Monday, December 5, 2011

Marilyn Meredith

F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of nearly thirty published novels. Her latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, from Oak Tree Press, is Angel Lost. She’s also been an instructor at many writers conferences including the Central Coast Writers Conference and the Maui Writers Retreat. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Internet chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and her blog at
Marilyn Meredith has stopped by for cookies and milk. Welcome, Marilyn.
Tell us something about yourself that readers might be surprised to learn.
Thanks! I write two series—which means writing two books a year. Besides the time it takes, I have to adjust my thinking depending upon which book I’m writing.

How many books have you written?

I haven’t bothered to count the exactly number, I only know over thirty have been published, and there are a few that will never see the light of day.

Tell us about your latest release, Angel Lost, from Oak Tree Press.
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 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?
Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?
Yes. And I might add, though this is a series and many characters continue through each book, I write them so they can stand-alone. The crime is solved, whatever has been going on will be taken care of by the end.
What are some of the problems you faced while plotting a series with ongoing characters?
It is really important for me to keep track of names of new characters (I tend to change them in mid-book) and their characteristics. I have more trouble with the names then what they look like, I am able to “see’ the characters in my mind and usually can describe them without a problem. See the word usually? That means that I do make mistakes sometimes and I’m glad I have editors who are good at catching the mistakes. The worst one I did early in my career was in the middle of a book, changing the type of car a main character drove.
How do you choose your setting?                                                  

For my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, the setting is a small beach community between Ventura and Santa Barbara, California. This is a fictional town and I did this because I wanted to write about a small town police force without much money. The detectives solve most of their crimes by old-fashioned police work; studying the crime scenes, questioning suspects and witnesses, following up on clues. However, in this particular series, much attention is placed on what is happening with the officers’ families and how that affects them, and how what happens on the job affects the family. This is particularly prevalent in Angel Lost.
How does your environment color your writing?

For over twenty years we lived in a beach community and knew and interacted with many police officers and their families who lived in our neighborhood. I was friends with the wives, their kids played at our house and my kids played and in some cases babysat for theirs. I got to see first hand how the job affected the families. My son-in-law was a police officer in this particular town and he shared a lot of insight with me. The weather in Southern California is always interesting, there’s a lot of fog and fog adds a lot to a mystery.

We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?
Promoting takes a lot of my time because I know how important it is to let people know about your books. I do a lot of interviews like this, thank you, Susan, blog tours, promote on Facebook and Twitter and other social sites. I have a monthly newsletter that I send out to anyone who’d like to subscribe. All someone has to do is email me at and ask to subscribe.

As for in-person events, I love to give presentations at libraries, for writing groups, bookstores, social and service organizations. Book and craft fairs are also something I enjoy.

Can you tell us about current or future projects?
Next up in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series is No Bells. In this book, the spotlight is placed on Officer Gordon Butler. He’s been a favorite of my readers through the series. Things never go easy for Gordon, if something can go wrong, it will.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
My website is and my blog is


Anonymous said...

Two books a year - that's truly impressive! I need more time in my day.

William Doonan

Kristi said...

You are a machine.I am also impressed at how prolific you are. Great job. I wonder if you would consider writing about how you flesh out your characters, making them 3D and well rounded. I'm devouring everything I can on that subject right now.

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

Hi, William. It is truly a struggle to write two books a year--but I'm working away at it. I need to be two people.

Kristi, about my characters. With the Rocky Bluff P.D. books, there is a community of folks and I write from different one's POV depending upon who has the most at stake in a chapter. I do keep track of each person, not just description, but any character tags and what kind of cars they drive, on 3 X 5 cars and also notes I keep as I'm writing.

I really feel like my characters are real, and I know more about them then I do my family and friends--main because I know what my characters are thinking, and never am sure about the others.

Good question, Kristi.

Maria Edwards said...

Wonderful interview with Marilyn. Thanks for having her here Susan.
Marilyn take an active role in supporting other authors on many levels. Not only does she do lectures and seminars at the various writers conferences, she also does reviews and sits on the judging committee for various organizations. She is truly an dasset to the writing community and I feel blessed to know her.

Maria Edwards,president
American Authors Association

WS Gager said...

Marilyn: Great post. I thought for a minute you were going to do a tell all when you talked about your interaction with the police force. I'm thinking traffic tickets, arrests. I wasn't thinking babysitting. I have to get my mind out of crime!
W.S. Gager on Writing

Anonymous said...

This was an interesting and inspiring post! I am also so impressed at two books a year!!!!!


Anne K. Albert said...

I can relate to changing details mid way through a book, Marilyn. I've never been able to tell the difference between various makes of cars or trucks.

As a result I described a secondary character's vehicle at the beginning of one of my books, then changed it at the end to another manufacturer. Duh.

It really is in the details!

Rebecca Camarena said...

Hi Marilyn, great interview.

Jackie King said...

You're like the Energizer Bunny. You just keep on going, and producing wonderful books.

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

Maria, how nice of you to say those things. It's been awhile since we've communicated. Hope all is well with you.

Hi, Wendy, I have lots of stories to tell--hope I have time to tell them all.

Brenda, thank you. I have to work at it to get those two books a year done.

Anne, I always have to ask my husband to tell me the kind of car I think my character has--I'll say give me the name of some kind of sports car and what it looks like.

Thanks, Rebecca and Jackie for stopping by.

Marja McGraw said...

Good post, Marilyn. I love the fog, and dark and stormy nights because they add so much to the intensity of a scene. I also thoroughly enjoy your stories.

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

Hey, Marja, thanks for dropping by. Weather is always an important factor in my books. The Deputy Tempe Crabtree book I'm writing now has Tempe coping with flooding and then snow.

Anonymous said...

Marilyn, greetings from other OTP author. 30 books? I'll have to get going to catch up with you! Hope you have much success with your latest book.
Sally Carpenter
"The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper"

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

Hi, Sally. I've been at this a long while, adds up to a lot of books and my being old.