Marilyn Meredith, who writes the RBPD mystery series as F.M. Meredith, is the author of more than forty published books. She once lived in a small beach town much like Rocky Bluff, and has many relatives and friends in law enforcement. Learn more about Marilyn and her books at her website and blog.
What Inspired the Character(s)
In the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series, there are multiple characters who have been in the series since or near the beginning. I’m going to write about the inspiration for a few of them, plus a couple of new ones.
I wrote the first book in this series when my son-in-law became a cop and came to my house every morning after his shift for a cup of coffee. He always shared what had gone on the night before, including tidbits about his co-workers. Of course a lot of what I heard spilled over into my books and the characters who inhabited them.
Detective Doug Milligan has been one of the main characters since the beginning. He was inspired by the police officers I knew at the time—young, married, and with children. Because these men were neighbors and I was friends with their wives, I had some insight into how what was going on in the families affected the job, and what they experienced on the job affected their families. Of course a lot of this became part of other characters.
Officer Gordon Butler has become the favorite of many of my readers. He’s had a rough time of it, both as a police officer and in his private life. He was inspired by one of the local cops who knew all the laws, operated by the book, worked hard, but bad and often humorous things happened to him.
Abel Navarro begins as an officer and becomes a sergeant as time goes on. From Mexican descent, he and some of his family members are loosely based on one of my sons-in-law. No my son-in-law is not a cop, but the dynamics of his large family has provided a lot of inspiration for ongoing characters.
One of the newer characters is the police chief of the Rocky Bluff P.D., Chandra Taylor. She’s African American and tough. No, I don’t know any female police chief’s, but I have a friend who I see in my mind’s eye when I write about Chief Taylor. My friend once worked in prison as the assistant to the warden. Taylor is like my friend, shaped by the adversities in her life, but intelligent and capable, able to handle most anything--except romance.
Another new character is the daughter of the Rocky Bluff mayor. Kayla Duvall is a teenager who didn’t know her father until her mother, dying of cancer, sent her to live with him. I borrowed her looks from a darling boy who attends our church and who has an African American mom and Anglo dad. Like Kayla, he has blond curly hair.
For many years, I’ve been a member of the Public Safety Writers Association that is made up of many law enforcement officers. Of course I’ve made friends with many of them and some of them have also inspired characters in this series.
Bones in the Attic
In a small town like Rocky Bluff, personal and professional often overlap, so Detective Doug Milligan is not surprised when his daughter Beth is the one who informs him a body has been discovered.
What is surprising is that the body is in a long-abandoned home that Beth and other students are turning into a haunted house as a fund raiser. The city granted permission for the project as long as it was limited to the downstairs for safety reasons. But one student, Mike Patterson, couldn't resist the temptation to look in the attic.
Detective Milligan stepped carefully a trunk and peered inside. Only a musty unpleasant smell emanated from the contents, not the noxious decomposition odor he'd expected. The skeleton crammed inside was still clothed in the remnants of what may have been pajamas.