Interview with Madison Brightwell

Hey readers. Today’s interview is with author, actress and voice-over artist, Madison Brightwell.

Madison is originally from England, and she moved to California in 1997 and now lives in Redondo Beach.

Madison works as a psychotherapist specializing in the fields of addiction, chronic pain and trauma. ( and she is also a certified hypnotherapist.

She has also been a creative artist all her life, and she loves to act, sing, dance – and of course, write! 🙂

Madison Brightwell

Onto the interview 🙂

Madison, What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I’m very goal-oriented and I always seem to have something I wish to achieve or some project that I’m working on and inspired by. Usually the first thing I think when I wake up is a combination of, “I must do…” something or other, and “I want a cup of tea.” I’m English and the thought of tea can get me out of bed when all else fails!

If you could hang out with one famous person from history for one day, who would it be and why?
Great question! I’ve always loved Buster Keaton and in fact I wrote and performed in a solo show about him back in the 80’s. I have seen all of his movies and I had the pleasure of seeing his wife Eleanor Keaton on stage giving a talk about him in London. I think he was a genius performer and an interesting person. I would have loved to hand out on the movie set of one of his great films such as the General or Steamboat Bill and watch him work. He used to do all of his own stunts and some of them were pretty extraordinary, such as the time he had the whole side of a building fall on him.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
Of my four novels, all of which were written in the 1990’s when I was living in England, the most recent one is Russian Doll. What is amazing to me about that book – and about all of my novels in fact – is that many of the themes covered in the novel were things that are much more a part of my daily life today. The novel depicts a romance between an older successful art dealer and a young girl who works as a psychic for the police and who has a traumatic past that comes to light gradually through the book. Without giving away too much, the girl is not all she seems. She has gone into a sort of denial or dissociation for the traumatic things that happened to her and she is trying to escape from her past and change her identity. They say that life imitates art sometimes. When I wrote that book I had a layman’s interest in psychology only, and I worked mainly as an actress. Now, almost two decades later, I am actually working as a psychologist and a licensed mental health therapist here in California. In my work I am faced every day with the kids of issues that this character is facing. It seems almost premonitory that I wrote that novel when I had no idea at that time that the themes depicted would be so much a part of my life many years later.

All of my other three novels – particularly the other two psychological crime thrillers – are also somewhat predictive in this way. For example, they all four have something in them that deals with the issue of prescription drugs having unwarranted and unexpected side effects. I now work with a medical doctor who is very against the misuse of prescription medications that is so prevalent in this country at the moment (as am I) and in fact he made a documentary called “American Addict” that directly addresses this issue. I find it extraordinary that I was writing about these things 20 years ago (in the case of my first book, Most Diminutive of Birds, which I started writing in 1986) and now they are very topical and pressing issues that I deal with every day in my work.

What are you working on next?
I am in the middle of my doctoral program and due to graduate later this year so for the next few months at least I will probably be focusing mainly on my doctoral project and possibly on an accompanying self-help book in the health field. Both of these will probably relate to the issues of addiction, chronic pain and trauma, that are the major focus of my work as a therapist.

After that, I am looking forward to getting on with my next novel project. I already have the title, location and theme of the book and I am excited to begin working on it! It is called “Lunada Bay” and it will be my first novel set in Southern California where I now reside, in a little beach community near my home. As I have worked in the field of addiction for a few years now and that is an area full of dramatic potential, the novel I’m sure will focus on addiction or an addiction facility in some way, and it will probably be another psychological crime thriller, since that is my preferred genre.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
Yes, lots! As well as writing, I like to do just about anything creative. I love to act, sing, dance and do improv; I can do a variety of different accents; I can type at about 110 wpm; I love Lumosity games online and am currently ranked in the 93rd percentile for Speed games; I play several musical instruments including the harp; I’m a great whistler!

Who are your favorite authors and singers?
In terms of contemporary novels I am a huge fan of Ruth Rendell (who is also called Barbara Vine for some of her books). She is an English author who specializes in psychological crime thrillers and many of her books have been turned into television series in England as she is very popular. I was very flattered to be compared with her once, when somebody read my first novel. 

For more literary works, I love the novels of Thomas Hardy, The Bronte sisters and Jack London. I visited the home of the Brontes in Yorkshire and they occupy a special place in my heart as I am also from Yorkshire.

As for singers, I’m a big fan of swing and jazz ballads from the 1930s and 40s, so I guess my favorite would have to be Ella Fitzgerald. I also love Sting, as he hails from the North of England too, and I like the political nature of his music now.

What do you like to do with your free time?
I love swing and ballroom dancing; I love hiking and there are many wonderful scenic spots near where I live so I’m very lucky; I have three cats and sometimes it’s fun just to hang out with them; I enjoy gardening and I have a rooftop deck where I grow herbs and vegetables in pots; I love acting and singing and I occasionally perform in plays or musicals; I love movies and I’d love to see one of my novels make it to the big screen one day.

Where can fans find you on the web?
Amazon – All of my books are now available as audiobooks, read by the author. As an actress and VoiceOver artist, I have been narrating other people’s audiobooks for many years, so I thought I would be the perfect person to read my own. I also had fun recently making four little book trailers for the novels and they can all be found on YouTube.

Thanks Madison for being my guest today.

Posted on February 25, 2015, in Guest Authors, Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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