Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Prolific Author Marilyn Meredith

Katie: I’m pleased to host prolific writer, Marilyn Meredith, on my blog today. Marilyn is the author of over twenty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Dispel the Mist from Mundania Press. She is a member of EPIC, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She was an instructor for Writer’s Digest School for ten years, served as an instructor at the Maui Writer’s Retreat and many other writer’s conferences. She makes her home in Springville CA, much like Bear Creek where Deputy Tempe Crabtree lives.

Katie: Please give us an overview of your latest release, Dispel the Mist.

Marilyn: Be glad to. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is asked to officially help in the investigation of the suspicious death of a popular county supervisor with ties to both the Indian and the Mexican communities. It soon becomes apparent that several people wanted the supervisor at least put out of commission including her husband and a prominent citizen who opposed the opening of a residential care home in his neighborhood. During her investigation Tempe has troubling and perhaps prophetic dreams about the legendary figure, the Hairy Man. A late night visit to the reservation puts Tempe in life-threatening danger.

Katie: You’ve had a very successful writing career, to put it mildly. Did you start out writing mysteries and novels?

Marilyn: When I was a child through my teen years, I wrote stories and plays. I took time out to raise five children. When I began writing seriously, I wrote two historical family sagas based on my own family's genealogy. Next came my first mystery.

Katie: How did you morph from being a writer to being an instructor? Was it a natural progression for you?

Marilyn: My main occupation is writing. I enjoyed my ten years as an instructor for Writers Digest and probably learned as much as my students. I still enjoy teaching new writers and will do it any chance I get. I've had a lot of help along the way from established writers myself.

Katie: Twenty-five novels is a very respectable figure. Where did you find your inspiration for these works?

Marilyn: You know I'm not really sure it's twenty-five, I think it's probably more but I've never bothered to count. Ideas just seem to come. Sometimes it's people who give me the ideas. My heroine Tempe Crabtree evolved from three women, a female police officer who was the only woman on the department, a female resident deputy that I intereviewed for a newspaper profile peice, and a Native American woman that I met. Other folks I've along the way have inspired villians and victims. With my latest book, Dispel the Mist, I visited the Painted Rock on the Tule River Indian Reservation, a truly mystical place, and I saw the pictograph of the Hairy Man and I knew that I had to write about him. The Hairy Man is similar to Big Foot, but this is the only pictograph of such a creature in California.

Katie: Were all of your novels agented? If so, how did you find an agent, and do you work with more than one?

Marilyn: Though I've had several agents I'm the one who found all my publishers.

Katie: Tell us how you came to write the award-winning Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Did you conceive of it being a series when you first began writing the first book?

Marilyn: The Tempe Crabtree series actually began as a Christian horror. Then I wrote a second novel about Tempe and she began changing. By the time I wrote the third, Tempe had become the woman she is in the rest of the series--and I changed the heroine and the setting in the first two novels. Tempe now lives inside my head and I know more about her and how she thinks than any of my relatives or friends. While I'm writing one book I often have ideas coming to me about the next book I should write.

Katie: What three pieces of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Marilyn: First, read the kind of books that you want to write. Go to some writing conferences and learn as much as you can about the craft of writing. Join a writing critique group. Write, write, write and never give up. My first book was rejected nearly 30 times and I kept rewriting it and it was finally accepted.

Katie: Thanks for being my guest today, Marilyn. You can find out more about Marilyn at and


Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

Hi Marilyn, nice to read more about you. Great interview, Katie.

Marilyn, I have to say I giggled when I read that although you had agents you found the publishers. Hmm...agents get a cut on that? GRIN

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Very inspiring interview, Katie. Marilyn, you're awesome!

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

It was fun being here. Thank you so much for having me.

Lea, I had gotten rid of the agents by the time I found my publishers.


J D Webb said...

Hey, Marilyn. You're a great inspiration to many and a gentile friend to authors. And you do a great job of teaching the craft. Wishing you continued success and many more books.

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz said...

Great interview Katie and Marilyn. I recently had the pleasure of having Marilyn as my guest on my blog. I agree she is a very talented writer.