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Madeline Prince Interview: Winner of Agatha Christie Death on the Nile Contest

Welcome, members of our online audience, and a warm greeting to my guest, Madeline Prince. Madeline, or Maddy as she’s known to her family, won the Agatha Christie Death on the Nile contest posted on the Tales From The Skip blog. Congratulations on having a perfect score!

M: I still can’t believe I won!

B: Before we learn how you became an Agatha Christie devotee, tell us the behind-the-scenes circumstance that led you to enter the contest.

M: I learned of your contest from my Grandpa when he came to visit. He said you were a good friend who retired to write mystery books and keeps a blog. Knowing of my fondness for Agatha Christie, he forwarded me the details of your contest.

B: A smart move by your Grandfather Squire! Your Granddad and I have been good friends for many years, and have played many enjoyable rounds of golf, which he always wins! And your Grandmother Pat sent me her recipe for Potato Chip Cookies. They are delicious. I was surprised to learn you are a high school student. Based on the maturity of your comments and answers, I mistook you for a woman in her early twenties. What high school class are you in?

M: I just entered my senior year of high school.

B: Do you have an idea what college or university would most likely meet your interests and career goals?

M: I would love to attend the University of Georgia since it is the best school in the state. However, I am also considering Auburn, Louisiana State University, and the University of South Carolina. I do plan to pursue a degree in education, though I am torn between elementary education and early childhood education.

B: The conventional wisdom seems to be that people of your generation would prefer to get their social and cultural education via online sources instead of books. What is your opinion of the ways and means your generation prefers to receive works of literature and history?

M: Unfortunately, I feel that most people of my generation view literature and history as a chore, something they are required to read and learn in school. They read what their teachers tell them to and almost nothing more. Many would prefer to watch the movies of timeless classics, such as To Kill a Mockingbird or The Outsiders, than read the original book. While I am certainly not against enjoying a good movie, there are some elements of literature that just can’t translate from written works to movies. You lose some of the insight of the characters, the internal monologue that is questioning right from wrong. It’s harder to empathize with the characters and you can no longer go on their journey of understanding and change with them.

B: Based on your answer, you seem to be part of a minority of readers of books. Is that a fair statement? If so, why do you think this is?

M: I would have to say yes. While I think that there are more teenagers than most would think that read, I would not say readers represent the majority of the population. The development of the internet and creation of social media has greatly affected people my age. It provides entertainment and connectivity that would otherwise not be possible. For introverts such as myself, reading is an outlet, a place where we can forget the harsh realities of the world. For everyone else, they can find that same release online.

B: Thanks, Madeline, for your thoughtful answer. Let’s find out when and how you became a fan of Agatha Christie.

M: I became a fan of Agatha Christie in 2016 when I happened to pick up one of her novels at the library I believe it was Murder on the Orient Express. The movie in 2017 only reinforced my love of her writing and I have since read all of her Poirot novels and short stories, and am well on my way to collecting her works. Presently, I am going to begin the Ms. Marple books.

B: That’s a noteworthy achievement, Madeline. Which of Agatha Christie’s books do you most like, and why?

M: My favorite Agatha Christie book would have to be Appointment with Death because of the psychological aspects she included. The power that Mrs. Boynton exerted over her family is not only frightening in its own right but in the fact that it is based on truth. The psychological manipulation that is shown is a very real occurrence for some. Plus, it has Poirot, who is my favorite character.

B: Ah, Hercule Poirot. Why is he your favorite?

M: I love the little idiosyncrasies that make up his personality and the way he solves cases is mind-boggling! I wish I could sit down and have a conversation with the man so he could explain how he is able to piece together what seem like random facts to reveal the larger picture at the end of the day.

B: Do you read books in other genres? If so, do you have a favorite author?

M: I definitely read books in other genres besides mystery; I love adventure/fantasy books and historical fiction as well. While I couldn’t possibly choose a favorite author, some authors I enjoy are Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson Series), Jonathan Stroud (Lockwood and Company), and Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Naturals). I would highly recommend checking Jennifer Lynn Barnes out if you like a psychological/criminal minds type element in books.

B: As a matter of fact, I do. Thanks for the recommendation. I haven’t read any of her Young Adult novels, but I’m going to put The Naturals on my Want to Read list. Since you seem to enjoy reading books with a sinister psychological plot, I’ll send you a copy of my book, The Girl in the Orange Maillot, when it’s published in February. B: Do you have any ideas or notions of writing fiction?

M: I do have ideas for a novel and a collection of short stories. Most of it is in my head but I am working on putting it down on paper. School and work take up a lot of my time, but when I have time to relax I like to continue work on my stories. I hope one day to be able to publish them.

B: You already have the Secret Sauce of all good writers: a love of reading and writing. So there’s a strong likelihood that you will realize your hope of becoming a published author. Madeline, I sincerely appreciate your willingness to share with us your wealth of knowledge and insights of Agatha Christie and the impact social media has had on reading literature and history.. You are an impressive young woman, and a credit to your parents and community. Enjoy your senior year, and when you do sit down with Inspector Poirot some day, I hope you’ll tell us about it!

Bailey Herrington

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