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The Authors' Words: Award Winning Author, Marilyn Meredith

The Authors' Words: Award Winning Author, Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 40 published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest A Cold Death from Mundania Press. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novels are all being re-edited and republished by Aakenbaaken & Kent. The first in the series is Final Respects. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for 10 years, was an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and is a presenter at many writers’ conferences. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra, a place quite similar to Tempe Crabtree’s patrol area, with her husband and other members of her big family and many animals.

Hi Marilyn! Thank you so much for talking with me for this interview. I'm so happy we have this chance.

How long have you been writing and how did you start writing?
I’ve been writing all my life in one form or another, stories, books, and plays as a kid—newsletters for PTA and plays for my Camp Fire Girls to perform during my mothering years, and finally got serious when I was a grandmother, and wrote my first published book, an historical family saga based on genealogy.

What was your ambition for your writing career when you started out and have you met it?
I thought I’d be famous, and no, I didn’t ever become famous, but I do have some loyal fans which is most satisfying.

How do you come up with your characters? 
Tempe Crabtree is a combination of three women I met soon after I moved to the foothills of the Sierra: a female resident deputy, a female officer I went on a ride-along with, and a Native American woman who grew up on the nearby reservation. All three are strong women with unique backgrounds.

Tell us about your series, Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series and your Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novels?
The Crabtree series is set in a place much like where I live, and Tempe is the resident deputy. Being an Indian sometimes she uses Native American mythology and ceremonies to help solve crimes—something her pastor husband frowns upon.

Rocky Bluff P.D. is a fictional small department on the Southern California Coast between Ventura and Santa Barbara. The series follows the lives of several officers and their families as crimes are committed and solved. This series was inspired by my son-in-law and his cop stories as well as the beach community I lived in many years ago.

 Tell us a bit about your latest book?
Rocky Bluff P.D. is underpaid and understaffed and when two dead bodies turn up, the department is stretched to the limit. The mayor is the first body discovered, the second an older woman whose death is caused in a bizarre manner. Because no one liked the mayor, including his estranged wife and the members of the city council, the suspects are many, but each one has an alibi.

How did it come about that Aakenbaaken & Kent will be republishing your crime novels Rocky Bluff P.D.?
This series has had 4 different publishers: An e-publisher before anyone had an e-reader; a not so honest publisher; one who decided after publishing two books the business wasn’t for her; the latest one had a stroke and couldn’t continue with the business; and the publisher of A & K graciously offered to publish Unresolved and republish the rest of the series.

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Finding enough time to do it.

Who gave you guidance along the way? 
My first agent who gave me many tips though never found a home for my first book; a member of the critique group I still belong to; and my police officer friends who are so willing to share their stories and help.

Do you use friends and family or people you have known as characters in you stories?
Of course there are some folks that I’ve borrowed personality traits from. One of my friends asked to be in a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery so I obliged. I didn’t use her name, but I did use her description and her unique personality. She loved it, and her friends did too.

With your life experience, what advice would you give to your younger self
in general as with as about writing? 
To have more confidence in myself, and to get involved with a critique group much sooner than I did.

Was there any particular book or author who influenced you? 
I’ve been influenced by many and realized only recently how much Agatha Christie had influenced me in my Crabtree series and Ed McBain, my Rocky Bluff P.D. series. 

What genres and authors do you read? 
Mysteries, of course, and one of my favorite authors is William Kent Krueger, he is a master at describing settings among other things—but I read lots of different authors too, including many of the wonderful female authors.

What are your upcoming projects?
I’m working on a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. This one is set in Tehachapi, California.

Where online can people find you and your books? 
My books are all on Amazon at:

Thank you so much, Marilyn, for doing this interview with me.  ~JD

 F. M. Meredith's website is:;
Find Marilyn Meredith on Facebook and on Twitter at: @MarilynMeredith

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