North Central College - Naperville, IL

Madormo discovers a new audience

Most days during lunch and into the late evening hours, John Madormo likes to hang out with his friend Charlie Collier. A fictional character, Charlie apparently doesn’t have much radio talent but he’s good at solving mysteries—and that’s resulted in Madormo finding success as a published author of middle-grade books. Officially released May 10, “Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire: The Homemade Stuffing Caper” has made a big splash in the bookselling industry for Madormo, North Central’s assistant professor of broadcast communication and general manager of WONC-FM 89.1.

“I was trying to sell a screenplay about this character but the trend in the industry since 2007 or 2008 has been to make movies from existing books and other derivative material,” he explains. “So I decided to make the derivative material myself by converting my screenplay into a novel.”

Madormo queried the manuscript to 25 publishers and heard from six who wanted to read it. He sold the manuscript to Penguin. “My editor at Penguin told me there’s a big void in the market for books that appeal to middle school boys,” he says. “For me it was a complete accident—I had no idea this void existed.”

Positive reviews came from Publishers Weekly, Booklist Online, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Barnes & Noble’s website, which called it, “A very clever, absorbing new young reader whodunit series.” The book was also featured in the June/July issue of Family Fun Magazine.

Penguin gave Madormo seven months to write a second installment, “The Camp Phoenix Caper,” set to publish in February 2013. This summer, he’s writing a third mystery, “The Copy Cat Caper,” during his lunch hours and after his family goes to bed at night. “I have to write 1,000 words a day to meet my August 31 deadline,” he says. That book will be released in fall 2013 and then he’ll await word on further investigative opportunities for Charlie Collier. “If I end up writing books and never write another screenplay, I’d be happy,” he says.
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