Welcome to Marilyn Meredith!

September 23, 2017

The most prolific, popular, and accomplished author Marilyn Meredith has a new Tempe Crabtree book–just released in August. And today she’s sharing with us the logistics of Tempe getting older. It’s an interesting topic, I think–balancing “moving on” and character’s getting older…Here’s Marilyn!

Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn Meredith’s published book count is nearing 40. She is one of the founding members of the San Joaquin chapter of Sister in Crime. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for 10 years, and was an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra, a place with many similarities to Tempe Crabtree’s patrol area.

Webpage:  http://fictionforyou.com Blog:  http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/ and you can follow her on Facebook.

Aging of Characters

In some series the characters never seem to grow older. In my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Tempe and her family have aged, though probably not as much as if in real time. To be honest I never stopped to figure it out, nor really kept track as I should have.

In the first books, Tempe has a teenaged son, Blair. Through the series he’s gone away to college, graduated, become a fireman though it’s all happened “off screen.”  In Not as it Seems he gets married with the wedding becoming a major part of the plot.

Frankly, I’m not sure how old Tempe is, I only had a vague idea in the beginning of her age. Now, all I can say is she’s old enough to be the mother of Blair, and to have been a deputy for a long time. She may be getting close to retiring time. At this point, I’ve only thought about that and what I might have happen.

Tempe and Hutch met in Deadly Trail and were married in Deadly Omen, though I didn’t write about their wedding. If I were to do it all over again, I think I’d do a better job of planning. The reason I didn’t is because I never thought I’d write so many books in this series—it just happened. I kept wanting to know what happened to Tempe next and the only way to find out was write the next book.

One fact I can give you is that I’ve aged plenty since I started writing this series. (you certainly don’t look it, Marilyn!)

What do you think about your favorite fictional characters, should they age, or remain around the same age forever? (feel free to share your opinion in a comment!)

Here’s a tantalizing teaser from Marilyn for A Cold Death:

Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her husband answer the call for help with unruly guests visiting a closed summer camp during a huge snow storm and are trapped there along with the others. One is a murderer, another a ghost.

Anyone who orders any of my books from the publisher‘s website: http://mundania.com can get 10% off by entering MP20 coupon code in the shopping cart. This is good all the time for all my books, E-books and print books.

On Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074XNP87Z/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503149760&sr=1-1&keywords=a+cold+death+by+marilyn+meredith

And there’s more!

Contest: Once again I’m going to use the name of the person who comments on the most blogs on my tour for the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery—which may be the last in the series.

Tomorrow: I’ll be here: http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/  I’ll be talking about How Tempe Crabtree has Changed Through the Series.

I’ve read A Cold Death, and thoroughly enjoyed Marilyn’s latest Tempe adventure. Here’s my review (on Amazon),

I’m fond of British mysteries, especially Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh, so being stranded at a camp in a blizzard was a very enjoyable traditional kind of setting and plot for me. I’ve followed this series with delight because there are always interesting characters popping into Tempe and Hutch’s world, while they remain traditional and straightforward–even when there’s a touch of the ethereal! So in this Tempe adventure, there’s a great closed setting atmosphere, great character/suspects, and other-worldly happenings! This Tempe adventure easily took me away, I even shivered a couple times, and for me, that’s the mark of good writing. I certainly enjoyed, and highly recommend.


Moving On…

August 25, 2017

For once I’m moving right into my next book after just having my last one published. Trying to be more like my more prolific author friends! Hard–in that I’m a rather slow writer. (And in case you missed it, Rhodes The Movie-Maker is still available in all the usual places! (smile))  RTMMFront300dpi2500pixAmazon Author Page  –   Barnes and Noble Online

In the past, seems like my mind needed a lull–mindless DVD watching or Ngaio Marsh or Agatha Christie audio-books. Input, not output. Well for once, I’m working on the next book–and it looks like it will be a third Rhodes tale. I’ve highlighted third, because it will be my first third.(smile) Title, Rhodes The Caretakers.

Also, Marilyn Meredith will be visiting here September 23, and be sure to catch my fellow Writers in Residence (and me in turn) every Wednesday at  Writers in Residence.

