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A story inspired by a northern California news account a few years ago … Some of the details in this fictional penning are true. Some of the details are exaggerated and are simply the work of the author’s imagination. What is clearly evidenced in this novel is the coldness of a mother’s heart and the madness of her cruelty. The mind cannot comprehend lives the children depicted here were forced to endure: from black punishment closets of hell (for days, not hours!), kitchen tables used for crudely performed operations, to a high sierra execution by fire. The terror is real. The pain is vicariously felt. Unbelievable? Yes, it is unbelievable that such depravity, such MAMA’S MADNESS exists in our world. Accept the embellishments with the truth. Know your environment and be safe!
Review by on July 8, 2012
Mama’s Madness: Excellent writing about a depraved subject
“Mama’s Madness” by Billy Ray Chitwood is an excellently written story about an abused protagonist (Tammie Jo), her sociopathic mama, and the senseless crimes that Mama and her accomplices commit and are eventually held accountable for. As unsettling as the characters and their behavior may be, Chitwood manages to almost balance their menace with the goodness and dedication of law enforcement and Tammie Jo’s struggle to reconcile her environment with her possible future (or her lack of a future if Mama is left unrestrained). Chitwood’s ability to interweave the profile of a monster, the coming of age and redemption of a girl, and a fascinating multiple-murder investigation is masterful. I highly recommend “Mama’s Madness” for lovers of gritty murder investigations that include the perpetrator’s, victim’s, and detectives’ point-of-views. I will certainly continue reading Mr. Chitwood’s body of work.
Please join me in welcoming Billy Ray to my blog.
Tell us a little about yourself. Born in Appalachia during the aftermath of the Great Depression, I somehow survived those tumultuous years of poverty, mobility and family disconnect. I’m a romantic, a wanderlust with too much ‘Past’ in my awareness…reconciled to the fact those parts of me will never change: those parts have been with me all the way and live with me now in ‘Twilight’ – always looking for the ‘White Buffalo’.
In what genre is Mama’s Madness and who published it? This novel is inspired by true events in the genres of Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Child Abuse. Self-published through CreateSpace (Amazon).
The storyline? Meet a mother from hell! I ran across the California newspaper clippings from years ago about a Northern California mother who tortured her six kids – the three girls most specifically – with beatings, dark-closet punishments that could last for days, eating lard and their own retch, standing erect or on their knees for hours at a time. She kills two of the girls by fire, leaving one girl to fear for her life…an amazing story, fictionalized with lots of true elements!
What inspired you to write it? Thinking of my own kids, reading the clippings about these California crimes made me angry, made me cry, plus the ‘junk in my mind’s attic,’ conspired and inspired me to write a fictionalized account of this evil ‘woman from hell!’ It was a tough book to write and it’s a tough book to read! My hope is the book will serve as a silent siren for parents and children to be aware that evil exists in our world, to be aware of their environments, the stranger in the park, the offer of a ride home, et al.
What inspires you to write in general? Hope this is not too corny or trite, but something magical happens for me when my fingers touch the laptop keys…it’s like invisible fingers are tapping those keys, creating what I believe to be good, sometimes great writing! The ‘business’ (marketing, the internet) of writing stymies me, but the writing itself satisfies a need within me. I can say truthfully that Writing is my therapy!
In what sub-genres do you write? Cross-Genres…The whole spectrum actually: mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, memoir, time travel, history. My romance books get very little attention from the reading public, but that’s because, frankly, I don’t know what I’m doing in marketing them.
When and what did you first start writing? As a kid I wrote poetry – at least, my Mom called it poetry. I thought about becoming a singer but my shyness was a major factor in not following that course. I wrote off and on through the work years, and really got serious about it around the 1980s.
What authors have most influenced you? How and why? John D. MacDonald hooked me with his Travis McGee Novels. I read all twenty-one: each title contained a color: The Deep Blue Good-by; Nightmare in Pink; A Purple Place for Dying; The Quick Red Fox. These books were all written in 1964. Tall good-looking Travis lived aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and each book is action-packed as Travis helps a friend or someone get out of trouble. John D. sold over 70 million copies of his books over his 70-year life span. It broke my heart when I lost those 21 books in one of my moves… The English Romantic poets rang my bell in college, as did the Naturalist Writers: Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Jack London, Theodore Dreiser (Sister Carrie), and others. Today, I like Nelson DeMille’s smooth-flowing style.
How do you write – outline or free flow? Most of my writing is free flow. I’ve also done outlines, but, for me, I like to let my characters take my laptop tapping wherever it is they go and whatever they do.
What genres do you like to read? Mystery, suspense, memoirs.
I’d like to thank Billy Ray for being my guest and wish him all the best with his relaunch.
Other books by Billy Ray
The Bailey Crane Mystery Series
Find all of Billy Ray’s books HERE