Thursday, October 29, 2009

Author Interview with MARILYN MEREDITH

Marilyn Meredith is the author of two mystery series: the Deputy Tempe Crabtree and the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. In addition to her mystery endeavors, Marilyn also pens Christian horror novels. She is one of the first authors to embrace ePublishing and is also a writing teacher.

Your writing background is extensive: fiction in multiple genres, non-fiction, an 18-year stint as newsletter editor for The Association for Administrators of State-Licensed Residential Care Facilities for Youth, Adults and the Elderly, and as a writing teacher. When did you start writing, and why?

Like many authors I know, I began writing when I was a kid. I started by rewriting my favorite books including my own version of Little House on the Prairie. (Not the TV show, the book series.) I also wrote plays for the neighborhood kids to star in. During the summers, which seemed very long back then, putting on plays kept us all occupied. I also wrote and printed my own magazine which I sold for nickel to my friends. I won’t even go into how complicated that was in the days before all the many ways we have today. I wrote because that’s what I liked to do.

Your fiction endeavors include two different mystery series and Christian horror. Tell us what drew you to these genres and about the challenges/rewards of each.

My first two published books were historical family sagas based on my own family genealogy. After I finished both sides, which were ultimately published, I decided to write a mystery because that’s what I read all the time. The Christian horror came from my love of horror films. I always thought if only the heroines in those movies were Christians they’d have a better idea how to fight the devil or demons that confronted them. I wrote three--and then I was done. Amazingly, they continue to sell.

What do you like to read in your “spare” time?

Really, I’ll read most anything. Mysteries are my favorite, but if someone recommends a book or gives me one, I’ll read and enjoy it.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

Having to spend so much time on promotion and selling has become a bigger and bigger challenge. I spent two days at our little town’s Apple Festival which meant getting up at 5 a.m., setting up my booth by 8, and sitting there all day long, smiling and talking to strangers about my books. Fortunately, many buy and it’s a profitable two days, but wearing. I go to other book fests and craft fairs that are close enough to drive to, sometimes spending one or two nights. This year, as I’ve done for several years, the first weekend in November, I’ll be heading down to Temecula (about a 4-hour drive) to give a talk about novel writing at the Erle Stanley Gardner Mystery Weekend Writers Conference. I’ll be giving a talk about my latest book to the local Rotary Club, and I’m signed up for two days during December to sell books at the art gallery in the next town. I also go to several other writers’ conferences and mystery conferences each year. Though this can be a lot of fun, it takes time away from writing. Since I’m writing two series, which means two new books a year, I really need time to write.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

Dispel the Mist is my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. Tempe is a Native American deputy who is often called upon to help the violent crime detectives if a victim is an Indian or has ties to the local reservation. In Dispel the Mist, while investigating the unexpected death of a popular county supervisor with ties to the Hispanic and Indian communities, Tempe has an encounter with the local legend of the Hairy Man.

Published by Mundania Press, the book can be ordered from any bookstore or the publisher’s website:

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

I’m finishing up a Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel and beginning to plot the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. However, the RBPD series’, An Axe to Grind, is expected right after the first of the year. Next September, Invisible Path, is the next in the Crabtree series.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. Share with us 3 tips you can give to new writers.

Read the kind of books you’d like to write. Learn as much as you can about the craft of writing. Write every day. Rewrite. Let someone read it who knows something about editing. Join a critique group. Don’t let rejecting stop you. My first book was rejected nearly 30 times before it was finally accepted by a publishing company. If I’d known enough to learn more about writing first and had an editor, I’d have saved a lot of my time and money.

What writer’s organizations claim you as a member?

Mystery Writers of American, Three Sisters in Crime chapters, Public Safety Writers Association, and Writers of Kern.

You were one of the initial authors to embrace ePublishing. Tell us about that.

I found a publisher for my police procedurals in the Writers Market. The first book was accepted by an electronic publisher. I had no idea what that meant. Unfortunately, at that time it was a difficult procedure to pay for and download the book and a nightmare to promote. As time went on, the Rocket eReader was invented and many e-Publishers came on the scene. E-Publishers were far more receptive to new writers, writers who mixed genres, and shorter and longer lengths of manuscripts. I quickly moved onto other, more savvy e-Publishers. And as everyone knows, many new e-readers have popped up all over the place. My books are now available in many formats for e-readers, including the Kindle, as well as trade paperback.

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

If you really want to be a writer, you must write. Most of my published friends write on a regular basis. No profession is more supportive than the writing community--and people like Linda Faulkner, who are willing to take the time to do an interview like this with a fellow author. Thank you, Linda. I do want you to know though, even if I’d never been published I’m sure I’d still be writing. When stories are floating around in your head it is necessary to put them in writing.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):

My website is
My personal blog is
Every Tuesday, I blog at
And the first and third Tuesday, I’m at


  1. Again, thank you, Linda, for having me on your website today. I truly appreciate it.


  2. What a fascinating interview! (Christian horror--such a genius idea.)

    The battle to balance writng and promoting is one of those secrets no one tells you at the beginning! How do you make sure you get sleep and sustenance and have a real life(!) and still make writing the priority? I mean--writing has to be the priority,right? But it's so tempting to go to just one more event...and then one more...

    All the best to you both--you're both so inspirational in so many ways.

  3. Interesting interview, Marilyn. I especially like the advice to write. At a writers conference many years ago, a big-name agent (so big I can't even remember her name now) asked the group: If you knew you'd never be published, would you keep writing? Answering and re-answering that in the affirmative has helped me keep going in dry spells.

  4. It was my pleasure, Marilyn. So many writers think they have to follow The Rules. But God didn't send 10 writing rules down to us on a tablet, did he? (If so, I totally missed it...which may be my problem, eh?)

    Seriously, kudos to you and everyone else who has the courage to jump without a net and be truly creative.

  5. Michelle in TX10/29/2009 11:10 AM

    Good information, especially about the time it takes to promote.

  6. Marilyn has indeed been a pioneer in e-publishing, and I've been lucky enough to attend one of her presentations on the topic at PSWA (a good conference by the way). I think we're all very fortunate to have people like Marilyn who are living the "writing life" and willing to share that information with other authors. Informative and helpful interview.

  7. Marilyn - You are always you and that is what makes your interviews so wonderful. Great advice to new writers. Can't wait for your next one. Warmest best regards, Robert Fate

  8. Balancing everything is really a chore. I have a huge family--and I am not exaggerating. I do try to visit family AND promote when I can. Next up is the Erle Stanley Gardner Writers Workshop down in Temecula, I'm spending one night with a granddaughter and her family and the second night with a grandson and his family.


  9. Marilyn, every time I read a new interview with you I am impressed all over again. You promote circles around some of us, and still manage to get more writing, done, too. I don't believe you are just one person anymore - despite the fact that I have met you in person. I think you cloned yourself and the other Marilyn is doing all the promoting. Or is she doing the writing. :-)

  10. Great interview. I agree the writing community is wonderfully helpful!

  11. You could also play games in your spare time.

  12. Interesting interview, Marilyn. I didn't realize you got your publishing start in e-books. They've come a really long way in the past several years, so having your foot in that door is a good thing! Congratulations on the big family, so you can combine conferences with visits.