Wednesday, February 17, 2016


A self-centered, only child of classical musicians, Marina Julia Neary spent her early years in Eastern Europe and came to the US at the age of thirteen. Her literary career revolves around depicting military and social disasters, from the "Charge of the Light Brigade," to the Irish Famine, to the Easter Rising in Dublin, to the nuclear explosion in Chernobyl some thirty miles away from her home town. Notorious for her abrasive personality and politically incorrect views that make her a persona non grata in most polite circles, Neary explores human suffering through the prism of dark humor, believing that tragedy and comedy go hand in hand.

Her debut thriller "Wynfield's Kingdom" was featured on the cover of the First Edition Magazine (see above) and earned the praise of the Neo-Victorian Studies Journal. After writing a series of novels dealing with the Anglo-Irish conflict - "Brendan Malone" (2011), "Martyrs & Traitors" (2011) and "Never Be at Peace" (2014), she takes a break from the slums of London and the gunpowder-filled streets of Dublin to delve into the picturesque radioactive swamps of her native Belarus. "Saved by the Bang: a Nuclear Comedy" is a deliciously offensive autobiographical satire featuring sex scandals of Eastern Europe's artistic elite in the face of political upheavals. 

1. Welcome, Marina.  It's good to have you as a guest. I tend to ask profound and probing questions, so I'd like to start by asking you why you named your blog CT Commie Tiger Mommy.

Even after 24 years in the US, I don't quite fit with the "soccer mommy" crowd of Southern Connecticut. My crude sadistic jokes make me a bit of an outsider. So I use my pariah status to my advantage. I just haven't gotten the whole heterosexual Stepford Wife thing down. I'm not good at playing golf or staging fits of maternal guilt. When my son was born, I stuffed him in daycare and was like . . . "Later!" When I tell people I didn't feel one ounce of guilt about leaving my baby in the care of "glorified babysitters", they look at me like I have two heads. Referring to myself as a Commie is in the same vein as an African American person using the "n" word.

2. Tell us a little about your newest novel Never Be at Peace (see cover above). For example, how did you come up with the title and what is your main character Helena Molony like? Is she similar to you?

Never Be at Peace is actually the last in the 1916 trilogy. The original title was Tears of Emer, because Emer was Helena's stage and pen name. In addition to being an actress she was also a journalist. She was theatrical, aggressive, bisexual and alcoholic. An incurable idealist who lived to see all her dreams perish, she's a very poignant and unfairly underrepresented historical figure. Never Be at Peace was actually my husband's idea. It's a line delivered by Patrick Pearse at the graveside of a Fenian, "Ireland unfree shall never be at peace". Well, guess what? Even after gaining freedom, Ireland was still not at peace for a long time. That's the irony of it.

3. Never Be at Peace has an earlier companion piece. When you wrote Martyrs and Traitors (see cover above left), did you know you'd be writing a sequel? Is there a close bond between the two?

Martyrs and Traitors  was written over the course of 4 months and turned out to be a whooping 450+ pager. The focal figure is Bulmer Hobson, a controversial Protest born hero, Helena's lover-turned-enemy. They had a turbulent political and romantic bond, and eventually had a falling out due to ideological differences. Helena favored the idea of an open insurrection, even if it had no chance of military success, while Bulmer actually tried to stop the Easter Rising of 1916. I had the biggest crush on Bulmer for a long time, to the point of seeking out his surviving family members and getting previously unpublished photos of him. I must say, skinny, vitamin D deprived Irish revolutionaries are my weakness!

4. You've had an all-too-close encounter with an actual nuclear disaster. Tell us about the experience and its relation to Saved by the Ban: A Nuclear Comedy (see cover above). What in the world is funny or comic about the big Bang at Chernobyl?

I was less than 30 miles away from the epicenter of the disaster. Comedy is in the eye of the beholder. When you see your classmates dropping of radiation poisoning and leukemia, you can either cry or laugh. I believe that comedy and tragedy go hand in hand and feed off each other. 

5. You've been called abrasive and offensive. What are a few of your traits or politically incorrect views that rub people the wrong way?

People don't know what to make of me. On one hand, I'm not entirely heterosexual, yet I'm in a monogamous relationship with a man, and have been for the past 18 years. My first great love was a girl, and I got into a lot of trouble for it, living in a very homophobic society. Eventually I conditioned myself to like boys, even though they did not like me very much. The funniest thing is that I snagged a great guy, the kind that any heterosexual soccer mom would love to have for a husband. I have successfully robbed the heterosexual community of a great male specimen. That perplexes the GLBT community, who think that I'm still "in the closet" or I "sold out to patriarchy". I'm also an ardent pro-life activist. Gee, that cost me a few phony friendships on Facebook. I am very open about not liking children very much, yet I defend their right to life. I also joke about getting arrested for breastfeeding my cats in public. People don't like to have their stereotypes challenged. They like everything pigeonholed.

6. When asked if there was anything specific you wanted to say to your readers, you said in part, "Try to disengage from your American mentality." Why should Americans do this?

It really means, step outside of your comfort zone, of your Walmart realism. The paradox is that America is such a melting pot, yet the mainstream has the propensity for blandness and narrow-mindedness.

7. You said in an interview that "It takes a Slavic artist to capture an Irish tragedy." Why?

Because Celts and Slavs are genetically similar. They have common ancestors. I think Eastern Europeans understand the Irish very well. Many Poles and even Lithuanians, who are not Slavs but have been influenced by Slavic neighbors, have found a new home in Ireland. The assimilation was rather smooth due to religious and psychological similarities.

8. You've published two historical plays, Hugo in London and the sequel Lady with a Lamp: The Untold Story of Florence Nightingale (see cover above). Can you discuss a few things which aren't generally known about Florence Nightingale? Is she at all like Helena Molony?

So glad you asked about Florence versus Helena. Helena was an overt feminist and made a conscious effort to improve the lot of her Irish sisters. Florence, on another hand, did not care much for the lot of women. It was not her goal to advocate for them. She was actually advocating for the soldiers, who deserved quality medical care. Florence became an inspiration for many young middle-class women who were looking for an alternative to a life inside a parlor, but she was not primarily preoccupied with "advancing the lot of women".

9. Thank you, Marina for a great interview. Before you leave, could you supply readers with a few links where they can purchase your books and learn more about you?

My books are available on Amazon and through my respective publishers. You can find me on Facebook and also visit my blog:

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