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Friday, October 4, 2013


We’re happy to welcome back one of our regular author guests today, Marilyn Meredith. Marilyn is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award-winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Learn more about Marilyn and her books at her website and blog.  

Marilyn is currently on a blog tour. The person who comments on the most blogs on during the tour will have the opportunity to have a character named after him or her in the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. Tomorrow Marilyn will be visiting M.M. Gornell’s blog. – AP 

Pleasing Readers

When I’m planning a new book, I always hope that the ideas that are popping into my head and eventually onto the page will be something that readers will enjoy. That doesn’t mean that I am not going to surprise them, or even dismay them at times.

What happens in the writing process is the characters sometimes take off in a way that I didn’t expect. Don’t laugh, but they seem to have minds of their own.

When I began writing about Deputy Tempe Crabtree I had no idea that she was a Native American, though she prefers to be called an Indian. In fact, I wrote two books before it dawned on me that she had this heritage that she wasn’t embracing. That mean the first two books no longer were about Tempe—so they are not a part of the series. (I rewrote them, changing the names and descriptions of the characters as well as the setting.)

Because my fans have come to love Tempe and the mystique of the Indians culture, I do try to include legends and Indian ceremonies in the mysteries. Often the title of the book will come from a legend or a quote from an Indian.

If you are new to this series, the tribe I am writing about is fictional but I borrow a lot from the Yokuts, many of whom live on the nearby Tule River Indian Reservation, known as the Bear Creek Reservation in my mysteries. I am not an Indian, but I have many friends who are as well as a grandchild and two grandchildren.

Some of my readers are not as fond of Tempe’s husband, Pastor Hutch. In the past, they’ve had some conflict over the fact that Hutch fears for Tempe’s soul when she participates in some rituals, especially to call back the dead. And there has been some residual from that, as Tempe is now much more susceptible to ghostly and other spiritual visitations. Some are not pleasant.

As a writer, this conflict has been fun to write about. Hutch and Tempe are very much in love, both having lost previous spouses to death. Most couples, no matter how much they care for one another, do have disagreements. Reading about a married couple who never had any conflict would be boring and unrealistic.

What has happened over the years is that Tempe and Hutch seem as real to me as anyone that I know. In fact, I know more about them than I even know about my relatives—because I know how these two think.

For anyone who’d like to try this series, I write each book as a stand-alone so it isn’t necessary to start at the beginning. If you do read one, let me know if I pleased you as a reader.

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.


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

Thank you so much for having me over today.. I alwasy enjy visiting you!

Karen McCullough said...

Interesting post, Marilyn! It's really the characters that make or break a story. Tempe is a character with a lot of interesting depths.

Dee Card said...

I think it adds more dimension to the characters to have them disagree on things. And I like Tempe's spirit. She walks in two worlds.

Janice Seagraves said...

Interesting story and yes, you can't have your characters don't have a single argument. That wouldn't be realistic and adds more conflict to the story.


Lesley Diehl said...

I think the conflict you've created between Tempe and her husband is very interesting. It makes for a provocative subplot to the murder.

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

Hi, Karen, I love Tempe, she feels like a relative to me.

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

Janice, I'm so happy that you stopped by. Being married for many years, I can guarantee you can love each other and still argue.

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

It's fun to write with extra conflict.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post and interesting to see how the character of Tempe evolved.

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

Thanks for stopping by, Kate Eileen! This tour has been a challenge for me because my computer is down.