A Conversation With: Marilyn Meredith

February 12, 2012

Marilyn Meredith

When I met Marilyn a few years back, it was instant “like.” And over time I’ve come to admire and respect her on many levels—not just because she’s a super writer, forward thinking promotions guru, and helping friend to fellow authors. So, I’m very pleased to be talking to Marilyn today. (I know I’m gushing, but I’ve followed Marilyn’s lead on so many fronts—I just can’t help it!)

Marilyn, I’ve made a fresh pot of Chai tea, and can’t wait to “grill” you. But first a quickie question, what does “F” stand for in your other writing name, F.M. Meredith?

 Oh, that’s better kept secret, but it is my first name, Marilyn is my second.

So the mystery writer will remain a woman of mystery! I know I’m usually asking authors about elements of mystery writing, but I noticed on your website you’ve been the Editor of the California Residential Services Association monthly newsletter for eighteen years! (The Association for Administrators of State-Licensed Residential Care Facilities for Youth, Adults and the Elderly.) How did you get involved with doing the organization’s newsletter, and what’s kept you doing it so long?

I suspect I should change that to 30 years. Hubby and I owned and operated a residential care home for 22 years (we shared our home with six developmentally disabled women), and during that time I served as president for CRSA and did their newsletter among other things—and when I retired I continued doing the newsletter.

Back in the fiction arena, you’ve written over 30 books! Some of which I have read, and a couple I’ve reviewed—mainly your recent books. I am, however, interested in knowing about your early writing days. What was your first book? And when you think back—with the publishing industry and writing conventions changing/evolving so much—have either of those factors, or your own desires and goals changed your writing style and subject matter focus over the span of your books?

Frankly, I really didn’t know what I was doing when I began writing to be published. That was back in the typewriter/carbon paper days. I learned along the way thanks to books, writing conferences and a wonderful critique group. My first book was an historical family saga based on my own family’s genealogy.

Everything has changed—the publishing industry, writing conventions, etc. Right now I’m concentrating on mysteries and writing two series—which means two books a year. My writing has changed hopefully for the best.

As you know, I’ve followed your lead often when it comes to promotions. The latest being our Christmas Mystery We Write Blog Tour organized by Anne K. Albert. However, I’ve yet to jump into “trailer” production—which you have. What is that experience like? And do you think they’re a good tool?

I like book trailers. Someone else did all mine for me—I have so little time I just don’t want to learn how to do something else. Whether they actually sell books, I have no idea. I think they are just something else to use to perhaps pique someone’s interest in what you’ve written.

On a more personal level, you have a great picture of you and Hap[i] on your blog. Some pictures “talk” to me, and it’s one that does. Is there an event or story behind that picture? I’d love to know more…

I believe you’re referring to our wedding photo. We were in Cambridge, Maryland where we got married all those many years ago.

I love these pictures, and thanks for letting me show them here.

Before you go, wanted to ask you about an organization I know is near-and-dear to your heart—PSWA. I’ve been to three of the PSWA conferences in Vegas, and it is my favorite—it’s a great group! Clearly you (and others!!) are very dedicated to having a successful organization and conference. Everyone can see you put a lot of time, effort, and enthusiasm into PSWA events. My question is, what drives you to give so much to this particular group? Why is PSWA so special to you?

I joined the group when it was called The Police Writers Club. At the time I was the only non-police person or associated with police who was a member. Something unforeseen happened and the club disappeared for awhile. A small group of former members gathered together to resurrect it and it rose from the dead as the Public Safety Writers Association. This same group now serves as the board of directors with one addition.

My main reason for joining in the first place was to gain knowledge about people in law enforcement since I was writing about them. I have a soft spot in my heart for these folks for several reasons, but mainly because I have many relatives who once were in law enforcement or are now. I’ve been the program chairperson since the reorganization.  Our first conference had 12 people attending, and we had a great time. Each year the conference has grown and last year we came close to 50 attendees. I hope we’ll do as well this year.

