Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mary Stanton on Angels and Goats

RHYS: My first interview as a Jungle Red Hot Babe is with fellow mystery writer, and my good friend, Mary Stanton, whom many of you will know as Claudia Bishop of Hemlock Falls fame. Mary/Claudia now divides her time between upstate New York, where she breeds these adorable goats, and Florida. She is a true workaholic, always juggling several books a year, but she took time to answer my questions:
RHYS: The mystery world knows you as Claudia Bishop. So who is Mary Stanton and why did you decide to write in that name?
MARY: Mary Stanton is the Real Me. I began writing twenty-some years ago under my given name, and I published fantasy. My first two novels were beast fables, like WATERSHIP DOWN, and the characters were horses. I then wrote a middle grade fantasy series called THE UNICORNS OF BALINOR for Scholastic. And I did a Saturday-morning-cartoon stint for a series about unicorns. When I turned to mysteries, both my Berkely editor and my then-agent agreed a name-change was in order. We didn't want to confuse the fantasy readers. So I morphed into Claudia Bishop.
RHYS: Tell us about your new series.
MARY: The series title is BEAUFORT & COMPANY, and the first in the series is titled Defending Angels.My heroine is Brianna Winston-Beaufort, a young lawyer who discovers that her vocation is to handle appeals for the dead. She's supported by a company of angels who help her address the difficulties that arise when she deals with the Celestial Court system and the prosecuting lawyers from Hell.
RHYS: What made you decide to write a paranormal story--have you always been fascinated with angels and demons? MARY: I'm not sure how I got into writing this series! I've read fantasy ever since I was a little kid and I love it. And in my own mind, Defending Angels is an urban fantasy, in the tradition of Neil Gaiman and Charles deLint. But yes, you're right, the marketplace does consider the Beaufort & Company series as paranormal mysteries. And the rich medieval tradition behind the concept of angels and demons was a pull for me, too.
RHYS: You create a wonderful picture of Savannah. Were you raised in the deep south?
MARY: I was SO anxious about getting Savannah right! And no, I'm not a Southerner. I'm not even a continental American. Although I was born in Florida, I grew up in Hawaii, at a time when we were still a territory and not a state. When I came to the continental United States as an undergraduate, I fell in love with incredible diversity of the continent--the South in particular.
RHYS: So what is next for Mary Stanton and/or Claudia Bishop?
MARY: Mary just finished Angel's Advocate, the second in the BEAUFORT & COMPANY series. Claudia is in the middle of the first of a new series titled THE GROUCHY GOURMET, Another Man's Poison. Both are for Berkely.
RHYS: Lastly a little game we play.
tell us four amazing or outrageous things, one of which is true.And I mean really outrageous that your fans would love to knowAnd then our readers will vote on which one is true.
MARY: How's about which one is false? All the outrageous stuff I can think of that I haven't done has to do with sex.
1. I can castrate a goat.
2. I won fifty dollars discriminating between five different vodkas in a blind taste test.
3. I got fired from my job as a night club singer because I can't dance.
4. I can talk to horses.
RHYS:So many thanks to Mary. Defending Angels is now in a store near you, and will make a great stocking stuffer! And let's see if we can decide which ourtrageous thing Mary is lying about!


  1. Mary, it's so nice to have you here! And that new cover is gorgeous! Tell us about how you've lasted so long in this nutty business--we want sage advice...

    I'm sure you can castrate a goat and taste vodka and do anything with horses. I'm going to have to guess dancing isn't your thing...

    welcome to JR, or as Rhys calls us, The Jungle Red Hot Babes!

  2. I also pick number three. I can't wait to read your new series, Mary. Good luck with both.

  3. Hi Mary,
    Welcome to JR. What a terrific concept, lawyers defending the dead (finally they are doing something useful, eh?).
    It's brilliant!
    It seems like the same person who talks to horses can castrate a goat. Normally, I'd say the vodka taste test is too specific to be made up, but since you've already proven you have a terrific imagination, I'm going to go with that one.

  4. Oh--Defending Angels sounds lovely--and it's one of those ideas where I think: rats. I wish I had thought of it. And it could be a terrific TV series, don't you think?

    Welcome to JR--and I'm off to buy your book! (We've never had a photo of a goat here before.)

    Now. As for the quiz. First Rhys, you are too much! We must hear all your folk-singing stories. I'm a long-time folk listener, and Jonathan too. And sigh, Paul Simon.

    And Mary--how 'bout this. Those other JR's are interested in a hike of some kind. I say you and I stay behind with the vodka test!

  5. The Defending Angel series sounds like lots of fun!

  6. Welcome, Mary!

    What I want to know is your Beaufort prounced BUE-fert or BOE-fert.

    I'm going with the dancing, too.

  7. Plus, anyone can talk to horses. Question is, will they listen. Or--talk back.

    I saw on the DL today you got a great review in Gumshoe! Tell all!

  8. The new series sounds fascinating, Mary! I can't wait to give it a try.