What are two nice middle-aged church ladies doing at a New Age goddess conference? And what does it have to do with the mysterious death of Thunder Bay’s casino manager? Will Mary Carlisle, organist at St. Stephen’s Church, capture the heart of Thomas Greenfield, church gardener?
Find out the answers to these, and other burning questions in The Serenity Stone Murder, a kinder, gentler murder mystery set in Thunder Bay, Ontario, home of the Sleeping Giant, the Hoito Restaurant, and the world-famous Persion cinnamon bun. For those who like their mysteries served up with a side dish of humour.
And Marianne offers some answers of her own about her personal writing style
in this enticing interview:
What book(s)/movies/radio programs from your past have inspired what you write today? C.S.Lewis’ books have been a huge inspiration in my life. His Chronicles of Narnia inspired, in part, my children’s fantasy-allegory, The Land of Mogan. All of his books have played a part in shaping my thinking. I probably had the British mystery series Rosemary and Thyme, somewhat in mind when I wrote The Serenity Stone Murder. The humour and the friendship between two women “of a certain age” who are quite different in personality have a lot of similarities with that t.v. series.
Do you ever draw on the personal experiences of family or friends for events in your book(s)?
If so, do you disguise them well enough you don’t feel you’ve invaded someone’s privacy? Every writer draws from what and who she knows. We don’t create in a vacuum. The creative part comes from simmering the ingredients together in our subconscious until we have a dish that has all the original flavours, but is a new creation in its own right.
When you’re planning your characters/setting, do you ever make charts or draw maps to help you visualize the story? Do you feel the time spent is of benefit? With a novel, I have to make charts and a time line. I don’t enjoy it, because I’m not an orderly person, but there is simply too much going on in a novel to keep straight otherwise.
Do you ever look through magazines/catalogues for pictures resembling the characters you’re visualizing? No.
Have you ever read a newspaper/magazine article or seen something on the news which has given you an idea for a story? No. My stories come from within.
Have you ever become so involved with a character that ending the story is difficult?
After you’ve written the last sentence, do you ever write a sequel in your head? I enjoyed the characters of Margaret and Louise in The Serenity Stone Murder so much that I am now working on a sequel.
What marketing method do you find most useful in getting your books ‘out there’? Regularly getting reviews, interviews and featured writer spots helps. I’m still learning about this marketing thing. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also fun and fascinating.
Do you call yourself a ‘writer’ or an ‘author’? Are they the same, or is there a difference? Explain. I usually say “writer,” because a writer is one who writes. I am also an author, which I understand to mean the creator of a book. But I am comfortable with the term “writer,” so I’ll stick with that.
If you’ve written more than one book, what have you learned between the first one and the new release? My first two books were self-published. I didn’t know how to go about marketing them, apart from craft fairs. When Split Tree published my two recent books, The Serenity Stone Murder and Great-Grandma’s Gifts, I began to work more seriously at learning how to market. That has made a big difference in sales.
You'll definitely want to listen to Marianne's radio interview here!