought provoking. That’s one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about our blog tours, making the time to think about what I’m trying to do, and why. In my eyes, the “craft” of writing is two pronged—“craft, and art.”

I love reading fiction novels (mysteries mainly) that have a strong sense of “place,” with characters I like, and in the case of mysteries—a tricky plot I can’t figure out, but makes sense at the end. I also like reading work that has a good sense of language—using just the right word (I’ve spent hours rewriting until it’s “just right” for me—or pressing the DELETE button!). I even like long sentences, and don’t mind being sent to the dictionary a couple times.

All that being said about what I like to read, the art and craft of writing for me is my telling a good story, in an enticing and suspenseful way, with interesting and appealing characters, a murder that needs to be solved (with all the emotional baggage that entails), and using language and style that will appeal to readers and is also satisfying for me to write. A mouthful, I know.

And it’s a really big mountain to climb—but writing a book you’d love to read, I think, is key. So, in today’s writing world, one of my main challenges is balancing all those elements in an artistic and well crafted way. And a key activity for me in trying to “get there,” is rewriting. On a practical/technological level, word processing software has been a tremendous enabler for me. And the author I take inspiration from to achieve those goals, and enjoy reading the most—is P.D. James. To me, she balances all the “craft, and art” elements I most admire.

Thanks, Jean, for inviting me back on this tour and letting me spout-off!
Sure enjoy visiting with you.

My pleasure, Madeline. Thank your for your good thoughts.

You can buy Madeline's books on, Barnes and and Smashwords in print and e-book editions. And you can visit her online at her website or her Blog. You can also email her directly.

Book Giveaway:

Madeline will be giving away 3 copies of her latest book to visitors who leave their email addresses with their comments.

About the Author:

Madeiline (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 (2010and 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.

Click here to buy her novel, Reticence of Ravens:


  1. Good morning, Jean! So glad to be visiting with you again on your mountain top! Love it here, the view is wonderful!

  2. Good morning, Madeline. It's great to have you here. My apology for the late post. We're having technical problems this morning.

  3. No problem, Jean, glad to visit with you any time!


  4. Madeline, My feeling is that these blogs actually give us a chance to showcase our writing style, and you've done an excellent job. I can't wait to get started on one of your books. I wish I was one of those people who can read more than one book at a time, but sadly, I'm not.

  5. More books to read! Really like the cover for Reticence for Ravens, Madeline.

  6. Thank you, Helen! And thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. Much appreciated!


  7. Oh, Marja,my Kindle is full, the stack by my chair is full...I need a "reading year"

  8. Like everyone else, I wish I had more hours in the day, and yes, my Kindle is also full, but please know you on my TBR list, Madeline! Thanks again for taking part in the Mystery We Write Blog Tour. It's been such fun!