Marilyn Meredith is the author of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series as well as the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. In addition, she writes Christian Horror, edits, teaches and freelances. Welcome Marilyn!
There was an article about you on the Austin Writing Examiner website, about how you just keep getting better. When did you start your writing career, and what lead you to decide to be an author?
That comment about getting better made me laugh. I certainly hope I’m getting better and I always feel like my latest book is the best.
I’ve always written but didn’t start really pursuing a writing career until I was in my forties. Oh I was writing, but hadn’t started the submitting, getting rejected, resubmitting process until nearly all my kids were grown.
Being a reader is what really made me want to be a published writer.
Your current release, Dispel the Myth, is your eighth Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. This time, she enters the realm of supernatural through the Legend of the Hairy Man. Can you tell us a bit about this legend and how you came to hear of it?
Every Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery contains some supernatural elements and/or Indian legend. In the book prior to this one, Kindred Spirits, I did a lot of my research with a Tolowa woman in Crescent City. In that area stories about Big Foot encounters are many. While doing some online reserach about Big Foot I came across a website about the Hairy Man with legends and a photo of the pictograph that is in a rock shelter on the Indian reservation near my home. Of course I had to learn more.
I contacted the Anthropology Professor at Porterville College to ask questions and he invited me on a class field trip to the rock shelter. Of course I went–and I knew Tempe would have to go there too.
You also author the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, featuring Officer Stacy Wilbur. What are some of the differences between Deputy Crabtree and Officer Wilbur?
Tempe is Native American, fairly tall, dark haired, a deputy sheriff, has a grown son and is married to a preacher.
Stacey Wilbur is white, small, fair, a police officer and now a Vice Officer, isn’t married though she’s in a relationship with a detective, and has a little boy.
What’s the same with both women is they both were widowed after short marriages and they are strong and independent–though I think Tempe is the stronger of the two and she is also older.
Besides mysteries, you write books for the Christian horror market. What are some of the stereotypes about writing for the Christian market that you’d like to dispel?
I wrote three Christian horror–they are all three very scary–but there is a Christian message in all of them. I was never very successful with them because I guess the mainstream publishers were right, they were too Christian for their readers and the Christian publishers aid they were too scary for their readers. I found small publishers who liked the books despite the scary and Christian combination.
You keep an impressive appearance schedule, not to mention you blog, publish a newsletter, freelance write, edit a newsletter, do public speaking and teach. Your energy level puts me to shame. How do you fit in your writing?
It isn’t easy sometimes to fit in my writing. Like today, I should be editing my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. book and when that’s done I need to start another Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. And believe it or not, I do have a life. I do combine things though, I’m having a book signing at our next family reunion.
As one of the first authors to jump into ebook publishing, can you tell us if what the differences are from traditional print publishing?
When ebook publishing first began there were no e-readers like there are today, so it was slow going. The Rocket e-Reader was the first reader to come out, but it was bought by Sony who just recently came out with their own. Many of my books are available for all the versions of e-readers now available.
When the print-on-demand technology came about, nearly all the e-publishers started doing trade paperbacks of their e-books which is what Mundania Press does, the publisher of my Tempe Crabtree books.
The Rocky Bluff P.D. books are also trade paperback, and Oak Tree Press makes them available as e-books for the Kindle.
E-publishers are far more flexible than other publishers in that they are much more willing to publish a new writer, one that is older, and books that cross several genres. All they are looking for is a good book. There guidelines are always posted on their websites and it is really important that these guidelines are followed. They get lots of submissions and not following guidelines will probably mean a rejection.
Your web site list several writing classes that you offer to groups, libraries and schools. One class is Creating Fiction from your own Genealogy. Could you tell us what this is about?
My very first published books, Trail to Glory and Two Ways West were based on my own family’s genealogy. My sister did the genealogy and when I read it I had so many questions I decided to do some research and write a fiction book from what I learned. What fun! It meant researching the time and places where the family traveled, what might have made them move on, and everything else necessary to write a historical novel.
Once I was done with both sides of the family, I had to figure out what I was going to write next. Since I loved to read mysteries, I decided that’s what I should write.
Putting on your teacher’s hat, what is the one most valuable piece of advice you’d like to offer our readers?
If you are brand new to writing, learn all you can. Read the kind of books you want to write. Then sit in front of your computer and start writing. Write every day if possible. When you’re done get someone to edit your work. When the manuscript is as good as you can get it, start sending it out. Then, start the next book. Don’t let rejections stop you. See if there’s something you can learn from the rejection, rewrite it necessary, and keep sending the book out.
Finally, what’s next for you?
I’m cleaning up the next Rocky Bluff P.D. book which should come out sometime after the first of the year. Mundania has my next Tempe which is due next fall.
Marilyn can be reached at her website. You can also purchase a copy of Dispel the Mist by clicking on the bookcover to the left.