Maria Sigle resides in her hometown of Springfield, Illinois. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois Springfield, where she started her Masters Degree in Human Services but had to put that on hold when she had her second child. Before becoming a writer, Sigle had a successful career in television hosting her own talk shows, she was the on-air personality, weather girl and anchor for various television stations in the Midwest. She also worked as a spokesperson and a model for organiSations throughout the country. In 2008, she married John Sigle. They reside on the Lake with their two children. When Maria isn’t busy writing or spending time with her children, you can find her traveling, snow skiing, water skiing, teaching aerobics or cooking in the kitchen.
Tell us a little about the plot of your young adult novel, Marley Parker. Would you say it fits into a particular genre? What makes it unique?
“Marley Parker is a Sophomore at an elite private college, where she’s studying to become an investigative reporter. After discovering the Dean of Students was murdered she finds herself at the heart of a mystery and in the process, unearths another enigma nearly twenty years old. With the help of her father, the local Sheriff and other irresistible characters she meets along the way, she’s closer to solving the case. With each new discovery, Marley gets herself deeper and deeper into danger. All the while, falling in love with the prime suspect in her murder investigation. What she learns is so astounding, it rocks her to her very core. It’s so horrific that she will never again be the same girl and there is no turning back. Marley’s story proves that you never how far you will go to save yourself.
This series really does not fit neatly into just one genre. It probably fits best in the Upper Young adult category simply because the main character is only 20 years old. However, its really just a spine-tingling mystery series with a little bit of horror thrown in for fun. I guess thats what makes it special, it’s the best of every genre, rolled into one. Its the exact type of book I personally would enjoy reading and yet still feel comfortable with my kids reading one day.”
What inspired you to write Marley Parker? Did anything from your life or your hometown influence the characters or setting?
“I just love the idea of a series centred around a young, strong, beautiful female who seemingly has it all. Then once you dig deeper, you discover that what you see on the surface is a completely different story than what that girl actually consists of. Much like Marley, when I was 19 years old, I wanted to be an investigative reporter. When I was at Sophomore in college, I began working for a local FOX Television affiliate full time, as the sole on-air talent. It was difficult at the time, juggling full time school and a full time job but it was well worth it. It made me into the person I am today. This eventually morphed into a full fledged successful career in television and modelling throughout my 20’s. Even though, I ended up with a degree in Psychology, it was that portion of my life that gave me the inspiration for my books. For those who know me and my family, it’s been pretty obvious that the character of Marley is highly similar to Maria. To be quite honest everything about my life and my hometown has influenced this book. Although, the book takes place in the fictional town of ‘Greenbriar’, it is very similar to Springfield, Illinois. There is something very eerie about the midwest during the autumn, so it serves as the perfect back-drop for my story.
The character of Marley’s father, Sheriff Parker or as Marley lovingly refers to as, ‘Tones’, is the perfect example of a character that I modelled after someone close to me. I wrote his character based on my dad, Tony Libri. Just like Sheriff Parker, my dad was also in the military, he holds an elected office, and he’s my best friend. My favourite movie is ‘Halloween’, so a lot of the characters throughout the series, have names taken from the characters in the movie. For example, Rob Cummings is taken from the real name of singer Rob Zombie, who re-wrote the movie. So there are a lot of fun things to pick up on as you read. Especially, if you are a big fan of Horror movies like I am.”
Tell us about the main character, Marley. What attracts her to the prime suspect in her murder investigation, and how does she deal with the conflict between her feelings and her desire for justice?
“Marley is the proverbial ‘good girl’. Like me, Marley loses her mother at a very young age. In a way this builds her character, making her slightly more courageous and headstrong than your average college aged girl. She’s used to taking care of herself on many levels. She’s lived in a small town all her life and her best friends are her sister ‘Jade’ and her Father ‘Tony’, the County Sheriff. She’s a good role model because she always does the right thing, as challenging as that may be at times. Yes, she is ever so slightly narcissistic but she always means well. You could consider her to be a girly girl but at the same time, she loves to challenge herself with a hard work out whether its; swimming, running or Aikido. At the end of the day nothing upsets her more than someone inflicting harm on another person and getting away with it. It’s not so much about revenge but about justice.
The relationship between Marley and Rob is a tricky one.
Rob Cummings is the guy that all women know they should steer clear of but cant seem to resist. He’s not only an Adonis but has the bank account to back up his perpetual cockiness. He’s carries this chip on his shoulder that only adds to his mysteriousness. His good looks and inherent charm make him desirable but his kindness and wit make him engaging. Sometimes, you really want to hate him but you can’t. He radiates this sort of intense, electrifying energy that Marley is undeniably drawn to. Just being around him, makes her feel alive in a way she never knew possible. Marley never truly believes that Rob could have killed his own Father. In the beginning it’s all fun and games for her but almost overnight, she starts to form some sort of unexplainable attachment to him.
Naturally, she is conflicted between her growing feelings for Rob and not allowing them to cloud her objectivity in her investigation. The reader will discover a shocking ending, exploiting a twisted history linking the two of them together. What she discovers should change the way she feels about him forever, and it does, just not the way you might think. Only making their relationship that much more twisted as the series continues.”
What do you think will surprise readers the most about your novel?
“I’m a big fan of surprise endings that you never see coming. I hate it when I can guess the ending of a book or a movie right from the beginning. So I really try to throw my readers for a loop. I think that the ending of my book is my favourite part. Things really take a unexpected turn in Chapter 18, ‘Playing with Fire’. The heroine in the story goes from being the stereotypical good girl to one tough cookie. She transforms right in front of you and becomes this bad-ass chick. The character that Marley starts off as and the person she ends up becoming is really exciting. It just serves as a reminder that you can make your life anything you want it to be.”
Do you have plans to turn this novel into a series? If so, can you give us a sneak peak at the direction it will be headed?
“Yes, this book is the first in the Marley Parker series. It was more challenging to write than the others because of plotting and a lot of time was spent introducing characters and just getting everything set up. The subsequent books become quite a bit scarier and somehow even more suspenseful. One thing is for sure, you will encounter a lot of scary people, freaky happenings and lots of really high heels.
Marley Parker and A Rumour of Ghosts is the second book in the series and is scheduled to be released on Amazon by January 1, 2015. The second book takes place during the month of October and really turns up the heat with paranormal activity and a mad man on the loose, who is brutalising women around Greenbriar. When Marley is hired to investigate ghostly activity at a historic hotel, her friend is left beaten and unconscious on campus. It’s up to Marley to find the mystery man responsible before anyone else gets hurt all the while, trying to solve another mystery of the supernatural kind.”
Where can our readers find out more information about Marley Parker, including how to purchase it?
If you want to learn more about Marley Parker, you can visit my website at www.marleyparker.com. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com in both ebook or paperback. You can also find me on Twitter or Facebook. Or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org”