Today is the last interview in the Murder We Write Blog Tour. It has been a long and busy two weeks but I must say I’ve met some incredible “characters” including one of the most interesting today. I’m hoping this one will turn into national headlines with the man’s credentials but I’m getting ahead of myself. Thank you, Hubert James Champion III, for coming in today. Champion is the hero in Reticence of Ravens, a Route 66 mystery by M.M. Gornell. Hugh you own a store/gas station in the middle of the Mojave Desert in California. Isn’t it a bit rough to get customers in a land that doesn’t see much travel?
Hugh: I don’t want customers—that’s the point. All I carry are five brands of candy bars—Baby Ruth, Charleston Chews, Mounds Bar, Heath Bar, & Milky Way—bottled water, and small glass bottles of Classic Coke. Oh yeah, lately I started carrying milk for the locals because Gabe insists. Unfortunately though, thousands of people travel daily on I-15, and I-40 (Route66) south of me. Fortunately, all the LA, Vegas, and Roadie folks just whiz by Joey’s mini-mart and don’t bother to stop. Especially if they’ve made the mistake of stopping once before. My gas pumps don’t even work, and like I said, I just want to be left alone, blend in with the sand. My desert-dog Hobo and the Ravens are plenty company for me. Out here I can bury my head in the sand along with a lot of bad memories. I’m thinking you can understand what I’m getting at with the bad memories…
I can understand wanting to help a damsel in distress. I get suckered into that on occasion but did you really think she wasn’t guilty when she arrived covered in someone else’s blood?
Hugh: Well, there’s the mind, and then there’s the heart. All the circumstances screamed LoraLee did it—but my heart knew she couldn’t. Silly sounding thing for a man to say, but darn it, it’s the truth—and being a psychologist, after a while you learn to accept a few things about yourself. The problem, Mitch, was I didn’t have a clue how to prove her innocence. And I really hated I’d have to get involved. (Hugh sighs.) Truth is, if it weren’t for pushy Gabe and that nosey FBI agent, I’d left the whole thing in Audrey’s hands.
Now I’ve warmed you up with some easy questions. I understand you may have some mental problems and have conversations with some birds that show up. What is up with that? As a former psychologist, you have to know you need help?
Hugh: (Laughs) And you don’t have any hang-ups? Did you know Ravens are extremely intelligent—more so than a lot of humans I’ve met. Besides, you must know all us head-types are screwed up. I did have a shrink. Stopped going, didn’t like her answers. You want her number?
Now, I’ve worked with the FBI on occasion and it hasn’t turned out very well for me. They are a devious lot. Has that been your experience, Hugh? Any skeletons you want to tell me about the FBI? You always need something to hold over them and I would be happy to attribute it to an unnamed source…
Hugh: The FBI let my cousin’s husband die. That’s enough for me to hate their guts. (Hugh sighs again) That being said, I kind of like Ted Fletcher—he dropped in while I was trying to help LoraLee—with his own agenda of course, and asking for my help. They always are, asking for help that is—then when you need them… (Hugh clears his throat) Where the heck are they?
Okay, I’ll admit part of the reason I let Ted insert himself into my life even though he’s FBI—was he’s Audrey’s brother. And you know my feelings for Audrey…
Actually, Hugh, I don’t. Could you—
Hugh: Well, Mitch, I think that’s all I want to say for now. But, it’s been good for me to get out of the desert for a bit, see what’s going on in the rest of the world. I appreciate you asking me out, it’s actually been fun—but I need to get back Hobo—and my Ravens. Thanks, though!
Thank you Hugh for being honest about your involvement in the murder of Turner Jackson. Now if you will excuse me, I have a story to write up. Thanks for the ammunition. I’m going to pay back that FBI femme fatale that used me for her case. Did I say thanks, Hugh, now you better run. I’ve got a deadline. Oh, before I forget, get more about Hugh’s story and others in the Route 66 series from M.M. Gornell’s website: http://www.mmgornell.com and her blog http://www.mmgornell.wordpress.com , where she talks about Route 66 adventures, has conversations with other authors, reviews books, and hosts guest bloggers. You can also email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . Madeline’s books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and Smashwords—in paper and e-book formats. http://www.amazon.com/Reticence-Ravens-M-Gornell/dp/1608300390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314747098&sr=8-1
Also, don't forget to leave a comment. Today is your last chance to get an entry in to win one of the books about yours truly. You will love my stories in the Mitch Malone Mystery series.
Madeline (M.M.) Gornell has three published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winning Uncle Si’s Secret (2008), Death of a Perfect Man (2009), and her latest release, Reticence of Ravens (2010)—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. She continues to be inspired by historic Route 66, and has recently completed Lies of Convenience, which hopefully will have a 2011 winter release date. It 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. 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.