She’s Done it Again!

October 5, 2013

Welcome to Marilyn Meredith!

Yes, Marilyn’s done it again and written another great Deputy Tempe Crabtree novel, Spirit Shapes. As I’ve said in the past, Marilyn is a guiding light for me in the way of writing, promotions, and “what it means to be a good writer.” Consequently I’m always thrilled when she can visit. I asked Marilyn to talk about where her story ideas come from…

Marilyn and Hap

Marilyn and Hap

Where, When and How I Get My Story Ideas

To be perfectly honest, I don’t have any wonderful formula for gathering story ideas.

Sometimes, a thought strikes me such as I ought to write about ghost hunters discovering a body in a suspected haunted house. That’s exactly how the idea came to me for Spirit Shapes, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. From there I did some research on ghost hunters, not a lot, just enough to know what my ghost hunters might do and say.

I didn’t have to do much research into haunted houses because I’ve done a lot in the past, and my own house is haunted to a slight degree—yes, it is—and hubby and I love to stay in haunted hotels.

From there I began thinking about who or what might be haunting the particular house in my story and I drew on some old stories I’ve heard and changed them a bit.

When I’m writing about Tempe, I always want some Indian mysticism and a way to include Nick Two John in the plot. I found a great quote that gave me the title to the story.

I always keep interesting news items, events that I could ask the question, “What if it happened this way instead?”  I once heard Mary Higgins Clark say that’s often how she began with an idea for a story. Nowadays, that story might be something I read on the Internet. I print it out and tuck it into a folder.

When I’m trying to come with an idea for my next novel, I cull through the things I’ve stashed in that folder—actually I have about three such folders.

Often when I’ve actually started writing, more ideas start coming at me. Sometimes I’ll get an idea in the night. I’ve learned that I must write whatever I’ve thought of done or it will be lost.

Actually, there are more ideas floating around than I’ll ever be able to use. Isn’t that wonderful?

Spirit Shapes Cover

Spirit Shapes
By Marilyn Meredith

Spirit Shapes: 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.

For those of you who haven’t “met” Marilyn, here’s a little about this wonderfully prolific author.

Marilyn 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 and follow her blog at

To buy direction from the publisher in all formats: Also available directly from Amazon.

And there’s something special Marilyn is offering!

Contest: The person who comments on the most blogs on this blog tour will have the opportunity to have a character named after him or her in the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting at:

Thank you, Marilyn, for stopping by. It’s always wonderful hearing from you!


19 Responses to “She’s Done it Again!”

  1. marilynm said

    Kate and Kate Eileen Shannon thanks for stopping by.

  2. So interesting to read about your process.

  3. dianekratz said

    I too would love to hear more about your haunted house. How great it would be to stay in haunted houses! I don’t know if I could do this or not. Too scary, doubt I’d sleep good! I also love your idea about starting a folder. I’m going to have to start doing this! Nice post!

  4. It’s interesting the way you find idea and change them to meet your needs. I heard that once about Mary Higgins Clark too. And it’s true that once you start writing… lots more ideas come. Obviously, Marilyn, it works wonderfully for you. You are a busy, busy, involved woman, and I just don’t see how you can also write so many books!! Best of luck on this one!

  5. marilynm said

    Eileen, thank you for your comment.

  6. eobser said

    This is a delightful blog, Madeline. Thanks for hosting the very prolific Marilyn!

  7. marilynm said

    JT our ghosts are nice–no trouble.
    And Jake, thanks for stopping by.

  8. Jake said

    Looking forward to your latest. Excellent posting.

  9. jtzortman said

    It always astounds me to hear the amount of things you manage to accomplish every day. Thanks for sharing how you do it with us. I’d love to hear more about your own haunted house. Sounds fascinating.

  10. marilynm said

    I have to be organized to a point, or I’d not be able to write 2 books a year, and have a life.

    I hope you will try my series, Linda R.

    Thanks for stoping by, Cindy.

  11. Linda Card said

    And I think I need to start doing the folder thing. Marilyn you are so very organized. No wonder you get so much done.

  12. Marilyn is my idol and I have no idea how she does it all. This book sounds fantastic. We had some members of a local paranormal investigation company come speak to Sacramento Sisters in Crime. They shared some amazing stories, especially about some of the local “haunts” in the gold country. Keep those great books coming!

  13. Those ideas that go bump in the night are often the best ones. Fun post, Marilyn!

  14. Linda R said

    Sounds like a great series that I’m now privy to! Thanks for the introduction to mariln Meredith.

  15. marilynm said

    Paul, I’d love to stay in that haunted hotel. I’ve stayed in quite a few haunted places, alwasy fun.

    Well, John,I’m not quite a machine–but I am busy.

  16. What John said. You are amazing. SPIRIT SHAPES sounds wonderful. BTW, have you ever stayed in the old part of the Del Coronado Hotel near San Diego? That one is truly haunted. 🙂

  17. Marilyn, you are a writing machine. 🙂

  18. marilynm said

    And thak you for having me, Madeline.

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