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Friday, March 4, 2011


Today we welcome back F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith. Marilyn is the author of nearly thirty published novels. Her latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series from Oak Tree Press is Angel Lost. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Internet chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at her website  and her blog.

Marilyn has offerec a copy of
Angel Lost to one lucky reader who posts a comment to the blog this week. -- AP

The Glamorous Life of a Mystery Author (Not)

Oh, I’m sure that there are some authors, Mary Higgins Clark, comes to mind, who do live glamorous lives. I know that she lives in an apartment that overlooks Central Park; she goes on book tours paid for by her publisher. When she’s invited to a mystery con, not only does she not have to pay her expenses, but she’s treated like royalty. (By the way, I’ve met Ms. Clark and she is a most charming and gracious person and deserves all of the above.) Of course she’s not the only one who has the same treatment, but there really aren’t all that many when you think about how many mystery writers there are.

My point here is most of us live pretty ordinary lives. Of course I am not going to speak for all of the rest—though I know a lot of mystery authors and how and where they lives—but I do know about this mystery author.

Though I live in a beautiful place, the foothills of the Southern Sierra in the big Central Valley of California, our home is large and old (requiring a lot of my husband’s time in upkeep), drafty in the winter months and hard to cool in the summer. I shop for groceries, cook most of our own meals—and we’re often joined for these meals by my son, his wife, granddaughter and her new husband, who all live next door—and a grown grandson who rents a room from us. The main reason is because I only know how to cook for a crowd after raising five kids, feeding them and often their friends, and then taking over a business of caring for six developmentally disabled women whom I fed, along with hubby and me and often one or two others, every single day for twenty-three years. (And yes, I managed to write on a regular basis nearly every weekday morning—even though I had many other duties.)

I do what most wives and mothers do so won’t go into the mundane details. I try to write a part of every morning. Fortunately, I do have an office in my home, though I am interrupted a lot. Not sure everyone understands the concept that when I’m at the computer, I am working; if not on the latest book, I’m doing some sort of promotion for the last one published—which is what I’m doing here.

My latest book, written under the name, F. M. Meredith, Angel Lost, number 7 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, recently became available in all the usual places. Before we moved to the foothills, we spent over twenty years in a beach community, living merely a mile from the beach. Why did we leave? It changed from being a town to a city, growing to the point my husband yearned for open spaces.

Of course, the earlier years of that community were the spark for the fictional beach town of Rocky Bluff, the setting of the series and Angel Lost. While we lived in the real town, many police families lived nearby. I learned a lot about the effects of being a police officer’s wife and kids. As the years passed, my daughter married an officer on that same department and I got an insider’s view of what went on.

Though I no longer live at the beach, we make several trips back and to other places on the coast to keep me reminded of what it’s like. (And yes, I miss it.)

As the author of a book published by a small press, I have to make the arrangements for all my public appearances—and of course pay for all the expenses that entails. Though I’m not fond of that part, I do love meeting readers and especially those who have enjoyed my books or want to try them. I also like helping other writers, or those who’d like to be one, so am thrilled when I have the opportunity to speak to a writer’s group, at a conference, or a class.

Finally, you might wonder why I keep writing. I’ve come to know the police officers of Rocky Bluff, and their families so well that when I’ve finished one book, I want to know what’s going to happen to them next. The only way to do that is to start a new book.

Here’s the official blurb for Angel Lost:

As plans for her perfect wedding fill her mind, Officer Stacey Wilbur is sent out to trap a flasher. The new hire realizes Rocky Bluff P.D. is not the answer to his problems. Abel Navarro can’t concentrate on the job because of worry about his mother. Officer Gordon Butler has his usual upsets, and the sudden appearance of an angel in the window of a furniture store captures everyone’s imagination and causes problems for RBPD. Then the worst possible happens—will Stacey and Doug’s wedding take place?

And one I love from a fellow author. "A pervert threatens women joggers on the beach, a robber threatens wealthy homes on the bluff, and an angel watches over the townspeople from a downtown window.  F. M. Meredith’s' latest Rocky Bluff P. D. novel is a gentle human drama about loneliness and change, through which the reader is pulled, page after page, by an assortment of compelling criminal curiosities." --C. N. Nevets, author of psychological suspense.

