About Marissa Stapley
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. Stable girl, cemetery groundskeeper, waitress, admin assistant, destination representative at a Dominican Republic resort, listings writer at TV Guide, media relations coordinator, magazine editor, freelance writer
Q. Favorite job
A. I love being a writer. I think I'm unfit for any sort of conventional employment.
Q. High school and/or college
A. I went to high school in my hometown of Stouffville (which is north of Toronto) and university at Ryerson in Toronto, where I studied journalism.
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. Joni Mitchell.
Q. Favorite movie
A. I used to watch Meet Joe Black over and over in my 20s, whenever I was feeling heartbroken. (Which was often.) I also love My Fair Lady and The Usual Suspects.
Q. Favorite television show
A. Gilmore Girls.
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. I regret nothing.
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. (Einstein)
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. A dock, a lake, the sun, my family and friends, and a pile of books I couldn't possibly finish, ever.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. I try not to fear death, but I do. (I always think of that Woody Allen quote: "I don't fear death. I just don't want to be there when it happens.")
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. At a big family gathering on an island somewhere, maybe a French Polynesian one.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Jane Austen.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Jane Goodall.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. Saying "like." Swear words I probably shouldn't use here.
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Never living in a really cute apartment of my own. (I lived in a crappy basement flat with one of my brothers. Our landlord evicted us.)
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. The ability to snap my fingers. I seriously cannot do this.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. That people often tell me they think my children are nice people.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. Self doubt.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. I'm very honest. (But that can also be a flaw.)
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Myself. But if I couldn't be myself, I'd be an eagle.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I talk a lot.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Anne Shirley.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Captain Hook. (Particularly when played by Dustin Hoffman in Hook.)
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Emmeline Pankhurst, who fought so hard for Women's Suffrage. I'd say thank you. I'd want to bring my daughter along to meet her, too.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. International Woman of Mystery.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. I admire intelligence, humility, and a kind--but sharp--sense of humour.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Cheese. But there would need to be wine to go along with it. And a fresh baguette. And a few grapes so I wouldn't get scurvy.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Carey, by Joni Mitchell, Is It Like Today? by World Party, Brother Down by Sam Roberts, A Sorta Fairy Tale by Tori Amos, Sweet Thing by Van Morrison, Lay Lady Lay, by Bob Dylan,This Must Be The Place by The Talking Heads. Oops. That's more than five.
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Alice Munro, Graham Greene, John Irving, Meg Wolitzer, L.M. Montgomery, Barbara Kingsolver, Julia Glass, Jane Austen, Tom Robbins, Douglas Coupland, Edith Wharton, Miriam Toews, Haruki Murakami, Virginia Woolf, Karen Russell, Madeleine L'Engle, Judy Blume, Lauren Groff, James Salter, Mary McCarthy, E.B. White
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. This feels like picking a favourite child! I loved A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Cider House Rules by John Irving (oh, and A Son of the Circus), The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, Arcadia by Lauren Groff, Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry, Three Junes by Julia Glass, The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene, the stories in Too Much Happiness and Dear Life, by Alice Munro. And of course, from my childhood, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, A Wrinkle in Time ... that's more than five, isn't it?
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. This book made me want to become a writer. It made me see how magical and inspiring stories can be--and how important great characters are.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Don't be too hard on yourself. (But then again, don't be too easy on yourself, either.)
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. Readers tend to tell me that they think about my characters as though they're real people. (I feel that way, too.)