Saturday, September 19, 2015

Guest Interview with Marilyn Meredith

Today my guest is one of my favorite authors and good friends, Marilyn Meredith. Her latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Not as It Seems, is now available. I realized we have something in common, so I’ve asked Marilyn to address this common theme.

When we were talking about this visit to her blog, Lorna asked the following questions: “We wrote our historical novel, The Memory Keeper, from the POV of a JuaneƱo Indian. What is different in writing from the POV of Tempe, another Native American, from writing your non-Indian characters? How do you research the information on your local Indians? How does Tempe’s Indian background affect her worldview, and how she goes about her work?
Here are my answers:
At the beginning of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Tempe knows very little about her Indian heritage. The part owner of the local inn, also an Indian, takes it upon himself to educate her. In each book, she learns more and more about her heritage.
Her point-of-view isn’t much different from non-Indian characters. In fact, though the detectives she often works with think she should be the one to investigate crimes involving Indians, she is still an outsider to those living on the reservation.
I’ve met many of the local Indians, researched by going on the reservation, but as I often tell them, what I’ve done mostly is borrow from them rather than actually writing about a particular group of Indians who live on the res. Even the fictional reservation in my series, though it has many resemblances to the real reservation, has some differences.
This particular book is set in Morro Bay and the surrounding area and deals with two different Indian tribes, which I had to research—and was quite surprised by what I discovered.
Because of Tempe’s previous contacts with the dead and the spirit world, she has some unique and sometimes unsettling experiences while trying to locate a missing woman. I don’t think her Indian background has as much effect on her worldview as her supernatural encounters.
Not as It Seems Blurb:
Tempe and Hutch travel to Morro Bay for son Blair’s wedding, but when the maid-of-honor disappears, Tempe tries to find her. The search is complicated by ghosts and Native spirits.
Character Naming Contest:
Once again, I’ll name a character after the person who leaves a comment on the most blogs.
Tomorrow I’ll be stopping by John M. Wills blog http://jwillsbooks.com/blog-posts/and talking about the setting for Not as it Seems.
Bio:

Marilyn Meredith now lives in the foothills of the Southern Sierra, about 1000 feet lower than Tempe’s Bear Creek, but the area much resembles the fictional town and surroundings. She has nearly 40 books published, mostly mysteries. Besides writing, she loves to give presentations to writers’ groups. She’s on the board of the Public Safety Writers Association, and a member of Mystery Writers of America and three chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Central Coast chapter.

14 comments:

  1. Great job by both Lorna and Marilyn, role models for the rest of us. Marilyn, I look forward to hosting you tomorrow on my blog.

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  2. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Lorna. And John, I'm looking forward to visiting you tomorrow.

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  3. "I don’t think her Indian background has as much effect on her worldview as her supernatural encounters." I don't know whether I find this surprising or not - considering that you say she's only recently started learning about her heritage. I guess it would depend on the types of encounters she's had with the dead and the spirit world! I've always thought the spirits would be much as they were in life, but lacking a physical presence to do much for good OR evil. :) Then again, there is my "haunted photo" that keeps throwing itself at me (well, it hasn't done in a very long time, now, so I think it's done doing that)...

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  4. Hi, Holly, she's been learning more and more about her heritage as times goes on--this is a fairly long series. Things keep changing for her--and me as her creator. Thanks for commenting.

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  5. I think Tempe is representative of many native Americans I've met. They were separated from their culture and now find wisdom in it. Your books are great

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  6. The pieces of Indian culture and history you put into you Tempe Crabtree books is always interesting. Too much would take away from the story, but you speckle in just enough to interest readers. I also learn something about the American Indian background with each book.

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    1. Thank you,Linda,it is always great to hear when someone likes what you've done.

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  7. There are some things in books involving Indians that have benefited me as well as the characters. Patience is #1 on the list. : ) Thank you so much for sharing, Marilyn!
    Marja McGraw

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    1. Thank you, Marja. Patience is something we all need more of.

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  8. I enjoyed your post since I, too, have a protagonist who is part Native American (Mescalero Apache). Living just down the road from the reservation and working and socializing with so many members of the tribe over the years has helped me craft a character who, like yours, is learning more about her heritage as time goes on. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Enjoyable commentary. I get asked fairly often how I make my character Al Victor, San Carlos Apache Policeman so realistic. I grew up on the boundary of the reservation with Apache classmates and friends. But mostly Al's habits, opinions, and characteristics come from two friends one a highway pratrolman and the other a man I worked everyday with for fifteen years. I also have to do a lot of research to make sure their opinions are supportable. There is a responsibility to treat Indian history and culture with respect while still mantaining realistic balance. I like the way you handle Tempe's situation.

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