Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Help Me Welcome Author Marianne Jones

Hi Marianne and welcome to my blog. Thank you for taking the time out to interview with me this evening. Please start by telling us a little about yourself.

I am a retired teacher, mother, wife and grandmother from the wilds of Northwestern Ontario. My work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Canadian Living, The Globe and Mail, and numerous literary and denominational publications. I was named International Poet Laureate by Utmost Christian Writers, and am the author of 4 books. Although not all my words are carved in stone, three of my poems are, in permanent installation at Prince Arthur's Landing at Marina Park in Thunder Bay.

Please tell me about your novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it?
The Serenity Stone Murder is a humorous cozy mystery, full of quirky characters, including a very spoiled dog. The story is a fun romp and guarantees lots of laughs. 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. Suddenly 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!

Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason?
The Serenity Stone Murder 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 are some of your favorite genres to read and to write?
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.

When you sit down to write, do you do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or do you use a computer? Do you prefer one way or the other?
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 is your favorite junk food vice?
My favourite junk food vice is fudge—especially penuche. I almost never buy it or make it, because I have no self-control.

Did you get to quit your day job and become an author or do you still have a day job and writing is something you do for fun? If you still have a day job, what is it?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?

What do you do when you are not writing? Do you pick up some from you to be read pile?
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.

Did you have any teacher in school that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice?
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.

We all have our little things when it comes to reading, is there anything that bugs you when you read a novel? What is it?
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.

What 7 words would you use to describe yourself?The seven words I would use to describe myself are: compassionate, quirky, honest, funny, loyal, untidy, generous.

Where can people find you? 

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