Interview with Deanna Madden

How did you get the idea for Forbidden Places?
The idea for Forbidden Places came from the island of Ni'ihau, which is known as the Forbidden Island. On Ni'ihau, where outsiders are rarely permitted, Hawaiian customs of the past, including the spoken use of the Hawaiian language, are being preserved. Today we have sanctuaries to preserve endangered species; in the future we may have sanctuaries like Ni'ihau to preserve vanishing societies.
How did you get the idea for Gaslight and Fog?
Gaslight and Fog begins with a woman waking in the past after being hit on the head by a falling bottle during a Jack-the-Ripper walking tour in Whitechapel. I went on a similar tour with my daughter, and while I didn't get hit on the head by any falling objects, there was another woman who did. I asked myself, what would it be like if a woman injured like that found herself transported to the past while the Ripper murders were taking place?
What do you read for pleasure?
I like to read many different kinds of novels: literary, historical, SF, women's fiction, mystery, and some YA. I look for the next novel which can pull me into its world, wrap me up in its story, and make me care about what happens to the characters. I read older novels as well as contemporary novels. There are many wonderful novels out there, and I don't narrow myself by genre because then I'd miss a lot of them.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have a special affinity for British authors of the 19th century, including Charles Dickens, who is so good at creating interesting characters and complex plots. I also have read a lot of Henry James. Iris Murdoch is another of my favorites. Among contemporary writers I would have to include Connie Willis for her imaginative SF and Tracey Chevalier for her beautiful historical/female-focused novels.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I try to keep up with books I may want to read by reading the New York Times Book Review. I belong to GoodReads, which is a cornucopia of recommendations and serendipitous discoveries. My inbox is crammed with ads for ebooks from sites such as BookBub. I also run across books by accident as one author or book I look up leads to another.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Like most writers, I'm also an avid reader. I usually have several books going at the same time. A small stack of novels sits beside my bed since I like to read at the end of the day, and when I'm driving, I like to listen to audio books. I'm also a fan of library book sales and browsing in bookstores. Besides my addiction to reading, I love watching movies and take in a movie with my family most weekends. I also like to explore new places.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Rochester, Indiana, a small town where it seemed as if everyone knew each other. Sometimes it pops up in my writing as part of the background for a character, as it does in the case of Sarah in The Wall.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wrote for years while also teaching college English classes. I queried a great many agents and actually had an agent (twice). I learned that a lot of time could be lost while a novel is "shopped around," and once it has been shopped around, no other agent wants to touch it. I feel so lucky to be living at a time when technology has made it possible to publish print-on-demand books, and that Smashwords and Amazon are providing a platform for indie writers to reach readers. Now that I have made the plunge, I love being able to choose my own covers and I appreciate that I can publish my novels the way I wrote them and not have to alter them to conform to someone else's ideas of what they should be. It's a brave new world for writers and for readers too.
What do your fans mean to you?
I deeply appreciate having readers. While writing a novel is fulfilling in itself, the process is not complete if there is no one to read it. It's like the tree falling in the forest that makes no sound if there is no one there to hear it. It's a wonderful feeling to find out people are reading what you've written and like it.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a novel about a young woman who inherits a mysterious box when her father dies. In a letter he warned her not to open the box, but she thinks it may contain information about the mother she never knew. Meanwhile, shadowy forces are trying to get their hands on the box and it may be putting her and others around her in danger.
Published 2017-12-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Box
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 52,360. Language: English. Published: September 28, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
When her grandfather dies, 19-year-old Lauren inherits a sealed box that belonged to her mother with a warning not to open it. But what if it contains answers about the mother she never knew? As she tries to decide if she should open the box, she finds herself in a whirlwind relationship with a rookie cop and being stalked by someone who wants the box badly enough to kill for it.
The World Beyond: A Novel of Ancient Greece
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 61,590. Language: English. Published: July 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Historical
429 B.C. Athens is at war. A plague is spreading across the city. And fifteen-year-old Rhea is facing an arranged marriage with a brutal older man. With time running out, she vows to catch a glimpse of the handsome young athlete Doros. Meanwhile, Maron, a gifted sculptor-slave she has befriended, urges her to shape her own destiny and risk all for love.
Forbidden Places
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 82,440. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » Feminist, Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
When anthropology graduate student Peter Hoenig receives permission to visit five Forbidden Places to observe traditional weddings, he meets 19-year-old Mele, who persuades him to marry her so she can leave her island. Together they travel to Forbidden Places in China, India, Afghanistan, and Kenya, witnessing sometimes shocking customs of the past while struggling to overcome their differences.
The Wall
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 72,390. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
(5.00 from 1 review)
During a global epidemic, Sarah takes refuge in a city in the American Southwest, where a wall has been built to separate the infected from the uninfected. But now the city is about to fall into chaos, and she must find a way to save the people she cares about and take risks she would never have taken before.
The Haunted Garden
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,370. Language: English. Published: April 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
What secrets lurk in the beautiful gardens of Briarwood? A woman exiled to a country house fears that her marriage may be falling apart as she tries to protect herself and two children who play in the gazebo from a sinister groundskeeper in this psychological ghost story.
Gaslight and Fog
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 78,440. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Time travel, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
1888. Whitechapel. A woman wakes in the streets of East London where Jack the Ripper prowls. She can’t remember who she is but knows she has awoken more than a century in the past. Inspector Abberline also wants to know who she is. As the grisly murders mount, she finds herself falling in love with him, but staying in his time could mean she will be the Ripper’s next victim.
Helena Landless
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 84,490. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Historical » Victorian
Victorian England. Nineteen-year-old Helena Landless falls in love with charming young Edwin Drood the night she arrives in Cloisterham. However, he’s engaged and her twin brother Neville takes a dislike to him. Then one stormy night Edwin Drood disappears and her brother is accused of murder. It’s up to Helena to find out what happened in this re-telling of Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel.