Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mystery We Write Blog Tour with Marilyn Meredith,

Today’s guest blogger is the author of nearly thirty published novels, which she writes under two different versions of her name. The award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series’ latest mystery is Invisible Path, published by Mundania Press.

Part 8 of the Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series

F.M. Meredith is the name our guest uses to publish her Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novels. The newest title, Angel Lost, the third in this series and is published by Oak Tree Press.

I’m sure you’re already hugely impressed (as am I) but Marilyn is also member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Internet chapter , Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit  her at and her blog at
Marilyn Meredith
How does she get all of this writing done? Well, I’ve asked her a few questions in the attempt to get the bottom of this mystery:

Jackie: Would you tell us a little about your latest mystery and how it came about?

Marilyn: Angel Lost is number 7 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. Of course, I am moving the lives forward of the men and one woman in the Rocky Bluff Police Department as well as those of their families. Officer Stacey Wilbur, the Vice Officer, is going to be a decoy for a pervert who is flashing female joggers on the beach, but her mind is really on her weekend wedding. She’s marrying Detective Doug Milligan. One of the side plots is about an angel that is appearing nightly in the window of a furniture store. This is something that happened in the city that is about 17 miles away from where I live. I passed the crowds surrounding the window a couple of times and knew I had to include the phenomena in this tale.

Jackie: Fascinating. It’s going on my want list. With all of this circling in your mind, do you manage to keep some WIP on the back burner?

Marilyn: I always have a WIP because I write two series. The book I’m working on now is in the Deputy Crabtree mystery series. It’s all about flooding in the mountains, two mysterious deaths, a secret that’s been kept for too many years, and an attempt on Tempe’s life.

Jackie: It’s hard to believe that with two series going that you have any spare time. But surely you must take a breath now and then. What do you do when you’re not writing?

Marilyn: At times it seems that when I’m not writing I’m promoting. For this book I’ve been two blog tours, this one included, and I’ve done several in person events all over Central and Southern California, and the beginning of this month I went to Sedona AZ and gave talks at the library and the Well Read Coyote Bookstore. Next up is a talk about a Writer’s Platform for a writers’ group at the Willow Bridge Bookstore in Oakhurst in the foothills above Fresno. In July I’ll be in Las Vegas attending the Public Safety Writers Association’s conference.  and for the rest of my schedule, you can check the appearance page on my website

Jackie: I’m exhausted just learning what all you do! But before published books, I know that usually writers face a huge task in find a publisher. What challenges have you faced getting your book published?

Marilyn: When I first began, I was rejected so many times, if I’d had good sense, I’d have quit. Instead, I kept rewriting and learning more about the craft of writing. And of course, reading the kind of books I wanted to write. Now I’m fortunate in having two small presses who so far have accepted every manuscript I’ve sent them. In both cases, I had the opportunity to meet both publisher at different conferences and speak to them in person about my books. (I’d already been published by other publishers who for one reason or another were either no longer in the business, or I was not happy with the publisher.)

Jackie: For sure it pays for writers to never give up. And see what your persistence has brought forth.
Next Question: What type of research did you do before writing your book?

Marilyn: I’m fortunate that I can call all law enforcement friends who will help me with ideas for my books. For my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, I often do research on the Indian Reservation that is nearby since often is used as one of the settings in those mysteries. I also do some research online.

Jackie: Let’s switch gears for a minute. What gives you the most pleasure in life?

Marilyn: I have to say my family. I only have one sibling, my sister who is a great supporter as well as a good friend. Whenever I do an event in Las Vegas we always stay with her and my brother-in-law. My husband and I enjoy our time with them. They are going to be with us on a mystery cruise this fall when we’ll also be celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary. We have five grown children, 18 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. We love being around all of them.

Jackie: What a wonderful picture you draw with words when describing your family. Who is the biggest supporter of your writing?

Marilyn: My husband, because he puts up with me spending almost all day in front of my computer. He also goes with me to almost all my events and hauls my books around for me.

Jackie: You’re a very lucky woman.
Next Question: Who designed your book cover? Did you have any say in the final result?

Marilyn: I’ve been very fortunate with my covers. And don’t you love the cover for Angel Lost? I give my ideas to my publisher at Oak Tree Press and then she has a cover designer she uses. I had a totally different idea then the one the designer came up with. The first one she showed me had a jogger with a pony tale, since it’s supposed to represent Officer Stacey Wilbur who has short hair, the jogger was changed.