Back to work…


Nancy Boyarsky

Nancy Boyarsky(1) has a new book! When Nancy last visited she told us about her inspiration for  The Swap

Today, with the recent publication of her latest book, The Bequest, Nancy is answering the question, Where do you get your characters? I think it’s a great question, because it’s so interesting to me how people, places, plots–all that “stuff” gets into our heads and then comes out in a book!

So Here’s Nancy…

This is a question that (oddly, at least to me) doesn’t come up during Q&A at book store events. People want to know about my work habits. Do I set aside a certain time to write each day? A word quota? Do I write my first draft long hand? How long does it take me to write a book?

Basically, the answer these questions is the same. It depends. The amount of time I spend writing, the number of pages I turn out in a day, the length of time it takes for me to write a book. All depend on how excited I am (on a given day, week, or month) about the book I’m writing. Is it going well? Or am I struggling to figure out what happens next or what the dialogue should reveal? The more I have to struggle, the less time I tend to spend writing, and the slower it goes.

To me, a much more interesting subject is the origin of fictional characters and how an author manages to breathe life into them. How does she determine a character’s appearance, behavior, personality, and moral code? Where do these traits come from? Are they based on real people? Or are they pulled out of the air?

In my books, characters come into being in a variety of ways. In my first draft, they’re basically templates of who they become in later drafts. (I usually go through at least four drafts, maybe five, before I consider the book finished.) In The Swap, Nicole Graves, the heroine, didn’t have much personality when she first appeared on the page. Her husband Brad didn’t either, but I did make him a somewhat disagreeable, inattentive husband because my plot set-up required it.

As I went into the second draft, I began to develop my characters in more detail. For their appearance, I used the looks of actors in specific films or TV shows. For example, I thought Nicole might resemble the character Annie Walker in the “Covert Affairs” TV series. I also decided Nicole should be perky, brave, and ready to take on just about anything while still having vulnerabilities. She’s also a bit of a romantic. In The Bequest, my mental picture for Josh was the actor James Norton (Sidney Chambers on “Grantchester”). I dropped Josh into the story at a point that made him seem a bit suspicious at first. Then, bit by bit, I revealed him as a genuinely nice guy who wants to protect Nicole from the dangerous situations she tends to walk into.

One of the characters I most enjoyed creating was the woman who becomes Nicole’s advisor and confidant in The Swap. (I’m not giving her name because that would be a spoiler). She was tricky to invent because she is not who she says she is. She is making up a fake identity as she goes along, playing a role and lying about everything. Behind all that deception, she’s not a bad person but someone who feels trapped, frightened, and angry.

As for the names of my characters, I look around my office to spot a last name that sounds right to me. It could be part of a street address on an envelope, the last or first name of the author of a book on my shelf. Then I make up a first name that goes with it. The book I’m writing now, (#3 in the Nicole Graves mystery series, as yet untitled) is about a campus rape case that becomes a murder. One of the characters is a star athlete. I made up a name, then had to change it because it already belonged to a well-known athlete. I made up another name, it happened again. Finally, I looked in a nineteenth century novel and found a fairly unusual last name that passed the test.

As I go through my four or five drafts, the characters evolve, add personality traits, quirks, dislikes, virtues and vices. This part is the most fun—filling out these characters and sending them into action that, hopefully, will keep the reader turning pages until the end.

The Bequest


Here are some links where you can find The Bequest:

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-bequest/id1205606019?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Boyarsky/e/B0027MGPDK/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/nancy%20boyarsky/_/N-8q8
Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/search/book?searchfor=Boyarsky%2C+Nancy
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=Nancy%20Boyarsky&ac=1&acp=nancy%20boyarsky&ac.author=Nancy%20Boyarsky




I haven’t read The Bequest yet, but it’s on my Kindle waiting for that perfect time to curl up with a good book…

(1) Nancy Boyarsky was born in Oakland, California. After graduating from U.C. Berkeley, her first job was as an assistant editor in a tiny, long-gone publishing company in San Francisco. She has worked as a writer and editor all of her life.

She is married to former Los Angeles Times City Editor Bill Boyarsky and lives in Los Angeles. She still devotes herself to writing, editing, and reading and has added painting to her list of hobbies. She loves the theater, films and travel, especially to the UK.