Thursday, July 12, 2012

ParaCozyMysMo - Mary Stanton - Beaufort & Company Mysteries

Please welcome Mary Stanton to The Qwillery as part of ParaCozyMysMo! Mary writes the Beaufort & Company Mysteries.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery!

Mary:  Thank you! I'm so happy to be here!

TQ:   Writing quirks! What are some of yours?

Mary:  I don't have a ton of quirks--just a few. Although I write on my laptop, I begin each new novel by purchasing a dozen yellow legal pads wrapped in shrink wrap and a dozen roller ball pens (black.) I end up scrawling notes to myself as I input and I'm always afraid I 'm going to run out of fresh yellow pads and ink. I never do.

I always sit on the living room couch with my feet braced against the coffee table. The lap top is in my lap. And I really need absolutely no one in the house or on the farm to write the first fifty pages. That's about it. (BTW: After 40 plus novels, I have a ton of unused legal pads, which I am happy to offer to any worthy charity. Or even an unworthy one.)

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers?

Mary:  Wow. That depends on the week. I read a lot when I'm not working. At the moment, I'm re-reading Edmund Crispin, in chronological order. Before I begin a new novel, I'll frequently read all the works of a favorite mystery novelist in chronological order so I can see the writer's technical progress. Maybe that should be up there with the question about quirks. Anyhow,,,in terms of what writer will last long after all of us are dead? Reginald Hill. Louise Penney. Colin Cotterill. And that's just the beginning of a long long list.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Mary:  A little bit of both, I think. I have to have three ideas in mind before I begin a new book; the murder itself, and two subplots. If I'm able to connect those three ideas in an effective, logical way, then I can write by the seat of my pants.

I always begin with a cast of characters: I write down names, job description and personality and make sure that they all have at least three degrees of separation in common (to paraphrase the infamous six degrees of separation).

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Mary:  First one hundred pages:

Actually sitting down and doing it. I hate to write. I just hate it. I always fall so far short of what I want to see on the page that I'm in a constant state of torment.

Second one hundred pages:

Keeping the time line straight. I am awful at basic continuity issues, so I usually have to stop and make up a time line of who is where doing what to whom. This is an annoying activity, and I always feel stupid.

Final one hundred pages:

By now, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. If I have managed to make myself laugh at least once, get scared at least once, and gasp in admiration at my own cleverness at least twice, I am a happy woman, The most challenging part of the final third sprint to the finish line is making everyone else leave me alone while I pound on down to 'The End".

TQ:  The most recent Beaufort & Company Mystery novel is Angel Condemned. What inspired you to write mysteries with paranormal/supernatural elements?

Mary:  I'm not sure, to tell you the truth. I love great urban fantasy, and I wanted to try my hand at it. I don't care for vampires, ghosts, werewolves or aliens, but I do like the idea of angels. So angels it was.

TQ:  Do you base your paranormal/supernatural elements on existing lore, make things up or both?

Mary:  Both. I use Milton, Dante, and some tracts written about angels that date from medieval times as a basis for the cosmology. I've added a few of my own flourishes in terms of the actual structure of the Celestial Courts. I made them analogous to our own American system of jurisprudence. So I've got the Celestial equivalent of our Supreme Court, our County Courts, and our Municipal Courts, which was a lot of fun to make up. And of course there's Goldstein, my angel Records Clerk. I love Goldstein.

TQ:  What sorts of research have you done for the Beaufort & Company Mysteries? What is the oddest bit of information that you’ve come across in your research?

Mary:  Medieval monks made up TONS of angels. There are angels named for almost every natural occurrence you can imagine: plants, flowers, storms, lightning, rivers, and the live. I think that's pretty odd-but pretty cool, too.

TQ:  Tell us something about Angel Condemned that is not in the book description.

Mary:  Bree actually goes to bed with Sam Hunter.

TQ:  In the Beaufort & Company Mysteries who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Mary:  Antonia is the easiest; she's based on someone I know and I can hear her voice very clearly in my head. I always have trouble with giving the really evil demons an actual voice and the really evil demon --Metatron--was so hard I ended up not giving him any dialogue at all.

TQ:  Which character in the Beaufort & Company Mysteries has surprised you the most?

Mary:  Bree herself, I guess. She got very emotional in Condemned, which is not like her at all.

TQ:  What's next?

Mary:  At the moment, I'm in the middle of the newest Hemlock Falls novel, A FETE WORSE THAN DEATH. This is a Claudia Bishop novel. The next Mary Stanton novel will probably feature William Dent, the angel who got kicked out of the Angels Anonymous program in ANGEL'S ADVOCATE. We'll see.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Mary:  I enjoyed this so much! Your interview questions were just terrific.

The Beaufort & Company Mysteries

Angel Condemned
A Beaufort & Company Mystery 5
Berkley, November 1, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Representing her Aunt Cissy’s fiancé, museum curator Prosper White, in a case of fraud, attorney and celestial advocate Brianna Winston-Beaufort hopes to settle the matter out of court. But when Prosper is murdered and Cissy’s arrested for the crime, Bree will have to solve the mystery of the Cross of Justinian—an artifact of interest in both Prosper’s lawsuit and Bree’s celestial case—to clear her aunt’s name...

Angel's Verdict
A Beaufort & Company Mystery 4
Berkley, February 1, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Celestial advocate Brianna Winston-Beaufort is eager to set aside handling appeals for condemned souls and get back to practicing law in the land of the living. Three months after taking over the family practice Bree jumps at the opportunity to work for an earthly client. But when elderly actress Justine Coville walks into Beaufort & Company’s office to make changes to her will, she drags Bree right back into a whole other-world of troubles.