Mundania Press has a couple of cover artists. When you send in the book they also have a questionnaire for you to fill out about your vision for the cover. In the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series I always tell them I want it to have a Native American theme of some sort that matches the main idea of the book. I’ve been pleased with everything the artist has come up with.

Jackie: Tell us a bit about your schedule and work habits as a writer.

Marilyn: I do my best work in the morning. I’m usually up around 4:30 or 5 a.m. I’m at the computer by 6, but usually check my email before I begin writing. Once I’ve done that I start. I do keep a list of things I have to do, and I break up my writing time with some household chores, but I usually stick to writing on my latest WIP until noon.

Jackie: Such hard work should be rewarded. How do you celebrate?

Marilyn: In the beginning, a signed contract meant a dinner in a really nice place. We still do that sometimes. We try to get out a movie and dinner some place nice at least twice a month, if we’re not already gallivanting around to some mystery or writer cons where we’ll be eating out anyway. I’m just happy to be published. My biggest advice to any new writer who’d like to celebrate a contract is to never give up. Keep learning, keep writing, and keep submitting.

Jackie: Good advice. In fact, when I occasionally teach novel writing at the local community college, that’s what I tell my students!

Thanks a million for chatting with me and my readers, Marilyn. It’s been an interesting time.

Readers: Feel free to make comments or to ask Marilyn questions:

Hugs to all,


Angel Lost Blurb:

As plans for her perfect wedding fill her mind, Officer Stacey Wilbur is sent out to trap a flasher, the new hire realizes Rocky Bluff P.D. is not the answer to his problems, Abel Navarro’s can’t concentrate on the job because of worry about his mother, Officer Gordon Butler has his usual upsets, the sudden appearance of an angel in the window of a furniture store captures everyone’s imagination and causes problems for RBPD, and then the worst possible happens—will Stacey and Doug’s wedding take place?


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Thank you so much for hosting me today. You asked some great questions!


Anonymous said...

Every time I see anything about Marilyn my admiration for her increases. WHAT a HARD WORKER! She puts the rest of us to shame. One thing I really miss about my husband is that he used to do for me a lot of the things Marilyn's husband does for her, with the exception of conferences, he never went with me to those. I envy anyone who has a helper nearby like her husband. They're lucky to have each other.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Marilyn:

You've been married 60 years? Wow! That is a very long time. It's been my pleasure to meet Hap and you know how lucky you are to have him!

I've been considering the Killer Nashville convention and notice you are signed up. Are you still going, or have you changed your mind?

Pat Browning

Jean Henry Mead said...

I enjoy Marilyn's books and look forward to each one when it's released. Her native American settings and customs are spot on, so I knew she does cosiderable research.

Happy 60th Anniversary, Marilyn. I don't how anyone who's been married that long can be as active as you are. You're a wonder!

4RV Publishing said...

Marilyn, you are an interesting person and author. Jackie, thanks for asking her questions that help us know her better.


Jackie King said...

Marilyn, It's my great pleasure to have you as my guest! You are one fascinating woman. I agree with Beth that your hard work has paid off in spades.

Jackie King said...

Hi Pat, Glad you stopped by to chat. Hope you get to go to Killer Nashville so you can chat with Meredith and other mystery writers.

Jackie King said...

Hi Jean, I love books with native American settings, too. So glad this is the background for Meredith's books.

Jackie King said...

Hi Vivian, Isn't it fun getting to know more and more about other mystery writers? I'm loving this blog tour.

bob said...

Good interview, Jackie.

Sharon Ervin said...

I had a writer friend who refused to attend conferences or meet agents or editors face-to-face because she didn't want them to know how old she was. She insisted those people built their careers on young clients who would produce longer. This friend wrote a dozen good manuscripts. Finally, only two were published by a small company shortly before she died. Neither of her children appreciated her work and tossed the other manuscripts. She was 84 when she died, had been reluctant from age 50 on to meet agents or editors. Our loss. I tell people, it takes years of life experiences to hone an insightful writer. The older the better. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Jackie King said...

Thanks Bob, I appreciate you stopping my.

Jackie King said...

Oh Sharon,
This is one of the saddest stories I've heard in regard to writing. Let it be both a warning and encouragement us who are of-a-certain age.

It's so important to enjoy each stage of our lives. The older we are, the more we've seen that can be shared in our stories.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

It's sure a good thing I don't worry about being old--I've been having a great time writing and promoting at my ripe old age.

Jackie, thanks again for letting me visit your blog today.


Jackie King said...

Isn't it wonderful to have a job you can work at forever? We writers are all so blessed.

And Marilyn, it was my good luck and honor to have you for my guest.