Mary Ann Clark


Mary Ann Clark is both a published scholar and an explorer of speculative fiction. As a recognized authority on the Afro-Caribbean religions, primarily Santería/Lukumi, she has published three academic books: Then We Will Sing a New Song: African Influences on America's Religious Landscape (Roman & Littlefield, 2012), Santería: Correcting the Myths and Uncovering the Realities of a Growing Religion (Preager Publishers, 2007) and Where Men are Wives and Mothers Rule: Santería Ritual Practices and Their Gender Implications (University Press of Florida, 2005).
Mary Ann's newest passion is speculative fiction including her debut novella The Baron’s Box: A Story from the Bardo. In this account of one woman’s journey through a surprising afterlife, Sara discovers the Empyrean isn’t heaven and the Nether Realm isn’t hell, and the Bardo is at all what she expected. Her only hope is working together with Sam, her compeer, to deliver The Baron Samedi’s box to his sister, Kore, the Queen of the Dead. Before Sam and Sara can receive the gift hidden in The Baron’s box, they must discover who they were, why they were thrown together on this journey, and, most importantly, what they mean to each other.
Growing up on the high plains of Colorado, Mary Ann received her undergraduate degree from Creighton
After almost 20 years writing computer documentation and other types of computer manuals, she went back to school and earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Rice University, in Houston, Texas. Currently, she is a faculty member at Yavapai College in Prescott where she teaches Comparative Religion.

Smashwords Interview

Why did you start writing?
Like many people I've been writing different types of materials all my life. In the 1970s I started a technical writing firm that produced policy and procedure manuals for other companies. Much of our business was writing end-user manual for our clients' computer systems. This was the era of many, many terminals attached to large mainframes computers. As non-programmers my staff was able to translate the jargon of the developers into statements end-users could understand and use.
In the 1990s I went back to graduate school, eventually earning a degree in Religious Studies. As a scholar I have written and published three academic books and innumerable articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles. Academic writing is very different from computer manuals and I had to learn a new writing style. After I published my last book, Then We Will Sing a New Song: African Influences on America's Religious Landscape, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012), I decided it was time to learn another writing style. I joined my local writers group, participated in NaNoWriMo, and joined a critique group. It's taken me five years to write a story I'm willing to share with the world.
What made you go from technical writing to academic writing to fiction?
When I finished Then We'll Sing a New Song I didn't have another academic book begging to be written. However, I knew I needed to keep writing. Putting words on paper feeds my soul. I had tried to write a novel many years earlier, before going back to school, and I realized it would be a challenge to learn a different writing style. I've always loved reading speculative fiction and I thought it would be fun to build a worlds based my academic work. This book, The Baron's Box is not based on any culture or tradition's view of the afterlife however, all of the Guardians are based on psychopomps from a number of traditions. This afterlife comes completely from my imagination, informed by my study of world religions.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Mary Ann Clark online


The Baron's Box
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 43,960. Language: English. Published: September 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
In this imaginative debut novella, Mary Ann Clark asks us to follow the newly dead Sara on her journey through the afterlife. Will she remember enough of her former life to understand why she and her compeer, Sam, have been thrown together? Will they be able to release the emotions of their lives and tragic deaths? Can they meet the challenges of the Bardo and fulfill their promises to each other?

Mary Ann Clark's tag cloud

afterlife    dead    death    metaphysical