Madelyn, welcome! Tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?
I’m currently a teacher in New York State, prior to teaching I was a stay at home mom and before that a Mechanical Engineer. I’m married with 3 children – 2 in college (EEEK!) and my youngest in high school. We love sports (I’m a soccer mom!), cooking, hanging out, and going to the movies. If you want to know about a movie, ask me!
Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?
I like to think I was born with a book in my hand, but my mother told a slightly different story. I wrote since I was young, silly short stories, journal entries, and Harriet the Spy type of things. Serious writing came later after the birth of my son. Then I joined writing groups, met some awesome writers and made some great friends.
When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?
I was a stay at home mom and after my third child was born, I needed something that was just mine. So I began writing with the purpose of becoming published—like I wasn’t busy enough with 3 under 5 years old!
How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?
When I started my first novel, I did a ton of research. This was pre-Internet in the home people. That meant many visits to the library, copying reams of information, and reading, reading, reading. So, once the research was done, I felt as if I had a good handle on the Highlands, Scotland, and my characters. The story flowed, but I kept editing and editing. So, that story didn’t get published, but I kept writing.
Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?
I tend to thrive in chaos – remember 3 under 5 when I started writing seriously. I have an office, but there is a tv and couch and it’s really cozy, so everyone seems to congregate there.
What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?
I write historicals, but I think that our life experiences filter into our characters. I have started writing Young Adult and I do believe my experiences as a teacher and being a mom helps with young characters.
Literary Inspiration: throughout your life, what novels have lifted you, made you think, “Someday I want to create something like that . . .”
Wow, there are so many great characters in literature, it’s so hard to pick one. I love the classics such as Jane Erye and Pride and Prejudice. They have stayed with me and I re-read them often. One of my favorite novels from elementary schools is The Witch From Black Bird Pond and Kit, the main character is a strong young woman. Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells and her other books have such engaging, memorable characters waiting for her to finish and publish is torturous! Also, Adriana Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap series has wonderful characters and the stories are so engaging, I hated when they end.
Let’s talk about romance. How do you set the mood for your characters, what do you draw from that helps your H/H achieve oneness with each other? And how much conflict do you give them, along the way?
Hmmm. There has to be chemistry that is almost palpable. This helps the characters (along with goals, motivation, and conflict) achieve oneness. Conflict allows for great reward later, the more extreme the conflict, the more insurmountable it appears, the better the resolution.
What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?
There have been a lot of points in my career that have been exciting and memorable. For me, it was when I decided no matter what I was going to continue writing, maybe I’d get published, maybe I wouldn’t. The important thing was I was writing, something I love to do.
Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?
I have pictures of my children (they inspire me), a memory board with tokens from conferences and a list of my goals (keeps me focused), bookshelves filled with my favorite books (they are like good friends), a warm blanket (I’m always cold), and my laptop (It’s how I’m able to write and research).
Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?
Well, I work full-time, have a busy family, and I’m taking classes toward another Master’s degree—so there are a lot of constraints. But, in order to finish a story, you have to write and I try to write every day.
What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?
When the characters click and you are in this mode where the words are flowing and you look at the clock and hours have gone by and you didn’t even realize it.
What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?
Editing. Sometimes it is so hard to delete the words you sweated over.
How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?
I just sit down and start writing. I don’t outline, but I do research. Now with the Internet, I research as I write.
Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.
I’m working on a trilogy set in Scotland featuring 3 sisters who are strong as individuals, but unbeatable together. They each have to find their way in the clan, the world, but the ties of family direct their actions, relationships and love.
How about some faves of yours?
I love to cook and we watch a lot of The Cooking Channel and Food Network. I started a food blog so that my children can have digital access to all of their family favorites. Some of our favorite cooking shows are Pioneer Woman, Extra Virgin, Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, Dinner at Tiffani’s, and Chopped. We’ve even downloaded the Food Network’s apps so we can visit some of the Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives restaurants. During school breaks when we are all home, it seems as if we cook day and night.
Madelyn’s current Soul Mate release, For the Love of a Gypsy:
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 the 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 pasts in order to fight for their love and ensure their future.
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Website Link: http://www.madelynhill.com
Madelyn, thanks so much for visiting with us today!
Madelyn is doing a giveaway! One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of For the Love of a Gypsy. Please include your email address in order to be eligible.