(Oh, and I just saw a post on Marianne's fb page, claiming responsibility for the cold weather.)
Allow me to introduce you to Marianne Jones, author of The Serenity Stone Murder.
Could you share a little about yourself ?
The seven words I would use to describe myself are: compassionate, quirky, honest, funny, loyal, untidy, generous. My favourite junk food vice is fudge—especially penuche. I almost never buy it or make it, because I have no self-control.
Do you write full time? How much of your life is set aside for writing?
I am retired now, which makes writing a lot easier. I have always said that writing is something one should do for love, not money, since there is no guarantee about the money. So I don’t recommend to people that they give up their day jobs! Besides, who wants to write under all that pressure of worrying about income?
Coming from Northwestern Ontario, I am connected to the freshwater lakes and boreal forests of the Precambrian Shield. Childhood joys of campfires, saunas, swimming, kayaking, cross-country skiing and hiking are all part of my interior world. The fragrances of birch smoke, cedar saunas, the lake in the morning, the sounds of the white-throated sparrow and the loon, the wind in the poplars, the play of light on the water, swimming in the early morning, skiing on a frozen lake on a brilliantly cold, sunny January afternoon, watching the wake of a beaver in October, are all things that are reflected in my writing.
Could you tell us a little about your novel taking us on a brief tour of your novel and the world you've created?
The Serenity Stone Murder is a humorous cozy mystery, full of quirky characters, including a veryspoiled dog. The story is a fun romp and guarantees lots of laughs.
It is dedicated to my sister, for obvious reasons, and to her daughter. The three of us would meet periodically at our favourite pub for drinks and nachos to work on plot details whenever I hit a snag in the story. I don’t know if it was the nachos or the ciders, or our combined imaginations, but it always helped.
What led you to write The Serenity Stone Murder?
It was my sister who wanted me to write a murder mystery set in our home town of Thunder Bay, Ontario. One day, she was describing, with a great deal of humour, a disastrous women’s retreat she had attended with a friend.
Where does the inspiration for your main character and story come from?
I visualized two fifty-something women who stumble upon a murder while attending a retreat. The characters of Louise and Margaret seemed very clear in my mind. They aren’t based on my sister and her friend, apart from the ages. I thought: why not write a mystery where the amateur sleuths in question are church ladies “of a certain age”? Why should young people with hot bodies have all the fun? And since I know Thunder Bay and this area very well, setting was easy!
What genre of literature influences you?
My favourite genre to read is literary fiction. I began to enjoy the Russian classics in high school, as well as all the American and British classics they taught us. (I don’t know why Canadian classics weren't on the curriculum.) My love of great literature led me to take my degree in English, and dream of becoming a writer myself. I am working on a literary novel of my own, but I am so intimidated by the genre that I am afraid of failing miserably. I enjoy some light reading as well: mysteries and humour mainly.
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Paper or pc ?
I journal using pen and paper, and keep a notebook in my purse to jot things down, but nowadays I do most of my writing by computer. The transition took a while, but now I’m quite comfortable with composing on the computer, especially since I can type much faster than I can write. As I get older, I find that my hands cramp up with arthritis if I hold a pen too long, so it’s a good thing I learned to type!
What do you do for leisure ?
Besides reading and writing, my favourite thing to do is spend an afternoon trying out a new recipe for dinner with good friends. There is nothing like great conversation—it’s the closest thing to great literature. Add great food and wine, and life doesn't get any better.
I did have a teacher in high school who believed in my writing. I regret not going back to thank him for that. High school is such a difficult time in most people’s lives that his encouragement meant more to me than he ever knew.
Any pet peeves?
Cliches and bad writing bug me in a novel. Enough of them, and I won’t finish the book. I can forgive grammatical errors, but there’s no excuse for lazy writing.
Can you tell us more about what you have written/published in the past?
No, I have published in Canadian Living, Globe & Mail,Wascana Review, Prairie Journal, the Danforth Review, Presbyterian Record, Room, Lutheran Women Today, Remote Control, North Coast Review, Zygote, Inspirit, Wawatay News, Horizon North
I hear your writing has received some awards, could you tell us a little about them?
Yes I have, there are : 3 Poems installed at Prince Arthur’s Landing, Thunder Bay Waterfront Project-2011 International Christian Poet Laureate 2010-12 (Utmost Christian Writers Association) Ontario Arts Council Northern Arts Grant,2008 Writers Digest Poetry Competition 2008 Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW), 2003,2004,2007 Inscribe Christian Writers Poetry Contest, 2008 Northern Ontario Poetry Competition, Canadian Authors Association, 1999, 2001.
For those of you who are interested...Here is the latest NEWS from Marianne:
After a few of what you might call failures to launch, The Serenity Stone Murder is finally appearing! Join me at Chapters, Saturday, September 27, from noon until 4, or the following Saturday, October 4, at Coles, Intercity to find out who dunnit! Pre-orders can be made through my ever-gracious publisher, Stacey, at Split Tree Publishing.
Marianne's blog can be found HERE
Marianne's FB page can be found HERE