Avenging Angels
A Beaufort & Company Mystery 3
Berkley, February 2, 2010
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

The series that’s “a breath of fresh air for fans of paranormal cozy mysteries” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

Law school hasn’t prepared Bree to appeal cases for the dead. After inheriting her great-uncle’s haunted law firm, she must now represent ex-banker O’Rourke, who supposedly killed himself after losing a fortune. But with a merry widow and evidence mounting, it’s beginning to look like murder. So Bree and her team of angels begin to investigate. But Bree soon discovers that someone would rather see her deceased than debriefed.

Angel's Advocate
A Beaufort & Company Mystery 2
Berkley, June 2, 2009
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Money's been tight ever since Bree Winston Beaufort inherited Savannah's haunted law firm Beaufort & Company along with its less-than-angelic staff. But she's finally going to tackle a case that pays the bills representing a spoiled girl who stole someone's Girl Scout cookie money. But soon enough she finds that her client's departed millionaire father needs help too. Can she help an unsavory father/daughter duo and make a living off of the living?

Defending Angels
A Beaufort & Company Mystery 1
Berkley, December 2, 2008
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

With a long list of ethereal clients who need her help, Savannah lawyer Brianna Winston Beaufort's career choice is beginning to haunt her...

An already dead businessman needs Bree's help to find his murderer and prove his innocence against the charge of greed, which comes from the mightiest hand of the law, the Celestial Court. And the verdict in this case could put Bree's life on the line—as well as her client's afterlife.

About Mary

MARY STANTON is the author of more than forty novels and the senior editor of three well-received mystery anthologies. Writing as Claudia Bishop, she is at work on the 18th in the Hemlock Falls series, A FETE WORSE THAN DEATH. As Mary Stanton, she writes the popular Beaufort & Company series, featuring lawyer Brianna Winston-Beaufort, who handles appeals cases for souls condemned to Hell. All her mysteries are from Berkley Prime Crime. She also writes the extremely popular Unicorns of Balinor series for middle grade readers, and has written a classic fantasy novel, THE HEAVENLY HORSE FROM THE OUTERMOST WEST.

Website  :  Blog  :  Facebook

The Giveaways

There is a giveaway of Angel's Verdict  (A Beaufort & Company Mystery 4) with this interview. You can also enter to win the Grand Prize by using the Rafflecopter. The comment you leave to enter to win Angel's Verdict may also be used to enter to win the Grand Prize. Both Giveaways are open internationally.

To Enter to Win a Copy of Angel's Verdict

What:  One commenter will win a copy of Angel's Verdict (A Beaufort & Company Mystery 4) by Mary Stanton. The novel is generously provided by Penguin.

How:  Leave a comment. Please remember - if you don't leave a comment your entry will not be counted.  You must also leave a way to contact you. Entries without contact information will not be counted.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Saturday, August 4, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

To Enter to Win the Grand Prize

How:  Fill out the Rafflecopter

Terms and Conditions

1) There will be one winner of the Grand Prize.

2) The Grand Prize is separate from any giveaway associated with individual author visits during Paranormal Cozy Mystery Month.

3) You must leave a way to contact you with your comment. If you do not leave a way to contact you, your entry will not be counted.

4) The Grand Prize Giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address.

5) Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

6) Giveaway Terms and Condition are subject to change at any time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I had to laugh about Mary's comment about hating to write, because I completely understand! As an academic writing is pretty darn central to my career, and yet making myself sit down and write is just painful. It makes me feel a LOT better to know that I'm not the only one who feels this way!


  2. I have to confess I've not heard of this series before but I really like the idea of the Beaufort & Co stories! :-)

    Mel S

  3. I found the second book in this series in a Princess ship library and when I got home, I got the rest and just finished Angel Condemned this morning, what a strange coincidence with your post today. I'm looking forward to Bree's next adventure.

  4. Thanks a fun interview and giveaway!

  5. I've had Defending Angels on my to read list for a while now and had no idea that Mary Stanton also wrote as Claudia Bishop so now I've added Hemlock Falls to my to read list.

    april dot vrugtman at gmail dot com

  6. This sounds like a great series. Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. I need to read more MARY STANTON. The books all look incredible.


  8. I like paranormal cozies. I read a lot of them and this looks like a great series. I'm unfamiliar with it but think it looks like a great read.

  9. I was curious about this stories, must have it :)

  10. What a pleasant surprise today. I had no idea this series was so prolific. I am really looking forward to more. Thank you for taking the time to share with us today.

  11. I enjoyed the interview. These sound like intriguing books.


  12. Paranormal/UF sleuth mysteri books? Yes, count me in :)
    Thanks for the interview!

    sawamura_foxman AT yahoo DOT com

  13. Ooh I love these types of books count me in.

  14. Qwill, your ParaCozyMysMo has introduced me to soooooo many new authors / series. I need to start a new TBR list just for these!


  15. Thanks, Mary for the list of writers Reginald Hill. Louise Penney. Colin Cotterill.will look them up.
    Great interview too. The yellow legal pads and pens are a added touch.
    dayleb at telus dot net

  16. I've read most of the Claudia Bishop cozies--so I'm anxious to try these Angel books by the same author.

  17. I love how all the titles have the word angel in them. Love the interview.


  18. First time I've heard of this author but I'm definitely putting her in my wishlist.


  19. It has been a long time since book #5. has the series ended or will there be more books in the series?