As an ardent reader or viewer whether reading a good book, streaming for an exceptional movie or series or an old-fashioned viewing at a nearby movie theater, you merely observe a common theme these days mixed with sci-fi, supernatural, romance, history and maybe a religious subject wrapped-up in one plot.
It does seem a number of growing audiences prefer and enjoy a compelling enigma with a spiritual twist or two, and romance surrounded by historical places and cultural; truth mixed in with fiction engrosses a variety of mystery solving folks.
If you dig deeper beyond the best-selling books and top Hollywood films, as a reader you might just find the next best-selling novel; along the same lines of fictional romance in historical and religious settings, by magnificent writer and storyteller, Marie Ann Dean.
Marie Ann Dean is from the State of Iowa and is an American novelist and poet. Marie has a Bachelor’s degree in History and minors in Philosophy/Theology from Marycrest College and a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Notre Dame.
Dean spent a great deal of time in the isle of Malta and most of her first novels are splendidly written based on the history and culture of Malta as such topics include, Knights Hospitaller of Saint John, Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta, Malta, Silent City of Mdina, Malta and St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta.
Dean’s first novel The Jeweler’s Polish, straightaway takes her readers into intriguing mysteries, cloak-and-daggers, and Maltese foregone past entangled with the Catholic Church to modern times. She famously tied all aspects of ancestral themes and organizations made up of Jesuits, Masons, and Illuminati; and a heroine who is embroiled in a family legacy, apparitions, curses and knightly orders. By the same token, Dean takes you into the realm of the biblical apocalyptic motif of the Anti-Christ. It is a suspenseful novel that leaves you hanging for more answers.
However, the saga continues revealing more clues and captivating secrets in Dean’s sequel, The Beast, the Prophets and the Victory out by winter.
Dean superbly inscribes for the avid readers of scriptural and classical literary genre.
I would like to happily introduce and thank, a distinguished Melitensia writer, Marie Ann Dean for taking part in my Arts and Entertainment Features.
Tell us about yourself?
I am a rather ordinary woman. I grew up in the Midwest, a place that has produced many excellent writers much better than me. All my life, I have written including in elementary school, high school, college, and graduate school at a university.
In addition, I come from a family of writers. My son writes as well. My family is intellectual and I grew up in an atmosphere where ideas were discussed. We are all readers.
You are an author of a fictional novel called The Jeweler’s Polish; please tell us about your book especially about the Gothic undertone?
The novel is not in any sense “Gothic.” Gothic implies a non-religious sensationalism like Ann Radcliffe or Emily Bronte. All the spiritual references in my novels are based on Catholic doctrine and tradition. One cannot put this novel or any novels of mine in the Sir Walter Scott or Edgar Allen Poe category. As you know, Jane Austen made fun of the Gothic novel in Northanger Abbey. If I wanted to write one in that genre, I would likewise write a parody.
The Jeweler’s Polish may be called a Catholic romance a la Robert Hugh Benson, who influenced me in my first five novels. Romance does not mean a love tale, but a story of high adventure with heroes and villains as in the medieval sense of the word, like one sees in Matter of Britain stories.
I studied Medieval Romances in graduate school and have read some fairly arcane and fascinating stories – great masterpieces like Havelock the Dane and King Horn among others.
However, my heroes are often women. I have also been influenced by modern anime, with the new approaches to old stories such as Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo and The Place Promised in Our Early Days, which are fantastical, but in a real sense, stories that are moral at several levels, yet interesting to younger persons.
What is your favorite genre you like to write about and why?
Well, my favorite genre is poetry as I love the wordplay and use all the poetic devices, as well as the shorthand of symbolism.
However, most people encounter difficulty reading good poetry in our times as they cannot deal with the references; they cannot read shorthand.
Who or what influences you to write your fictional stories and why?
Places influence me such as Malta, France, England; all wonderful countries. As to written influences, I would say for the first five novels of mine, all of which are going to be released to the general public, the greatest influence has been the fairly modern author, Robert Hugh Benson, with whose novels I grew up as these were on the shelves at home.
My favorite author right now is Dickens, but again most people cannot read long novels these days.
However, I consider him the master of the novel form. I also love the works of Alexandre Dumas, which reveal a profound understanding of human nature, as well as the talent to write a great story.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write every day, even if you think the writing is mediocre. One gets better the more one writes. Listen to constructive criticism. Be willing to change things.
Are you currently working on a new novel and what’s it about?
My first five novels are basically finished, except for a few small additions and edits. I am presently working on murder mysteries now.
The following novels are a combination of fantasy and historical fiction in the romance genre. There are two follow-up novels to The Jeweler’s Polish: these are The Beast, the Prophets and the Victory, a semi-fantasy that is going to be released by Hope and Life Press this winter, and Anne de Migny, a true sequel. The other two novels in this series are The Last Stuart and And Then There Were Eleven.
Please, if possible to share an excerpt from your book, The Jeweler’s Polish?
I am not sure what to read or share. I think the novel is rather dense to just pick out a selection, but one can probably read a paragraph on page 169, given below. I would like to remind readers this was a first novel and I personally think I have improved when writing the others.
Lucas was missing. He had not been seen by anyone in town for three days. Dinah wanted to go to the police, but both Martin and Emerald, who had taken the bus down to Marsaxlokk, told her to stay low key. If Lucas was off on one of his own adventures, he would show up. If he was in danger, someone would have seen or heard something.
And the villa was still empty – or, at least, boarded up. Martin and Emerald got the same idea at the same time.
As the remaining dog had been taken away, they decided on a night raid of the house. No security system could be seen, so the Martin and Emerald tried sneaking into the house on Tuesday at around midnight. It became clear to them that the villa had been broken into earlier. The locks on the patio door were broken. No alarms went off.
Martin had brought some sort of military-grade night goggles to see in the dark and what they saw made them sick to their stomachs. Lucas, the 17-year-old youth, lay right on the kitchen floor. He was dead. Nothing or no one could be seen, but a note lay by his hand. It was a suicide note, but having known Lucas, both Martin and Emerald knew
it to be a fake.
They took the note and phoned the police. The two youth were not charged with breaking and entering, given the circumstances. The body of Lucas was not considered evidence of foul play as a bottle found close to him contained poison. The verdict was suicide. The police acted with kindness toward the two youth, but they still had to be interviewed. Emerald sobbed and the police decided to wait for more questioning, settling on the suicide judgment of Lucas’s death.
He had, according to the police, poisoned himself. Lucas’s funeral took place in church as the old parish priest
considered Lucas mad, thus not responsible for his own death. The two young friends could not return to the house, to look for clues. Emerald wanted to give up the quest. She blamed herself for the untimely death of the boy. Dinah joined Emerald and Martin, and they returned to Floriana. All of a sudden, Emerald gasped.
“He had the jewels!” she said. “He had the third of the clasp-bracelet, but nothing was found in his pockets. Oh! Someone must have taken it, that’s why he was killed.”
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
One may check out my author page at Amazon or the official author page at Hope and Life Press for more information.
5 Star Amazon reviews:
“Brilliant book, loyal on a historical level, and whilst it is fictional it very much reflects the period in which it is set whilst at the same time presenting a very exciting drama. It’s the kind of novel which makes you crave a sequel” – 5* review, Amazon.com
“Gripping and enjoyable. Dean draws the reader back and forth between past and present while pointing toward the future. Her writing kept my attention throughout. I was unable to put the book down until its conclusion” – 5* review, Amazon.com
“Really well written thriller, interesting characters along with well researched history – The Jeweler’s Polish had it all. A highly recommended read” – 5* review, Amazon.com