NiFtY Author: Marilyn Meredith

Whoo-hoo! First NiFtY (Not Famous…Yet) Author Interview of 2011! Meet Marilyn Meredith, author of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries and the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series.

BH: Tell us a little about your latest book, Invisible Path.

MM: The official blurb is: The only suspect in the murder of a popular Native American is another Indian with the unlikely name of Jesus Running Bear. Once again, because of her own Indian heritage, Deputy Tempe Crabtree helps with the investigation which also leads to the discovery of hidden militia group’s camp deep in the forest. Following the killer’s trail, puts Tempe and Jesus in jeopardy. Besides being a mystery it is also about many forms of prejudice.

BH:  You write  two mystery series – are both series current, and if so, is it ever a challenge to keep the characters straight as you’re writing?

MM: In the Tempe Crabtree series, most of the story is told in close third person though the eyes, thoughts and feeling of Tempe, though in Invisible Path, the first chapter is told through Jesus Running Bear’s point-of view.

In the Rocky Bluff P.D. crimes series, though the story focuses on one or two members of the RBPD, we learn what’s going on through many others.

A new book in the RBPD series comes out in the beginning of the year and a new book in the Tempe series always comes out in the fall.

The settings for both are quite different. Tempe lives and works in the mountains, Rocky Bluff is situated in a beach community in Southern California.

BH: Tempe Crabtree sounds like a fascinating personality. Where did you get the inspiration for her character?

MM: Tempe came from three women I met over a short period of time. The first was a resident deputy working the area where I live. I interviewed her for a personality piece for the newspaper. A female police officer I did a ride-along with was the second. She was a single mom and the only woman on that department. From about 3 a.m. until 6 a.m. she had no calls and she poured her heart out to me. The third was a beautiful Indian woman I spent a couple of hours with who had grown up on the nearby reservation. Together, these women became Tempe Crabtree.

BH: Which of your characters would you say is the most like you?

MM: Since I’m a great-grandmother and never been in law enforcement none are really like me. About the only personality traits of my main female characters I can claim is independence, loyalty and a certain amount of stubbornness.

BH: This might seem like a silly question, but I’m honestly curious: why are your Deputy Tempe books written under the name Marilyn Meredith, and your Rocky Bluff books written as F. M. Meredith?

MM: Of course Marilyn Meredith is my real name. When I first started writing the Rocky Bluff series which is often from a male point-of-view, I thought using my first initials might make male readers read the books more readily. However, the first publisher of the series put my photo on the back of the book and ruined the illusion. Since I began that way, I’ve just kept it up.

BH: Tell us about your path to publication.

MM:  It was a rocky path full of pit holes and blocked by boulders. My first book, an historical family saga, was rejected nearly thirty times before it was accepted. (Believe me, I rewrote it several times between rejections.) From there it was one thing after another. To make a long story shorter, I’ve dealt with a couple of crooked publishers, had two publishers die, one decided not to be in the business any longer, five different agents who were unable to sell my books, and finally I started looking for publishers on my own.

BH: That is a rocky path! Do you have a set writing schedule?

MM: I write in the morning, that’s when my brain works the best. I think about whatever I’m writing off and on during the day. I usually do editing and promoting in the afternoon and evenings.

BH: What is your favorite book on the craft of writing?

MM: I’ve had many over the years, but the one that I enjoyed the most was Stephen King’s On Writing.

BH: Any words on advice to aspiring writers for keeping the hope alive?

MM: Don’t ever give up. Go to writing conferences, read books on writing, join a critique group, and most of all write, write, write.

BH: Thank you, Marilyn, for answering our questions and giving us some insights into your writing life!

If you’d like more information on Marilyn Meredith and her books, you can visit her website here, and her blog here. Here’s a link for her latest book, Invisible Path.


  1. Marilyn Meredith · January 7, 2011

    Thanks for having me today, Beth. I have to go to town, but when I come back I’ll answer any questions anyone has left for me.


    • bethhull · January 7, 2011

      Marilyn, it was nice to have you here! Thank you!

  2. Laura Rucker · January 7, 2011

    Wow! That’s a lot of rejection letters. I haven’t read any of the tempe crabtree books but my mother and I love crime mystery series… I’ll get some of them. Interesting knowing where you draw your main character’s traits from.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Marilyn Meredith · January 7, 2011

      Thanks for reading the interview, Laura. I hope you do get a chance to read some of my Tempe mysteries.

  3. Mary Bird · January 7, 2011

    I love this interview format. Now I have a new book series to look into!

  4. Marilyn Meredith · January 7, 2011

    Hi, Mary, thanks for reading the interview and commenting.


  5. Cindy Sample · January 7, 2011

    Marilyn, you may have had a rocky path, but you are a rock star among mystery writers. Great interview!

  6. Judy C · January 7, 2011

    Marilyn, Interesting interview. Persistence always pays. I love books set in the Southwest.

  7. mmgornell · January 8, 2011

    Good interview! Everything Marilyn says about writing is always on the mark! She is truly an inspiration not only for creativity, but for hard work, discipline, and persistence. Whenever I need a psychological “kick in the butt,” I think about Marilyn to get going again. Love the picture of your work area…


  8. Marilyn Meredith · January 8, 2011

    Oh, Cindy, thank you.

    And Judy , thanks for commenting.

  9. Linda Card · January 8, 2011

    Nice interview Marilyn. I think you are a lot more like your characters than you realize. 🙂

  10. Junie Mattice · January 8, 2011

    Great interview, I admire your determination and motivation, love and peace…

  11. Marilyn Meredith · January 9, 2011

    Thanks for commenting Linda and Junie.


  12. Beth Hull · January 9, 2011

    Thank you everyone for sharing your comments and thoughts! Be sure to visit Marilyn’s website to check out her books, if you haven’t already done so!

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