Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Marilyn Meredith, author of over forty books. She is the author of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series and writing as F. M. Meredith, the Rocky Bluff P.D. Series.
Marilyn has written in other genres as well, including historical family sagas and she has written romance with a touch of the supernatural, psychological horror, as well as a Christian horror. Marilyn has also has a chapter in the best seller, The Portable Writers' Conference from Quill Driver Press.
She is a member of Mystery Writers of American.
Norm: Good day Marilyn and thanks for participating in our interview.
Why do you write, how long have you been writing, and how long did it take you to get your first major book contract?
Marilyn: I write because I’m compelled to do so. I’ve been writing one thing or another since I was a kid. I’ve only had what one would call a major book contract the first time around—meaning a New York publisher.
I had a second similar book ready, but when I sent it in the editor who accepted the first one had left the publishing house, and her replacement wasn’t interested. From there I hopped around with various small, independent presses, and for the most part been happy.
Norm: What is the most difficult thing for you about being a writer?
Marilyn: The time it takes or promote. I’ve been really busy marketing Seldom Traveled. Participated in an 18 day blog tour in September, and have been busy giving presentations and attending book fairs and festivals. Though I’ve had fun doing it, it takes time away from my writing.
Norm: How many times in your career have you experienced rejection? How did they shape you?
Marilyn: Oh, my goodness, I didn’t keep track of how many rejections, but I’ve probably had close to a hundred counting all the various books I’ve peddled here and there. As far as how it shaped me, I just never gave up—if I had, I wouldn’t be published today. I definitely am someone who perseveres.
Norm: Are you a plot or character writer? As a follow up, could you describe your writing process and where do you get your ideas? Is your work improvisational or do you have a set plan?
Marilyn: I believe I’m a bit of both. I love creating new characters and when you write series like I do, you need new murder victims and suspects—and they need to be intriguing. When you write mysteries, of course I need to have an idea where the story is going to end up. However, I’m more on the improvisational side as though I write notes to myself as ideas come, I don’t do an outline.
Norm: What has been your greatest challenge (professionally) that you’ve overcome in getting to where you’re at today as an author?
Marilyn: I’ve had some major challenges with the biggest being two of my publishers died unexpectedly. Two of my publishers decided for various reasons not to continue with their business. I’ve had three publishers who weren’t honest—and that’s a mild statement. Despite all these complications and challenges, I’ve managed to find new publishers.
Norm: Why have you been drawn to writing mystery and crime novels? As a follow up, are there aesthetic advantages and disadvantages peculiar to these novels and do they have a particular form?
Marilyn: I love writing mystery and crime novels because in the worlds I’ve created the bad guys will always be caught—something that doesn’t always happen in the real world. I love creating a mystery that the reader can follow along, put the various clues together, and perhaps guess who the villain is—or not. As for a particular form, I don’t write to a formula, if that’s what you mean, but I always play fair with my readers.
Norm: What's the most difficult thing for you about being a writer?
Marilyn: Sometimes it’s wondering what I’ll write about next, but usually ideas begin spinning around in my head for the next book in a series—usually while I’m writing a book in the other series.
Norm: Many people have the skills and drive to write a book, but failure to market and sell the book the right way is probably what keep a lot of people from finding success. Can you give us 2-3 strategies that have been effective for you in promoting your book?
Marilyn: I would never tell anyone that I’m successful in the sense of becoming a best-selling author or making lots of money, but what I do have is a loyal group of fans.
If you want to sell books, you must tell people about the book. And there are many ways to do that. For me, I love Facebook. I interact with family,
friends and readers every day. I let them know what I’m doing in my everyday life as well as my writing life. I do use Twitter, but it’s mostly a once a day thing. I have a monthly newsletter which anyone can subscribe
to, they just need to let me know they want to subscribe.
Norm: Could you tell our audience something about your newest novel, Seldom Traveled, the latest in the Tempe Crabtree series?
Marilyn: This is the official blurb:
The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.
Tempe is a Native American (she calls herself an Indian) resident deputy of a small town and the surrounding community. Indian legends and mysticism often play a part in the stories.
I wrote this book long before we had all the forest fires here in California. This a rather eerie experience.
Norm: Which character in the books was the easiest to write? Most difficult?
Marilyn: Tempe is always the easiest because I know her so well. I know how she thinks and she seems as real to me as any of my relatives. In the particular book, the hardest was the person who turned out to be the killer. Mainly because I really didn’t want that person to be the one.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your books?
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.