My name is Maria Staal and I am an Indie author. I love architecture, but also have a soft spot for the surreal and slightly absurd.

I was born in the Netherlands, but spent seven years of my life abroad, meeting people and doing the weirdest jobs to earn my keep (all legal, of course). In 2004, I was lucky enough to move to York in the United Kingdom. An amazing city, not only for its medieval houses, but also for the many ‘characters’ that call it home, quite a few of whom became my friends. Inspired by the beautiful architecture and fascinating history of York, I wrote my first two books – Romans, Vikings, Churches and Chocolate and From Dissenters to Fire Engines.

Besides living in York, I lived in Australia for two years and in New Zealand for six months. On top of that, I worked on two container ships. The trips on these ships inspired me to write two more books – Time Zones, Containers and Three Square Meals a Day, and its sequel More Stories of Time Zones and Containers. Time Zones is the only one of my books so far that has been translated into Dutch.

Cosy mysteries
I am now back in my hometown in the Netherlands, where I work part-time as a receptionist at the town hall. The rest of my time I’m is busy as an author-entrepreneur, which has now grown to fiction as well.
Under my penname Annie Appleton, I have published Don’t Feed the Rat!, the first book in my cosy mystery series – Jacob Hicks Murder Mysteries.

Fiction Builder
Having never forayed into fictional writing before, I needed the help of my friend Eva Kattz to be able to produce a readable cosy mystery. Eva is a developmental editor and together we pioneered a new fiction writing technique. It doesn’t replace ‘old-fashioned’ plotting and outlining, but complements it.

Together, Eva and I co-wrote a book about our new writing technique. Fiction Builder! will be published in March 2018, but until that time we will blog about it so that other writers can already get a glimpse of what it’s like to use Fiction Builder when plotting and writing fiction.

Dutch non-fiction
Never able to sit still, I have also written another non-fiction book, this time in Dutch. Doe het lekker zelf! helps Dutch indies to publish their own books and follow the guidelines of the Indie Revolution. This book comes out on 1st December 2017.

My latest book in the Jacob Hicks Murder Mysteries series goes by the working title of Sewer Mayhem, and is set to be published in the summer of 2018.
More information about this series can be found on Annie Appelton’s website.

A little bit more about me

  • My favourite book: Dog Rock by David Foster, a fantastic surreal murder mystery (or is it?)
  • My favourite TV-show: Corner Gas, these guys just love to play with words
  • My favourite film: Back to the Future trilogy
  • My favourite space craft: The ESA comet hunter Rosetta and its lander Philae

To follow my Dutch blog go to www.mariastaal.nl.


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