Marilyn Meredith Chases Spirit ShapesMarilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. She borrows a lot from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area, including the nearby Tule River Indian Reservation. She does like to remind everyone that she is writing fiction. 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 http://fictionforyou.com and follow her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid, but my first book wasn’t published until I was a grandmother. I’ve seen a lot of change in the way authors write and publish: from typewriters and carbon paper to computers and sending manuscripts in as attachments; querying my mail to email queries. Believe me the new ways are much easier.
Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
Because I write series mysteries, I know my main characters very well. Of course I always introduce new characters and yes, I plan a lot about them ahead of time, but as I write, they often change—even to the point of who I thought was the murderer was wrong, and it is someone else.
How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
For my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series I’ve done ride-alongs with law enforcement officers, examined a resident deputy’s truck and equipment, learned a lot about Indian legends, done some exploring on our local Indian reservation, and I always ask a lot of questions. Probably the coolest tidbit I’ve learned is about the Hairy Man, a Big Foot type creature who lives in the mountains on the reservation. I’ve seen pictographs of him, his wife, and child in a rock shelter.
Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer? Or Still do?
Yes, I consider myself a full-time writer—and I was even when I had my last job which was living in and running my licensed facility for developmentally disabled women—a job I loved, by the way. My residents went to a sheltered workshop all day and in-between doing laundry etc., I wrote. I’ve been around for a while and I was a telephone operator, and a teacher in a pre-school for developmentally disabled kids, a day-care center teacher, and a pre-school teacher for non-English speaking kids. (By the time the semester was over they all spoke English.) No matter what I was doing, I always found time to write.
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
First, I always start thinking about the story. What will Tempe be involved with—what kind of crime, how will it affect her and her husband. As ideas become clearer, I start jotting them down. I don’t outline, but I do make a lot of notes. Before I know everything, I start writing. As I write I jot down more notes about where I think the story is going, so it kind of a combination of plotting and going by the seat of my pants.
Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place.
I do most of my writing in the early morning hours at my computer in my office. Usually I have a cup of Chai latte, or will get one when I need to take a break.
Current Release Details:
In Spirit Shapes, ghost hunters discover a dead body in a haunted house. When Deputy Tempe Crabtree arrives on the scene she soon realizes the house not only is inhabited by ghosts but also evil spirits.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
To tell the truth, I never have true writer’s block. Sometimes I have a bit of trouble getting started, but I always have something that needs done, could be editing whatever I’ve written previously or perhaps some sort of promotion.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? How can readers find out more about you and your books?
I love to hear from readers. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and yes, I have a website where you can read about all my books and me: http://fictionforyou.com/. My blog is http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/ and I have guest authors, write about what I’m doing, give writing tips, and anything that I feel like writing about. I also have a monthly newsletter. If you’d like to subscribe, just email me and let me know. I’m also on Facebook under my name, Marilyn Meredith.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I adore my critique group and have belonged to the same one for years. I consider them my first editors. They write on copies of my chapter, tell me what I need to fix etc. I never defend anything, but take what they’ve done home and work on the chapter. Sometimes I do exactly what was suggested, other times I do something totally different, and once in a while, ignore what was said or written. Most of the time, they are spot on.
Contest: Two people who comment on this blog post will be chosen at random by Marilyn to receive a copy of Raging Water, the previous Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.
Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.