Monday, December 3, 2012

Talking With Marilyn Meredith

I must begin with a disclaimer: Marilyn is a very good friend. Larry and I love her, her husband, and her books. Since we know so much about her, I decided to try some different questions for her this week. Maybe you’ll learn something new, too. And I hope you might want to read some of her books when you’re finished.

When did you first decide to write mysteries?
I wrote a couple years ago but I was easily discouraged by one or two rejections. After I wrote and had two historical family sagas published, I wrote my first mystery, The Astral Gift. Then I went on to the first of the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, Final Respects, though at the time, I had no idea it would become a series.

Who was the first character you created? Why this particular character?
For this series, it was Officer Douglas Milligan. Doug was loosely based on my son-in-law, though the resemblance was mostly with his looks. Because my idea—one that I’ve continued through the series—was to show how what is happening at home affects the officer on the job and what’s happening on the job affects the family—I wanted a hero who was likeable but also had vulnerabilities.

Do you read mysteries other than your own? If so, which writers do you like to read?
Of course I read mysteries other than my own, including Lorna’s and Lorna and Larry’s, and I’m really fond of Radine Nehring Trees series, plus many of the other Oak Tree Press mystery authors. Other mystery writers over the years I’ve enjoyed are Mary Higgins Clark, William Kent Krueger and Jan Burke.

Do you read other genres? If so, which do you enjoy the most?
I seldom read anything but mysteries, but I do read thrillers, cozies and other sub-genres of mystery. I do like Dennis Lehane’s work but are probably classified as literary.

Who are your favorite writers of all time?
Other mystery writers over the years who I’ve enjoyed are Mary Higgins Clark, William Kent Krueger, James Lee Burke, and Jan Burke.

If you could spend a day with any one person, living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
That’s a question I have a hard time answering. My thoughts often run to those in my family who have passed on, but who would I choose, my mom or dad, my son? Spending a day with Jesus would be awesome. I think I’ll be practical instead—I’d love to spend the day with any of my friends, especially my writing friends. One of our fondest memories is spending the weekend with Lorna and Larry in their gorgeous home in Dana Point. We had a great time talking books, selling books, seeing the sights, and just having a wonderful time. [Lorna’s note: And we celebrated our mutual birthdays. It was a great time with good friends.]

What do you do when you really want to escape and have fun? Why?
If it’s just for a part of the day, Hap and I love to go to the movies and out to eat. We’re both movie buffs so that’s really enjoyable for us. If it’s a trip, we really love going to the coast to Morro Bay. We have a special hotel over there we like and we have lots of friends there so we’d try to meet with them for a delicious sea food dinner.

We know your husband, Hap, is very supportive of your writing. Has he always been? Does he ever feel excluded when you are busy with your writing activities?
Hap has always been supportive. Way back when we had our care home, he remained home and took care of business so I could go off to writers’ conferences and mystery cons. Now, he usually comes with me, though he’s not as fond of flying as he once was. I can tell when he feels excluded—he’ll come sit in the extra chair in my office and I know he needs some attention.

What does he like best about your being a writer?
He loves meeting new people just like I do. Being a writer has given him lots of opportunity to make many new and interesting friends. It has also given us some new places to visit. We’ve been to a lot of cities we’d have never gone to if it hadn’t been writing related. Probably the one he enjoyed most was Maui when I worked at the Maui Writers Retreat and he went sightseeing all day. [Lorna’s note: Hap is one of the great guys of the world. We’re both so fortunate to have been blessed with terrific husbands.]

How can you continue to produce two complete novels (one in each series) each year? And how do you manage to keep them fresh and interesting?
I can tell you that it isn’t easy to write two whole novels in one year. If I didn’t have to promote at the same time it would be a lot easier. Sometimes life interferes too. I have to do all the same things everyone else does and we have a huge family. As for keeping each new book fresh and interesting, I try to find new ways to kill people (in the books, of course), unusual killers, and interesting and logical and sometimes not so logical things to happen to my ongoing characters.

What’s next?
The next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery is called Dangerous Impulses. It centers around a group of high school kids and designer drugs.

F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels. Her latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, from Oak Tree Press, is No Bells.  She also writes the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. Marilyn is a 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.

Rocky Bluff Crime series from first to last:

Final Respects, Bad Tidings, Fringe Benefits, Smell of Death, No Sanctuary, An Axe to Grind, Angel Lost, No Bells, and coming soon, Dangerous Impulses.


  1. I love visiting with Lorna, no matter whether it's in person or on line. I'm just glad to be here.

  2. Marilyn, I never tire of you or your books. It seems like with each post I learn something new. You really are an inspiration to so many people. Thanks!
    Marja McGraw

  3. Thank you, Marja. I don't know about being an inspiration, but I appreciate your kind words.

  4. Hi Marilyn, I like the discussion about how your husband fits in with your writing life. I'm sure the spouse of a writer often feels neglected when the author is writing or away at a conference. Glad you manage to include him (and I'm sure he's happy too).

    1. Sally, Hap has as good a time as I do. He's made lots of fans too.

  5. Nice to read more things I didn't know about you, Marilyn. It's good to have a supportive husband! Thanks for sharing more of your journey.


    1. Monti, you have a supportive husband to, and yes, it helps a lot.

  6. So, Marilyn, when did you publish your very first book, and how many have you published total? You never cease to amaze me! ~ Dani

    1. Published my first book in 1981, I was a grandmother by then. I've published about 35, I think.

  7. Thanks for commenting, Sally. He used to like it more than he does now--though he still likes to be the one to sell my books as long as he doesn't have to travel too far to do it.

    Monti, you have one of those supportive husbands too. We're very fortunate.

  8. Marilyn: Hap is a gem. I love talking with him at PSWA. I missed him (and you too.) I'm waiting for my husband to retire so he can sell my books and we can travel together to events!
    W.S. Gager on Writing

    1. I've been having trouble with my computer, I finally can use it again. We missed you at PSWA.

  9. Great blog post interview, Marilyn. I'm learning so many new and interesting things about you. Talking about books with friends is one of my favorite things to do, too.

  10. Let me throw my opinion in with Lorna's: I love Marilyn's books. She's a terrific writer and creates a world and characters who are so fascinating to follow.

  11. Just arrived in Maui and wanted to thank Marilyn for letting me do this interview while I'm on vacation. Even though we're good friends, I'm still learning new things about you!

  12. As I always say Marilyn knows how to write a readers book. One of my favorite authors because you know how to get my interest & keep. Thank you.

  13. Thanks, Marilyn! Learned a lot about you. I only wish my hubby was that excited about my books--he won't even tell the various people he works with (the ones I can't get to because he only sees them at the office, ha) that I have published novels. I tried to sneak a copy of NICE WORK into his laptop case so that it would fall out when he was in a conference room, but it didn't work. He's on to me.

    Reading RAGING WATERS now and I recognize the characters. Expect Amazon review soon!

  14. Because I've had so much trouble with these Captcha letters, I'm just going to thank everyone right now for commenting. Jake you are a gem for following me around. Evelyn, John and Shalanna, such kind words. Thank you everyone.