The Shaman and the Mafia

The Shaman and the Mafia

The Shaman and the Mafia is a crime-romance novel. The story involves Marietta Collins, who left the cloistered life to be independent and free of religious restraints. She heads a youth drug rehab centre and is dedicated to ridding the community of the growing criminal element and restoring it to the pleasant tourist town it once was. As the story opens, Marietta learns that Joseph Gleason, a friend and drug informant, who was secretly in love with her, has been brutally murdered, the victim of a mafia hit. In the course of the investigation she meets the victim’s brother, FBI assistant director Raymond Gleason. There’s an instant attraction between the two and he becomes her first lover. Raymond gives FBI agent Jerry Young, who is also his best friend, the responsibility of investigating the murder and hunting down the mafia’s kingpin. He discovers that the mob boss, who also has ties to the Russian mafia in Florida, is involved in underage prostitution, illicit drugs and a string of murders. While the story revolves around Marietta, Jerry, and Raymond, there are several other personalities dealing with conflicted emotions in the world of corruption, murder, and depravity. This is an action-packed crime-drama and love story that also examines the conflicted emotions of the characters as they try to make sense of their lives through the web of crime, darkness and light

You write both fiction and non-fiction so do you have a preference between the two?

Presently I am enjoying writing fiction with another fiction book coming out in 2015. However, my varied life and eclectic list of life experiences always influence my fiction writing and manage to find their way into the characters’ storylines. I feel my life enriches my fiction writing. However, saying that it’s extremely therapeutic writing non-fiction or memoirs gives you a chance to reflect on the lives you’ve lived, those I’ve already completed will be republished during 2014 and 2015.

How much has your background in psychology helped you to better understand your characters?

I believe my education and enthusiasm for learning and wanting to understand what drives people’s motivations and behaviours has helped tremendously. However, nothing compared to my real life and work experience, beginning with when my sister and I were put in an orphanage for two years when we turned eight years old and experiencing those elements of society and psychology first hand. 

Please tell us a bit about your previous jobs as a family counsellor, social worker and probation officer.  

Whilst I was working as a social worker one of my main roles involved visiting families in their homes. This put my on the front line of families and individuals who were victims of abuse and drugs as well as neglected children and elders in ghetto areas such as Hell’s Kitchen in Harlem to mention a few. I think perhaps being physically fit and strong helped me when I went into dangerous areas and was confronted by angry people. As a probation officer I worked in institutions for the criminally and mentally incarcerated youth. Believe me this was beyond challenging along with problem staff. I also had a private counselling practice.

Please tell us about the character of Marietta.

Marietta is a young woman but a women of all ages and for all seasons. She has lived a sheltered life an active, monastic life as a nun.  Although she had left the convent by nature she is tenacious, idealist, and determined to clean up Lakeshore from crime. She falls in love, seduces from curiosity, suffers guilt, marries, has a nervous breakdown. I feel women will be able to relate to different parts of Marietta’s story and men as well.

Where did your inspiration for the story come from?

My own life experiences which echo some of those that Marietta goes through as well as my own creative imagination. I wanted to write book that I would want to read as well as  create a book combining darkness, light and hope.  In all my books I do not leave the readers without some kind of optimism.

What is next for me?   

The continual thrill of writing more books and the pleasure of giving motivational lectures that offer hope.  No matter how tough life is, hope and alternatives helps to get us through. I have very strong feeling about the journey of women through life, and how much they suffer worldwide and the need for their empowerment. I am open to the whole wide world with an immense feeling of gratitude.  

Elizabeth Upton’s novel ‘The Shaman and the Mafia’ (published by Twin Star, Santa Barbara Press, RRP £8.99, paperback, RRP £1.99, eBook) is available online at retailers and can be ordered from all good bookstores. For more information, please visit the author’s website,



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