Mary Stanton has been writing professionally most of her adult life. She divides her time between a goat farm in upstate New York near the Finger Lakes region and a small home in West Palm Beach.
Stanton is the oldest daughter of William Bishop Whitaker and Caroline Whitaker, both of whom were college professors for parts of their careers. She has two sisters; Cynthia Bishop Whitaker, Esquire of Seattle, Washington and Deborah Susan Whitaker Hairston of Ithaca, New York. She was born in Winter Park, Florida while her father was Dean of Men at Rollins College. When William Whitaker was recruited back into the Navy in the early fifties, he and his family were posted to Japan. Leaving active Naval service for the Reserves and a position in the State Department, Whitaker was posted to Hawaii where he occupied a position as Director of Educational Services for Southeast Asia.
Stanton grew up in Hawaii and graduated from Kailua High School. She left the Islands for undergraduate school in the late sixties. She attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and received a B.A. in philosophy and literature from the University of Minnesota. She attended a year of law school, then a year of graduate school majoring in Rehabilitation Therapies. She worked at a series of jobs in Minnesota, including a year as a nightclub singer as part of Sheik's Singing Sextette, a medical examiner for Social Security, a claims adjuster for Crum&Forster Insurance Company and Director of Volunteer Services for Hastings State Hospital. She married Robert Tom Nelson in 1967. The marriage ended in divorce.
In the mid-seventies, Stanton left Minnesota for Rochester, New York. She worked for Aetna Life & Casualty Insurance Companies, one of the first outside female claims adjusters in the United States. She began a career as a copywriter in the early eighties, working for several advertising agencies and Xerox Corporation until she opened her own marketing communications company in 1985. The company specialized in the research and writing of Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award applications. Clients included Xerox Corporation, Westinghouse, American Express, and Eastman Kodak Company. Stanton took on a junior partner, Daniel J.Hucko, in 1985, and sold the business to Young and Rubicam in 1992. She left the business in 1994 to write full time.
She married Robert J. Stanton Esquire of Walworth, New York in 1974. There are three stepchildren from that marriage; John Robert Stanton, Harry Cole Stanton, and Julie Stanton Schwatrz.
Stanton's career as a fiction writer began with the publication of her first novel, The Heavenly Horse from the Outermost West, in 1984. A beast fable similar in tone and theme to Watership Down, it was published in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan. The sequel to that novel, Piper at the Gates, appeared in 1989. She sold her first mystery to The Berkley Publishing Group in 1994. In all, Stanton has written nineteen mystery novels, two adult fantasy novels, eleven novels for middle-grade readers (including the successful series, The Unicorns of Balinor), and three scripts for a television cartoon series, Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, as well as edited three short story anthologies. Her nonfiction articles on horse care and veterinary medicine have appeared in national and regional magazines.
Stanton's interests outside writing have remained consistent over the years. She is a horsewoman, a goat aficionado, an enthusiastic (if inept) gardener, and a fan of gourmet food, but not an expert. She has developed a writing program for teens and middle grade readers that has had considerable success in schools.
Stanton has been a dedicated reader all her life, with particular emphasis on biography, history, veterinary science, medicine, psychology and current affairs. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America. She may be contacted through her literary agent, Lucienne Diver of the Spectrum Literary Agency, 320 Central Park West Suite 1-D, New York, NY 10025.
Mary explains the genesis of the Hemlock Falls series in Accidental Crimes.
And read how she created Austin McKenzie in Well-Schooled in Murder.