Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Visit with Marilyn Meredith

This post is a visit with my friend, prolific mystery author Marilyn Meredith. Marilyn has a lot to say about writing in general (where plots come from, for example), and she has a lot to tell us about Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her mountain community of Bear Creek. Marilyn Meredith has a great sense of place! And as she well knows, the most intriguing feature of any place, factual or fictitious, is its people.

So take a moment and get to know Marilyn Meredith. And if you haven’t already read her books, get busy! She has a new one out now, set in Bear Creek and featuring Deputy Tempe Crabtree.

Marilyn, I’ll turn this over to you…

Revisiting Deputy Tempe Crabtree

People often ask, “How can you keep writing about the same characters?” They are referring to the characters who inhabit the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, and I have an easy answer.

Tempe, her husband, Pastor Hutch and all the people who live in the mountain community of Bear Creek are real to me. When I finish writing one book about them I begin wondering what is going to happen to them next. And the only way to find that out is to revisit them by writing the next book.

Before I begin, I often think about what was going on the last time I visited. What time of year it was and if there was anything happening that I need to find out more about. As I’m putting my mind back into Bear Creek I begin to see the town as it is with the CafĂ©, the Inn, the Fire Station, the trailer park and the cluster of low rent houses. Hutch’s church is located a bit farther up the highway.

Because life is a serious of dilemmas (at least mine seems to be) I wonder what crisis may hit Bear Creek and some of the people who live there.

Often my story telling is influenced by events that really happened to people I know. Because we had what I thought were two suspicious deaths a few years back—two friends who were found dead in their respective homes on the same morning that were determined to be from natural causes with no investigation at all—I decided Tempe should get involved in something similar.

Weather is often an important element in the mountains and since this story began to evolve a couple of weeks after Christmas, I knew an unrelenting rainstorm would not only complicate the murder investigation but also the lives of everyone living in and around Bear Creek as the river began to flood.

A non-writer may not be able to understand how exciting it is to have all the parts of a new story begin to fill your mind and then the pages of the manuscript. When I’m writing about Tempe and everyone in Bear Creek, I feel like I’m home and among friends—except for the bad guy, whoever that might be.

Want to know more about Marilyn's community of Bear Creek? Check this out!

A bit about the latest, Raging Water: Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s investigation of the murder of two close friends is complicated when relentless rain turns Bear Creek into a raging river. Homes are inundated and a mud slide blocks the only road out of Bear Creek stranding many—including the murderer.

Contest: The person who leaves comments on the most blogs will have his/her name used for a character in my next book—can choose if you want it in a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery or a Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel.

And now, meet the author!

Bio: Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award-winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Raging Water from Mundania Press. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel is No Bells, the fourth from Oak Tree Press. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and follow her blog at

I know there are some people who like to read a series in order, but let me reassure you that every book is complete. Though the characters grow through each book, the crime is always solved. Here is the order of the books for anyone who wants to know: Deadly Trail, Deadly Omen, Unequally Yoked, Intervention, Wing Beat, Calling the Dead, Judgment Fire, Kindred Spirits, Dispel the Mist, Invisible Path, Bears With Us, Raging Water.


  1. Marilyn, so glad seeing you visiting with John! Loving following you around on your blog tour. Reading Raging Water and really enjoying!

  2. It's great to read how you use the seemingly mundane to create your storylines. Weather, local news and our rich personal lives are great bases for fiction! Nice interview.

  3. Thank you, John, for hosting me today.

    And Madeline, thanks for traipsing along with me as I'm on this winding trail along the Internet.

    Theresa, I'm so glad to stopped by.

  4. Thanks for the interview, John. I am always inspired by how prolific Marilyn is. Too be able to write so consistently, and so well, is truly a gift.

  5. Yes I am one of your biggest fans. Always find your creativeness amazing. Thank you for another Blog.

  6. Another great stop along the tour trail. Loved this book, Marilyn, and look forward to many new adventures in Bear Creek.

  7. Thank you, Marilyn, for spending time on my blog today. In fact, your post will be up all week, so plenty of people will have the pleasure of meeting you. And thanks to all of you who have dropped by and said Howdy. I appreciate your support and I'm sure Marilyn does too.

  8. I agree. .We always believe our characters are real people, and we're always curious about what they're up to next.

  9. I've been gone all day and could hardly wait to come back and see who visited.
    William, thanks for the nice words--I love writing and I love my characters. Oh, Jake, it's always so nice when you turn up. Cheryl, you are such a sweetheart and so supportive. And of course, my dear friend Lorna who shares my birthday and so many of my beliefs. Thanks for stopping by everyone!

  10. I'm so glad to learn about Marilyn and all her books. A true inspiration. Thanks for hosting her, John.

  11. Hi Marilyn, I know what you mean about the characters coming alive in your head. Much for fun than real life! I fall in love with my characters and can't wait to get back to the story.