Interview with an Author: Marian Stanley’s Third Incarnation

Archie, Marian's Westie

Archie, Marian’s Westie

Marian Stanley has had two long careers – first in a Fortune 500 company, then in a university. She is delighted with her third incarnation as a mystery novelist. Marian writes in a small town outside Boston where she lives with her husband, Bill, and a Westie named Archie.

 The Immaculate is a Boston-based mystery about the murder of an elderly nun and the unholy alliance that did her in. Rosaria O’Reilly, a former student, arrives back in her old neighborhood looking for answers – only to find that nothing about the case is as it seemed.

Book Cover.Jungle RedJudy: Tell us what inspired the story behind The Immaculate.

Marian: About two years ago, an image came to my mind of an elderly nun in full habit striding across a deserted schoolyard in the winter dusk. For whatever reason, I couldn’t shake this picture.

I’ve thought about where this image came from and remembered that I had visited an old factory town about that time. I happened to drive by an abandoned school and noted it as an interesting place. Just a nice drive by, nothing heavy.

But shortly afterward, this persistent image came to my mind. Then, I started to wonder what the nun was doing there. Somehow I knew she was in grave danger – but from what, from whom? Finally, I decided that the only thing to be done was to write a story about what the old nun was doing in that place at that time and what happened to her. I think Sister Mary Aurelius just wanted her story to be told. She’s a pretty aggressive character.

Judy: How long did it take you to write?

Marian: Two years of writing, classes, workshops, manuscript critiques, revisions. Every exercise that I submitted for class critique was related in some way to what would become The Immaculate. I’m getting on in years. I figured that if I was going to get this thing done, I had better focus pretty tightly!

Judy: Tell us about finding a publisher, and how you decided on Barking Rain Press.

Sister MA. Jungle redMarian: Not every book is for everybody. There was interest, and I had a number of partial or full manuscripts out there. But, not everyone was excited about a story of how an old nun in Boston gets herself bumped off. Or, they wanted her story changed so dramatically that it would have been a different tale. (Could I make it less Catholic? Well, that’s hard as it’s the story of the murder of a nun. Or could I make the protagonist younger? Well, I’m committed to writing a series with an older protagonist.)

Finally, I sent the manuscript to Barking Rain Press during the open submission period, and Sheri Gormley sent a welcome email. She liked the story and wanted to publish it. I said yes. She assigned me a fabulous editor in Melissa Eskue Ousley and we were off to the races.

Judy: Describe your writing process.

Marian: Me scribbling on a long yellow legal pad in the pre-dawn darkness and silence while sitting on the big green chair in the living room – usually with a small white dog sleeping on my lap.

Judy: What’s the best writing advice you have ever read or been given?  

Marian: Take yourself and your writing seriously. Treat it like a job. Get your rear end in the chair whether you feel inspired or not.

Judy: Do you have a favorite author and genre?

Marian: Mysteries are my genre and I’ll read anything by Louise Penny or Tana French.

Judy: Do you read your genre when writing? Why or why not?

 Marian: I belong to too many book clubs, including a mystery book club, so that I am always reading. Perhaps I am influenced by a Ruth Rendell book when I working on a manuscript – but that can’t be bad, can it?

Judy: What’s next?

Marian: Buried Troubles, my current WIP, is set in Boston and Ireland. Rosaria is once again the protagonist, now caught up in the legacy of old grievances and secrets that cross the Atlantic – leading to murder in Boston.

Thank you, Marian.Pro. photo.Jungle Red Amazon Goodreads Facebook 

The Immaculate is available in print and ebook at all the usual suspects, including Barking Rain Press.

Leave a comment for a chance to WIN a copy of The Immaculate. Winner will be selected at random.

9 responses to “Interview with an Author: Marian Stanley’s Third Incarnation

  1. Marian McMahon Stanley

    Yes, Archie photos always get an excellent response, but I don’t mind his upstaging me. He’s my little muse.
    I married into my Stanley name as well! Thanks for your good wishes, Kristina.

  2. Judy Penz Sheluk

    I know! I usually put the author photo at the top, but the dog won!

  3. Kristina Stanley

    I have to say, I love the photo of the dog in the chair. And – nice last name. I married into mine… I wish you the best with your book.

  4. Marian McMahon Stanley

    Thanks, Sheri – yes, feels good! Two years seemed like a long time to me – but with more experience under my belt, I have a better perspective. Good luck in your own writing journey!

  5. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks for stopping by Sheri! Any news on the sequel to Seven Days to Goodbye?

  6. eightpawswriting

    Marian, sounds like you did your research to write your tale, and in only two years had your story published! Congrats on your first book, Immaculate. Enjoy the thrill.

  7. You have my admiration teaching in a parochial school, Joanne. Hard work, but fortunately, they pay well. (Joke, other compensations!) I also worked briefly with a staff of teaching nuns in Cambridge MA and in college lived for two years in a convent – where, for their sins, a group of retired Franciscan nuns were responsible for fifty lively coeds. So, I’d like to think I know that world well. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  8. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Good luck in the draw, Joanne! My only experience with nuns and school was watching The Trouble with Angels with Hailey Mills. I loved that movie!

  9. Hi Marian, Love the storyline! I was educated by nuns and then they hired me to teach in their schools. Immaculate sounds delicious!!!

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