Author Spotlights

Volume XIV – Marissa Stapley, author of Lucky

 Cece chats with Marissa Stapley, author of The-Just Released, page-turner caper ‘Lucky’

 Cece chats with Marissa Stapley, author of The-Just Released, page-turner caper ‘Lucky’

Volume XIV

Written by Cece M. Scott

“Books provide protection from the world which is something that Lucky did for my mom and I when we were facing the most horrible thing in the world, yet we still had this character that we were having fun with.” Marissa Stapley.

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She’s been a stable hand, a bartender, a tropical resort destination rep, a sports reporter, a cemetery gardener, a band roadie and a beauty magazine editor.

And now, Marissa Stapley, whose fourth novel, Lucky, (Simon & Schuster Canada) comes out April 6th, is an international bestselling author of three novels, which have been translated into eight languages.

Stapley, who laughingly says she is unemployable, has the kind of effervescence and joie de vivre that immediately sparks a ‘this is going to be fun’ conversation. Which is not to say that Stapley hasn’t had her challenges, both in her writing life, as well as her personal one.

Just before her first book was to be published close to ten years ago, her then publisher, Key Porter Books, went out of business.

“I was so excited at the time,” Stapley says. “I thought, ‘I’ve fulfilled my goal, I’ve written a book, I am now an author.’ Unfortunately, when Key Porter closed down, things became difficult and it was very tough getting the rights to my book back. And then I wrote a second novel and I couldn’t get it published, no one was interested in it. I had two kids and a mortgage, so I got a job as a magazine editor and quietly put aside my dreams of being a published author.”

However, Stapley, who had always wanted to be a writer, did not give up entirely on her passion for writing; here and there she wrote short stories which she shared with her regularly-in-touch agent.

“She read one of my short stories and told me it had the makings of a book, and that I just needed to connect the characters,” Stapley says.

That book, Mating for Life, (2014), was the kick start that Stapley needed; in fact, it was the one that launched her writing career.

“I don’t know what would have happened if my first book, Saving the World in Sensible Shoes, would have been published with Key Porter,” Stapley says. “My career trajectory would have been different, but ultimately I think that the way things worked out have been for the best. I had to go through those difficult times. I’m a silver lining kind of person.”

A life lesson we’ve all, (mostly unwillingly) have experienced, no?

Place and destination are important factors in Stapley’s novels – in fact her last three books have been set around water. But location and circumstances changed when Stapley was writing Lucky.  The author’s mother, Valerie, became extremely ill, and Stapley, who was very close with her mom, hunkered down by her bedside, writing when her mother slept.

“My mom died of cancer last spring, (2020),” Stapley, who is of course still grieving the loss of Valerie, says. “I wanted to write a story for her that was fun, a caper that included a character that was resilient and strong. I was in such a difficult place at that time that I couldn’t think of any place that would give me comfort.”

Certainly, one gets no sense of what is going on behind the scenes of Stapley’s life when reading Lucky, a quick-paced road-trip novel about two talented grifters, Lucky and (her boyfriend), Cary. Lucky came early to the con game having being taught the ropes from an early age by her disingenuous dad, (at least that is who she believes he is), a man that, against all odds, you find yourself liking. After pulling off a million-dollar heist, one that was supposed to create a new, shall we say, ‘more respectable’ life for her and Cary, things go topsy-turvy for Lucky and she’s on her own and on the run.

But, wait!

What about that winning lottery ticket Lucky has in her pocket, one that is virtually impossible for her to cash, because if she does, someone might recognize her as one of the perpetrators of that big heist, and she will be arrested and put in the slammer for the countless crimes she has committed?

And who amongst us, with our ‘burning-a hole-in how-am-I-going-to-spend-it imagination,’ wouldn’t try to come up with a brilliantly devious plan in order to collect on the multi-millions dollar win?

Are you pondering as we speak how YOU might do it?

I thought so.

But rather than projecting the overwhelming sense of sadness that surrounded her as she wrote Lucky, Stapley’s personality jumps out from the page, exuding an effervescently crisp and dry wit that is delightfully hidden between the lines of the story.

Stapley’s ability to paint image-filled scenes such as this:  “The world outside the phone booth was like a painting in varying shades of grey with the odd flash of colour. The purple and gold of the Seattle city buses, the green of a tree, the navy trench coat on a woman rushing by, the red of her umbrella,” had me slammed up against the Plexiglas  of that phone booth, desperate to answer the call for help from Lucky.

 Another metaphoric image in Lucky, (there are many), I found absolutely charming: “She added her lie like a matching earring.”

In fact, Lucky is so winningly and intriguingly complex that the book has been optioned to Disney Studios as a television series, one that is already in development. Stapley is hands-on working with Carlton Cuse, (who worked on the television series Lost).

“I am getting a Master Class from Carlton, he has been incredibly kind and a wonderful teacher. I actually feel my mom in these details when I think of what are the best things that are happening with Lucky,” Stapley says. “Doing this gives me something else to focus on in my grief.”

In addition to writing her own novels, Stapley, writing under the pen name, Maggie Knox, has partnered with fellow author, Karma Brown, to write Rom Coms. (Romance Comedies).

“We both have a lot of energy and we are both prolific, so we knew that we would get the books written,” Stapley says. “We have a two-book contract with Putnam/Penguin Canada/Hodder books, with the first one, titled The Holiday Swap, coming out in October of this year, and the second one coming in 2022.”

Stapley’s previous books have done very well. Her 2019 book, The Last Resort, was named one of 2019’s Best Beach Reads by Oprah Magazine.

And while Stapley wonders why domestic life novels, when written by women, are taken less seriously than those written by men, she has embraced the value of The Last Resort being categorized as a beach read.

 “It is tremendously difficult to make it as a writer, so if your book is considered a beach read you are going to sell more books, which means you are going to make more money.  I used to get mad but now I just cry into my royalty cheque,” the author says with a laugh. “And interestingly, while The Last Resort was called a beach read, at the same time it was short-listed for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel.”

Marissas book pile resizedStapley lives in Toronto with her family…and her bookshelves

Lucky is a book that my mom read and supported, even on her worst days — and I feel she still does,” Stapley says. “Not having her with me as Lucky is being released is very hard. But my mom was such a practical person, she didn’t want me to give up. And so, I have dedicated this book to her, I know she is with me.”

Make sure to pop back when Cece reviews author and Toronto Star writer, Moira Welsh’s book, Happily Ever Older, a book that explores new and creative ways to live well with purpose and intent as we age.



Cece and Jen of Art Your Service will be hosting Moira Welsh as she reads from her new book and answers attendees’ questions via a FREE Zoom Book Club Event on April 29th, at 2.p.M.

Register now for this timely and highly enlightening Free event by sending an email to

Discovering Mary Lawson through her book A Town Called Solace, is a lucky experience for all readers who are intrigued by the complex and intertwining family relationships of small town life.   Read it here Volume XIII – Mary Lawson, author of A Town Called Solace

Pining for more new reads? Check out The Paris Library here 

Also make sure to check out Cece’s new feature:

Cece’s Saturday Reads & Reviews Roundup, Saturday Roundup 

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Cece is the feature cover writer for several prestigious publications and is an informed, connected and enthusiastic book blogger at  Her first book, The Love Story, was published in 2019. Her second book will be coming out in the spring of 2021.

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