Get to know Marissa Stapley 

What’s the working title of your future memoir?
I Assure You, I Meant Well

What is something you’ve always wanted to write about?
I’ve always wanted to write a book set in the music industry. Until recently, I wasn’t sure which era or setting, but I’ve now got something planned for the book after the one I’m working on at the moment. (Yes, I’ve got my next two books planned out. I often wonder what will happen if I run out of ideas, but this doesn’t seem likely to occur any time soon.)  

Which fictional character would you like to be friends with?
I’m reading Crow by Amy Spurway right now, and finding I’d really like to spend some time with Stacey Fortune in Cape Breton. I also want to be pals with Diane from Marie-Renee Lavoie’s bitingly funny Autopsy of a Boring Wife. 

Best advice you’ve ever been given? (can be about writing or otherwise)
An old family friend once said, “People are flawed. They’re going to let you down. And you’re going to have to decide if you can love them anyway.” I think about this all the time, because it’s true. We are all flawed, and we all, at one time or another, going to let down the people we love. Will they choose to love us anyway in return? Will we be able to love them when they fall from grace? I explore this a lot with my characters, the fallibility of humans and the limits of mercy and forgiveness. 

Worst advice you’ve ever been given? (can be about writing or otherwise)
Don’t get a cat. (I did it anyway, and we are very happy.) 

What’s next on your reading list?
I’m excited about the pile of books I have stacked beside my bed right now. They include Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles, Proof I Was Here by Becky Blake, and a YA book I’m buddy-reading with my son: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. The only problem is I’m about to launch my new novel and don’t have much time to read, so these books are looking a little forlorn at the moment. 

Could you please take a photo of something in your office and tell us the story behind it?
My office no longer has a desk in it because I realized a few months ago I never write in there: I write in my living room, in an easy chair facing my walls of bookshelves. This is terrible for my back, so I’ve decided to turn my office into a yoga studio. My daughter and I do yoga together in here surrounded by books (the ones that don’t fit on the living room shelves), and it’s such a lovely writing break. 

What sparked the idea for The Last Resort?
I was on holiday with my family a few years ago, and I got a little restless, so I started making up stories about the people at the resort. Were they really as happy as they seemed? In my experience, everyone has a story. I was working on a different book at the time, so I put the idea on a back burner, but it wouldn’t leave me alone. As I wrote it, I was influenced by the state of the world. Gender politics, politics in general, the #metoo movement, and the idea that the world wasn’t going to be come the kind of place I wanted my kids to grow up in all on its own: I was going to have to do something. The book is definitely a page turner and a thrilling beach read, but it’s got something more. It comes from a dark, enraged place inside me — but it’s also very hopeful. I’m an optimist, and I think if enough people want to change the world, it will change. 

Marissa Stapley is the author of The Last Resort, and will be appearing at Festival Sunday on Sunday September 8, 2019.