An Interview with The Crooked Trail Author, M. Gail Grant

Title: Magdalena Gottschalk: The Crooked Trail
Author: M. Gail Grant
Genre: YA Fantasy

The enchanted secret of Lily Brooke was safe and sound, until Magdalena and her thirteen-year-old friends accidentally unleashed the revengeful demons of the past. How were they supposed to know that a friendly expedition in the woods on a stress-free Saturday morning would lead to the most intense and scary moments of their lives? So many mysterious happenings have occurred ever since they found that crooked trail leading to the sacrificial cave, and hidden monstrosity of a treehouse. With the chanting voices and shrill noises that only Magdalena could hear, the friends decide there is something sinister living amongst them. Time is of the essence to save Lily Brooke and their childhood club, the Mystical Alliance of Lily Brooke, knows it is up to them to capture the demons hiding in their community and set the town free. Witches, wizards, and some black magic may just be what it takes for Magdalena and her best friends to save the day.

A few Minutes with M. Gail Grant

Tell us a little bit about why you write in your chosen genre, and if you have books in other genres as well.

My inspiration for writing in the young adult fantasy fiction genre is twofold. Some of my first memories of the excitement for reading were during the summer between seventh and eighth grade. I used to stay up all hours of the night reading because I just couldn’t put the book down. Such fond memories of long summer nights! Secondly, I have a nine-year-old daughter that is absolutely fascinated with magical stories. Anything revolving around witches and wizards, or enchantment, has her hooked. I would type one chapter, print it, and watch her excitement as she read it.

Tell us about your first book. 

Magdalena Gottschalk:  The Crooked Trail, is my first novel. The story takes place in a fictional small-town community, Lily Brooke. Magdalena and her closest friends go exploring one day and happen upon some old secrets that may lead to the destruction of their town. The friends come together in teamwork, love, and unity, and battle the demons of Lily Brooke’s past. With the magical ambiance of witches, wizards, and some black magic, the peer group pushes forward to solve the mystery and try to save their community. Magdalena must find the power from within to accept who she is and understand that her circumstances don’t define her, but actions and intent do.

Is it a series?

Yes, it is going to be a series. Book #2, Magdalena Gottschalk:  The Slippery Slope, is in production.

What is your most current book?

Magdalena Gottschalk:  The Crooked Trail, is my current and most recent book.

New books are so exciting. Can we expect anything new from you soon?

Yes! Book #2 of the series is set to publish around the middle of November, right before the holiday season. The book picks up a few months after the conclusion of book #1, The Crooked Trail.

Do you have stories planned or that you’ve been working on for the future?

Currently, the Magdalena Gottschalk series is my main focus. I haven’t decided how many books will be featured in the series, but at least three.

Some stories have strong themes. How important are themes in your writing? Is your theme based on the story, or are your stories birthed from a theme/or themes?

My stories are birthed from a theme. I decorate the same way. If I’m decorating, I find something simple like a pillow or a vase that I love. Then, I complete the room around the inspiration piece. Sometimes, I end up decorating the entire house around something as simple as a vase. I write the same way. I come up with the theme I want to present, and I let the story develop around the message. In my current release, Magdalena Gottschalk:  The Crooked Trail, the theme I used to develop the story is, “it’s okay to be different. Learn to accept who you are, and find a way to use your God given talents to be the best you can be.” It sounds a little cliché, but I feel as though young adults are often pressured into fitting into a box. And, they don’t need to be. Magdalena is different from her friends and she notices it more as she gets older. She learns to accept her differences and her friends love her even more. It’s an important topic for me. Bullying is such a common occurrence these days and it saddens me. My own children have at one point or another been victims. I understand the constant need to be liked by everyone as my children span in ages from nine to nineteen years old. On an upbeat note, I also just love mystery and magic, and so do my children. Of course, somehow, that theme had to play out through the book as well.

What other stories have you written?

I have written some short story pieces that I have submitted for journal considerations but I can’t release them until final decisions have been made late fall. One is about the love of a special little dog and her journey to join the family, written from her context. The other is about learning to appreciate what you have in life, no matter your circumstances. It is written in a very allegorical way. Lots of good lessons in that one.

I love to bounce around websites because I’ve found I can learn so much about an Author there. Do you have a website, or other place where you showcase your work?

I sure do! My website is I just released the official trailer for my novel and it can be found on YouTube.

So many Authors are artists by nature. Do you have any other artwork, or hobbies you do on a consistent basis?

Yes, I love to design. I am a fashion designer by day so to speak. I hand make children and adult costumes, flower girl dresses, as well as baby gifts. Have you ever seen those adorable embroidered diaper cakes at baby showers? I make those as well. I own an Etsy boutique and my own website, which can be found here: It’s fun! I tell people I get the best of both worlds, weddings and babies. Can’t go wrong! My clients are often excited and a joy to work with.

What were your passions growing up?

You know, it is one of those things in life when you really don’t realize it or think about until you sit back and reflect. Growing up, I was an avid reader and crocheter. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was only eight years old. Today, I use hand crochet every day and incorporate it into baby hats on my diaper cakes. Reading has been a passion of mine since I was very young. I remember the trips to the library as a young child and getting so excited to get the next Nancy Drew mystery in the series. From there, I attended a writer’s camp in the summer after seventh grade. Ever since, creating art, in some capacity, has been my driving force in life.

Thank you for joining me today. I’m looking forward to seeing the books you’ll be showcasing in the future.

Thank you! It has been a pleasure speaking with you and I thank you for the opportunity.


About the Author

Melinda Gail resides in Canton, Georgia with her three daughters, husband of over twenty years, and two adorable fur babies.  Surrounded by the north Georgia mountains, the scenery provides for inspirational settings for her novels. Being raised in the south, she brings a little southern flair and tradition to her characters, all the while remembering the adventurous nature of middle grades to young adult age children. With a passion for the extraordinary and imagination, Melinda hopes you enter a world of fantasy as you see life through the eyes of the characters.  

Writing has always been her underlying passion in life. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, and a minor in Sociology, she felt understanding and studying human behavior on the individual and collective level, would apply to anything and everything chosen to do in life. Identified as being a strong writer for her age at the time, she attended a summer literary writer's camp around age twelve. She flourished and loved every moment of the experience and it has stayed with her throughout adulthood. 

The desire to write has always been an integral part of who Melinda is, and about eight months ago she decided it was time. Having always been an avid reader of topics from intense young adult fantasy and thrillers, to light hearted summer romances, she chose juvenile to young adult ages for her book. In middle school summers, she would stay up to the wee hours of the morning reading because she just couldn’t put the book down. This basic idea, not being able to put a book down, is the principal she built on while writing Magdalen Gottschalk: The Crooked Trail. It has moments of ease, moments of intensity, moments of humor, striving to offer some of her own personality in her writings. There is a time for sweetness, a time for seriousness, and always a time for kindness and life lessons. Her style isn’t made up. It is simply who she is, on paper. 


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