Who are you and what do you write?
It all depends—sometimes I’m F. M. Meredith, the author of the Rocky Bluff P.D. series and I’m alsoMarilyn Meredithwho writes the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Obviously I’m writing mysteries right now, but in the past I’ve written historical family sagas, romance with a touch of the supernatural, psychological horror and Christian horror. ( I can see your eyes popping—those are really scary books with a Christian element.)
On the personal side I’ve been married forever to the cute sailor I met on a blind date. We raised five kids who now have kids and some with grandkids.
Where do you live? And what does your workspace look like?
We have lived all over the place, now we’re in the foothills of the Southern Sierra with beautiful views of theTuleRiverand the mountains surrounding us. Prior to that we lived inOxnardabout a mile from the beach. I use both places in my mystery series.
I’m fortunate to have an office with lots of storage space. Unfortunately, when I’m writing it tends to get messy—or at least that’s my excuse.
When do you generally write?
Morning are best for me creatively. I may do editing later on in the day. I do try to write every day except Sunday. While I’m promoting a book, though, I find more and more time taken away from my work-in-progress, but promotion is a big part of the writing life. After dinner, I’m not much good for anything except reading and watching TV—movies on DVD preferred.
How long have you written professionally?
Since doing anything professionally means getting paid for you work, I could say ever since I was a kid. I put out my own magazine and charged a nickel for it eons ago when I was in junior high. I did manage to sell a few articles to real magazines when I was raising my family. However, it was 1982 before I sold my first book to a publishing house—and this was after nearly 30 rejections. Since then, I’ve had about 30 books published—and many rejections for a lot of them in-between.
Do you have any suggestions as to what a writer should avoid? Any warnings?
Things are changing so fast in the publishing world. Not too long ago, I would have suggested not going the self-publishing route as it was too hard to get the word out about your book. This really isn’t true anymore with Amazon doing a publishing program as well as others.
Back when I began, I wish someone had given me a few warnings. I was published by two different presses that had great reviews—and then the owners turned out to be crooks. One took all the money that should have been paid to the writers as royalties and gambled it away inLas Vegas. Yes, he got arrested. The other one fled the country.
I did self-publish one books with an outfit that also had good marks—got my first set of books fine, never could get anymore, and of course, nary a royalty came my way.
Same thing happened with an e-publisher who also published great-looking trade paperbacks. Never saw a single royalty until I threw a fit and pulled my books.
Two of my publishers died—as a writing friends likes to say—Marilyn just steps over the bodies and finds someone new.
Right now I working with two small presses I really like, Mundania and Oak Tree.
Any cool stories about meeting other writers who have influenced or helped you?
I learned more from the writers in my critique group than I have from any writer’s conference or books, in particular Willma Gore who primarily wrote non-fiction for any number of magazines when she was active in our group.
Mary Higgins Clark I met twice, once at a small mystery writers conference, and many years later at an event during Edgars week inNew York. She is a lovely and most gracious lady. Jan Burke is another mystery writer who is always friendly. Spent a delightful couple of hours waiting in an airport with her and her husband once. William Kent Krueger is another one who is always easy to talk with. Dennis Lehane, who besides being a brilliant writer has a wry sense of humor which my husband and I were treated to while eating dinner in the only bar in the hotel.
I could go on and on because I’ve attended many mystery cons and when you go to a lot, even the famous writers begin to recognize you and act like you are one of their best buds.
What might be more fun is talking about the writers who are snobs. (Oh, no, I really won’t do that there.)
What is your latest book?
I have two because I write two books a year. The latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, Angel Lost, came out earlier this year.
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?
Invisible Path, Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, came out last fall.
Blurb: The murder of a popular Indian on the reservation, a suspect with the unlikely name of Jesus Running Bear, four friends of the victim who are out to avenge the death, a militia group with a secret agenda, lead Deputy Tempe Crabtree in a race to find the true killer before someone else dies.
Where can we learn more about you and your books?
My website is http://fictionforyou.com and my blog is http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com