Marilyn, thanks for joining us again. Rocky Bluff certainly has its hands full this time around! Readers, if you’d like to enter the drawing for a copy of Angel Lost, don’t forget to post a comment. And check back Sunday to see if you’re the lucky winner. -- AP


Geraldine Evans said...

Sounds good, Marilyn. I hope it's perpetual summer in your beach community, as I think I might just buy the book, and in an English February, I could do with some sun!

Karen Bostrom said...

Sounds like an intriguing tale. And thanks for sharing your own story about how you manage to keep writing and publishing despite your very busy schedule. Personally, I can't wait for summer at the beach, too.

Lynn said...

Marilyn - I'm impressed with your obvious cooking skills. I'm sure that after awhile, one more mouth to feed just means adding an extra potatoe to the stew! Sounds like there's a lot of love around your full dining room table. Can't wait to read "Angel Lost". I'm new to your books, but they sound intriguing.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Hi, Geraldine, the weather on the coast of California that I'm writing about is fairly warm even in winter, but often quite foggy and cool in the summer. People from the hot middle of the state head for the beaches to cool off.

Thanks for commenting, Karen.

Frankly, Lynn, I really enjoy cooking and that's why I like having more at the table than just me and hubby.

And thank you, Anastasia, for allowing me to visit.

jeff7salter said...

I'm in awe of you and others who have been able to juggle so much (work and home) and still found time to write. When I still worked full time I could not locate even a spark of creativity for the writing I wanted to do.
Love your comment: "I’ve come to know the police officers of Rocky Bluff, and their families so well that when I’ve finished one book, I want to know what’s going to happen to them next. The only way to do that is to start a new book." I don't write about Rocky Bluff, but otherwise that quote perfectly describes how I feel about my characters.
Thanks for putting it into such clear perspective.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Hi, Jeff, yes, that's exactly how I feel about my characters. I know more about them than all my family members and friends because I know how that Rocky Bluff bunch thinks!


Lynn said...

I must say I love Sisters in Crime, just when I think I am alone in the world and I am the only person who has a hard time staying at the computer another Sister shares her story. It sounds like a wonderful series -- I will have to add it to my ever growing "books to read" pile!

Theresa said...

Marilyn, I'm impressed at all you have accomplished and continue to make time to write. You've inspired me to quit complaining about not having enough time and just do it. I'm looking forward to reading your books.Thank you.

Caroline Clemmons said...

I'm looking forward to reading your book. The only thing better would be winning a copy. Thanks, Caroline Clemmons

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I've gotten some of the ideas for my RBPD books from speakers at Sisters in Crime meetings. (An Axe to Grind is a perfect example.) Glad to hear from another sister, Lynn.

Theresa, I don't watch TV in the day time and I've always gotten up early and that's when I begin my writing and promo chores.

Caroline, I do hope you have the opportunity to read Angel Lost and let me know what you think.


Jenny said...

Truly is quite a juggling act balancing a normal life with a writing career. I only get to indulge in my passion for an hour in the evening and at weekends, and I have the same interruption issue you mention - when at said computer, laptop in my case, I really am working (writing, marketing and researching) and not "goofing about on the internet" as it may appear. Enjoyed the blurb for your book and wish you bucket loads of sales.

traveler said...

I was fascinated with your post. You are to be admired for your strength of character and integrity. Your novel sounds unique and appealing. Your area is scenic and lovely. Best wishes and much success. What talent you possess. You are a mensch.

Holli said...

Marilyn spends time organizing the PSWA writer's conference in Las Vegas, which is a pretty big task in itself (and a great conference if you want to actually get to know other writers and a publisher or agent or two.) Beside the fact that she's a genuinely nice person, I think the thing I admire most about Marilyn is the way she always manages to get everything done, and done well.

Holli Castillo
Gumbo Justice
Jambalaya Justice coming 2011

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

As Holli mentioned I do the program for the PSWA conference. If you're interested, check out http://www.policewriter.com and just a note, the early bird registration fee disappears on March 31.


shirley said...

Sounds like you like to keep busy. All that and writing too!

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