Authors are the most thought-provoking people. Sometimes I think how in the world did they come up with that story or how did they get their heroine out of that mess? Does it have any correlation to their lives? Of course we have the classics, and more notable authors that we know about, but I have to be honest, the lives of authors have not been the stimulant for me, but rather how the author keeps me on the edge of my seat.
Now that I write, my curiosity has gotten the better of me and I want to know all. Who are these people, these writers? I ask my writer friends at the Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America. What do you do besides write? How do you have time to live your life and still write? Do you have a family? Where did you go to school? What did you study? I sometimes I wish I had a talk show, where I could ask all the questions I want without running out of time. Little by little, I discovered the wonder of these authors, who they are, what they do, and how in the world they have time to write these amazing stories.
With no TV talk show at my fingertips, my blog will have to do. It is a perfect venue to provide some answers to the curious. This week, I am interviewing Madelyn Hill, published author with Soul Mate Publishing. Madelyn graciously accepted my invitation to give us some insight about her life and her historic romances.
GI: Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
MH: I grew up in Michigan and lived in the same house until I got married. We grew up with dogs, horses, goats, and rabbits and had our run in a nearby forest where we rode horses, dirt bikes, and played hide-and-seek. I feel the way we grew up allowed us to create adventure and nurture our creative side, which is a definite plus when you are a writer.
GI: When did you first start writing?
MH: I started writing around fifth grade. Silly stories and some Harriet the Spy type of stories.
GI: What book do you wish you could have written?
MH: I wish I could have written Harry Potter. Such wonderfully engaging, world creating, adventures in every book. I believe the series revolutionized the adolescent market and sparked the reading bug in young children.
GI: Do you believe that Harry Potter is good? What about scary?
There are those that believe taking young children into the fairyland of ghosts and goblins will ultimately frighten them, a fright that effects their dreams and ultimately their health. Is the inspiration to read worth it?
MH: Harry Potter is scary and I think parents need to know what their children are reading or watching. But it is the age-old Good against Evil theme. Also, think about all of the fairy tales we tell children. Bambi, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella–they all have very scary elements, but we still tell them, embrace them and make them into Disney Movies.
GI: Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
MH: There are so many authors who inspire me! When I was younger I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder and Judy Blume and now Sarah Dessen. In the historical market, I love Julia Quinn, Cathy MacRae and Christi Caldwell. In the contemporary market I read Adriana Trigiani and Sarah Addison Allen.
GI: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
MH: I usually have the name of the main characters and the title of the book before I even write a word. I do a lot of googling to find historic appropriate names. I usually do not look at their meaning, but the sound and readability matters. Also, I try to make sure there aren’t a lot of characters with the same letter in their first name. That can get confusing for the reader.
GI: What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
MH: I really like the creative part of starting a story and allowing it to organically flow from my fingers. This may mean there are a lot of necessary edits, but I’m a pantster (write by the seat of her pants) and work off of a very rudimentary plot outline. I do pre-research on location, time period, family names, and characters.
GI: So, you are a pantster. Don’t you have it all in your head before you write? You must have some kind of plan? Then how do you structure your story? When you edit, is that when you pull your story together?
MH: Yes, I pull the story together when I edit. I generally have an idea of where the story is going as I research but I don’t outline and usually write the synopsis after the story. This is sometimes frustrating and I try to plot but it just doesn’t work for me.
GI: When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
MH: I love to cook and my husband and I are avid moviegoers! We also have a very busy family life with our 3 children. And of course I read a ton!
GI: When and where do you write?
MH: Usually in the family room on the couch or in our office/sitting- room. I work during the day so I usually write at night and weekends. I use the record feature on my phone for impromptu notes while driving (hands free) or waiting for one of my children.
GI: What do you want your tombstone to say?
MH: Wow! Great question. Hmmm. We all play roles in life and my most fulfilling have been as a mother and wife. But I’ve also been able to fulfill my dreams as well. So, I would like my tombstone to read – Madelyn Hill – she lived her dream.
GI: What’s your latest book, and where can my readers find it?
MH: For the Love of a Gypsy
Back cover blurb
Can she betray the Gypsy clan who saved her for the love of a stranger?
Martine Petrulengo is stifled by the traditions of her adopted Gypsy clan. They gave her new life when she was left all alone. And now she is expected to marry in order to forge clan allegiances. When she nurses handsome and charming Lord Declan Forrester back to health, she is lured by the seductive idea of life outside of the clan—and the prospect of love with the Irishman.
Can he prove his innocence in order to claim his Gypsy?
Lord Declan Forrester trades prison bars for a loveless marriage in order to save his soul. And now he’s trying to prove his innocence not only as a traitor, but that of his wife’s murder. When the lovely and beguiling Martine saves him, he falls in love for the first time. Yet, the obstacles of his past seem insurmountable.
Martine and Declan must fight tradition, prejudice and the haunting ghosts of their past in order to fight for their love and ensure their future.
GI: Madelyn, thanks for sharing with my readers.
MH: Thanks for inviting me.
Madelyn Hill books:
COMING SOON, “Heather in The Mist” -July 2015