Monday, April 23, 2012

Marilyn Meredith Writes About The Joy of Story

Note: I am pleased to introduce my esteemed writing colleague F.M. (Marilyn) Meredith, a prolific mystery author who hails from California’s Central Coast. She is on tour, and I’m delighted to give her this vaudeville stage so she can tell us what she thinks about writing in general, and she can tell us about her new book, No Bells. It sounds good, and I plan to read it.

Someone who writes might say they are a writer or an author; in my case, I think of myself as a story-teller.

When I read other people’s books—and I read lots—I’m always surprised about how different each one is. Some authors are able to write the most wonderful sentences with words I’d never use. Others have obviously spent months, maybe even years, doing the research to make their novel’s subject as authentic as possible. Some books have the most quirky characters who do and say things I’ve never seen or heard in real life.

I write reviews for other people’s books and if I think the author’s prose is lyrical or magical, I say so. Sometimes the writing surpasses the story idea, but that seldom matters in the enjoyment of the read. A character may be so enchanting or odd I want to keep reading about him or her.

I’m afraid I’m not one of those writers. Sure, I research what I need to for the plot. When I’m writing though, I’m concentrating on the story. Because I’m writing a series, one that has been around for a while, I’m telling the story about characters that I know well, because they live inside my head. The story-telling itself comes from the characters.

Because I know what’s been going on with these folks for a long time, I’m privy to their hopes and fears, their ongoing problems, their goals, and their personality quirks. Frankly, I know these people better than my own family or friends, because I know what they are thinking. (Even after being married to my hubby for 60 years, most of the time I have no clue about what he’s thinking.)

Before I begin writing, I plan what new dilemmas and mysteries the inhabitants of the fictional setting will be face. And sometimes all that planning is for nothing, because when I begin writing, the characters may decide to go in a whole new direction. That’s fun, and in my case, is the joy of story and the joy of writing the story.

No Bells is the latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series.

Officer Gordon Butler has finally found the love he’s been seeking for a long time, but there’s one big problem—she’s the major suspect in a murder case.

F.M. Meredith (left) with Bonnie Hearn Hill
at Bouchercon

F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels—and a few that will never see print. Her latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, from Oak Tree Press, is No Bells. Rocky Bluff  is a fictional beach community between Ventura and Santa Barbara and F. M. once lived in a similar beach area.

F. M. (Marilyn) is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves as the program chair for the Public Safety Writers of America’s writing conference. She’s been an instructor at many writing conferences.

CONTEST: The person who comments on the most blogs on my tour will win three books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series: No Sanctuary, An Axe to Grind, and Angel Lost. Be sure and leave your email too, so I can contact you.


  1. Hi, John, thanks for hosting me today. I think I've enjoyed this tour more than anyone. It's been a surprise to read what I wrote so long ago (typos and all) and what photo I chose to send along.


  2. "I think of myself as a story-teller." As one of your readers you receive a ten as a story-teller. Thank you both for another interesting blog. Know it takes time from your writing however I appreciate insights.

  3. Hi John, thanks for hosting us with Marilyn! Hello Marilyn, another interesting post. I love that you consider yourself a storyteller, I think that is a fabulous way to describe good writing! Please enter me in the contest at scrapgirl1467 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

    Thanks and have a great day,

  4. Hi, Maureen, you are so faithful. Hope all is will.

  5. Oh, my goodness, my fingers are not working well, I hope all is WELL not will.

  6. Thank you for the platform, John. Nice insight into how you work, Marilyn. I so enjoyed meeting you at LCC and wish we would have had more time to talk. Maybe at the next convention...?


  7. Great post, Marilyn. Your energy level to do two blog tours at the same time is impressive and inspirational. As for not knowing what your hubby is thinking...that could be a blessing because I often know what mine is's scary! ;-) (Can't wait to read No Bells when it's in ebook format.)

  8. Thanks John and Marilyn. The longevity you describe in both relationships with your husband and characters is inspiring.

  9. Hi, Marta, there never is enough time to do all that you'd like to do at a convention. It was nice to meet you too.

    Oh, Anne, my energy is not never ending. I get up early and work until I'm too tired to do anymore.

    Hi, Theresa, well, in my family we just never give up on anyone.

  10. Very enjoyable article. Thanks, Marilyn and John

  11. I think storytellers may be the greatest talent of all, Marilyn...

  12. I enjoyed the article, Marilyn, and wonder how you manage two tours at the same time, or two series, for that matter.

  13. Hi, Jackie, thanks for popping by.

    Jenny, thank you, since I'm definitely a story teller.

    Jean, neither is easy. And I won't even mention all the other things I have/need to do.

  14. I loved learning about Marilyn aka F.M., John. Thanks for this interview and for another take on the joy of story.

  15. Marilyn thank you for clarifying that we are not just writers, but we are storytellers in an unique forum. The interview I really enjoyed (I hope you don't mind) and you're so cute. Thanks John for bringing Marilyn to the forefront.

  16. Marilyn, Your posts are always fun to read. Isn't it amazing how close we become to our characters? You're right, we really do know them better than our own families.

  17. Thanks to all of you who have commented on Marilyn's guest blog here. I agree with you all: Marilyn has so much to say, and says it so clearly and entertainingly.
    Marilyn, thanks for being with me this week. I join all your other friends and fans as I cheer you on. I look forward to reading NO BELLS, because I know it will be a winner.

  18. Eileen, I'm glad to meet you.

    Aguie, you made me laugh--and thanks for calling me cute.

    Marja, always a pleasure to hear from you.

    Once again, John, thanks for hosting me on your great blog and thanks for the boost for No Bells.