Because the conference is small, everyone has the opportunity to meet everyone else. It’s the perfect place for mystery writers to network with professionals in all the public safety fields from FBI to fire-fighters. Check it out at http://www.policewriter.com/

And for me, attending gives me the same feeling as attending a family reunion.

Wrapping up, Marilyn, what’s on the horizon for you? More books I’m sure.

Bears With Us

This will tell you how busy I am. My latest book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series is Bears With Us. I just signed a contract for the next in the series, Raging Waters that should be out sometime in the fall. I am plotting the next one.

The latest book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series No Bells should be out in March. This one focuses on Gordon Butler, a favorite of many of the fans of this series. My big promotion for it is a blog tour I’ve planned for April. I’m reading the next one in line to my critique group, once they’ve given me their fixes, I’ll go over it again carefully to make sure everything is consistent before I send it off to my publisher.

And all the time I continue to promote. I also like to help other writers and I often have guest posts on my blog http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/ and reviews.

Hope I wasn’t too long winded, Madeline. I do appreciate you hosting me today on your blog. Looking forward to seeing you in person soon.

Thank you, Marilyn, can’t wait for Raging Waters and No Bells! As always, you’ve been very  generous with your time.

[i] Marilyn’s husband of 60 years. CONGRATULATIONS!


35 Responses to “A Conversation With: Marilyn Meredith”

  1. I’m very late in chiming in, but I truly enjoyed this interview. I also enjoyed the photos. : ) I don’t know how you do all that you do, but I admire you for it. And, of course, I love your books.

  2. I think you’re right, Terry. Too many of my friends (the one who are my age) have retired to their recliner in front of the TV. Certainly not all of them though, I’ve got a bunch still doing all the things they love.

  3. terrylinden said

    So encouraging that Marilyn is still active after all those years. It’s that that’s keeping her so young.

    Sharon Goldstein
    Sharon Sings and Writes

  4. Hey, Barbara, I know you’re a fan of my Rocky Bluff P.D. Makes it worthwhile to keep writing about these guys and their families.

  5. I love that photo of you and Hap. You know I’m a fan. Can’t wait for the next Rocky Bluff book to be out!

  6. Hi, Madison. I think it was much harder to get published back in the day then it is now. There are so many other ways to go, self-pubbing with Amazon, using one of the other online presses to publish, or like me, finding good small presses.

  7. Impressive career, too bad it’s so hard these days. It’s great that your were blessed with a wonderful husband and have enjoyed each others company for so many years.

  8. Hey, Earl, it is hard to believe I was that young, but inside I still feel like that at times.

    And Madeline, I’ve had a lovely time today reading all these wonderful things people had to say about me. At the same time my publisher was sending me mistakes she’d found in my book, so it helped me to keep from getting a big head.

  9. mmgornell said

    Oh, Marilyn, what a wonderful response you’ve had today! And what a pleasure “conversing” with you!

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to visit today! Looking forward to tomorrow.


  10. A wonderful interview, Marilyn. You revealed a lot of yourself in your typical charming manner. Loved that wedding picture of you and Hal. Gawd! Was anyone ever that young?

  11. I was gone this morning, first taught Sunday School, then went to church. Had ice cream and cake with church members to celebrate the 95th birthday of one of our members. Then took pastor and his wife (son-in-law and daughter) out to lunch. When I got back I had all these wonderful comments to read and answer. Thank you so much everyone.

  12. Ah, Cindy, thank you so much. I’m looking forward to seeing you at Left Coast Crime.

  13. Ah, Lois, we go way back, don’t we? You were one of the first fans of my books–and you’ve been a friend for a long, long time. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Thank you kindly, Monti!

  15. Michelle is exactly right, PSWA is open to all kinds of writers. We’d love to have you. And you can find the rules for the contest on the PSWA website. Thanks for stopping by Michelle.

  16. The copy of No Bells you have has lots of mistakes, Cheryl. You can get the gist, but I’ll have to see that you get a corrected PDF.
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. (Wish you could come to PSWA one of these days.)

  17. One of these days I might have a contest to guess what my first name is. Tee hee!

  18. Thank you so much, Radine. Seasoned is a good word for how we look now.

  19. Hi, Sandra. Actually Madeline and I have had some face-to-face conversations where we had just as much fun. Thanks you so much for taking the time to read this.

  20. Really nice interview. Kudos to both interviewer and interviewee. You sound like you’re chatting over that pot of tea you brewed in the intro. It’s nice to see such a human face behind the books and to have reaffirmed that nice people don’t always finish last.

  21. Shucks, you and Hap are both much better looking now–not that you weren’t beautiful people way back when, but I think people with some seasoning are best!

  22. I want to know your first name now. I’m thinking Francesca? Francis? Farrah? Fiona? Fay? Freida? Freidrica? Faith? Fawn? Felicia? Fannie? Fallan?

    I see why you’re such a great writer–you DO know how to hook a reader!!!!!

  23. ccgevry said

    Excellent interview, ladies. I love the pictures of Marilyn and Hap together. I wish I lived closer so I could visit Marilyn and perhaps attend the PSWA conference. I’ve considered going in the past, but somehow I don’t think the hubby would appreciate taking care of the girls all by himself.

    Wishing you both the best. I have my copy of No Bells and will be reading it soon!

  24. Michelle said

    Marilyn is an inspiration to so many (both personally and professionally). Being the “one addition” on the PSWA Board, I can’t say enough about her (and everyone’s) dedication to the organization. It’s a great place for dreaming, budding and blossomed authors in many genres. Although focused on public safety, PSWA opens its arms to many (do you have a cop in your historical novel? Did an ambulance pass by the house in your romance? If so, join us 🙂 And don’t forget to enter the contest like Madeline has and, like her, become an “Award Winning” author. Great interview. I love both these ladies.

  25. monti7 said

    That smile hasn’t changed one bit, Marilyn. Congratulations!!!

    Mary Montague Sikes

  26. Lois Zanyk said

    Great wedding pictures. Marlyn I think I have every book that you
    have had published. starting with Trail to Glory ( my all time favorite)
    and two ways west.(another great) Just keep up great work.

  27. A terrific interview as always. Marilyn, you are my idol. An energizer bunny with a wonderful gift for words. I love your books. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on 60 years of wedded bliss.

  28. Hi, Gayle, it’s bound to happen sometime, but I still want to know what’s going to happen to Tempe and Hutch in the Tempe Crabtree series, and I have lots of characters’ lives to tamper with in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

  29. Marilyn, You have an incredible number of books covering several impressive series characters. Do you sometimes feel it is time to end a series and go to another one so you don’t burn out your character? And have you ever wanted to start a new series because another strong voice and interesting plots are singing in your ear?

  30. Morgan, that was back in the day when you weren’t really dressed up unless you wore a hat. The dress was a beautiful jewel tone blue velvet and cocktail length. (which means about mid calf.)

    Thanks for the kind comments, Colleen.

  31. Love your wedding picture. It’s adorable!

    Morgan Mandel

  32. Marilyn writes in a bright and snappy style that is easy to read. She leaves a little question mark around every corner that make me want to keep turning the pages. It’s nice to read a little about her background, because you can feel sincere concern for others in her characters. Learning a little about Marilyn the person explains how she is able to write those feelings.
    Thanks, Madeline!

  33. Oh, my goodness, thank you Beth. I don’t feel like a bundle of dynamite, but I do have fun doing what I do. I learned long ago to give up the things I don’t get pleasure from.

    Oh, Mike, you are a sweetheart. Thanks for stopping by. And what are you doing up so early?

  34. I’m a fan of Marilyn’s also. What a bundle of dynamite! Just reading her schedule wears me out. 😉

  35. Hap and Marilyn look as happy after 60 years of marriage as they did they day it started. That’s even better than her books, which are great.


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