Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) claims she’s has had so many books published, she’s lost track of the count, but it’s getting near 40. She lives in a community similar to the fictional mountain town of Bear Creek, the big difference being that Bear Creek is a thousand feet higher in the mountains. Learn more about Marilyn and her books at her website and blog.
When Fiction Comes too Close to Reality
That’s what happened to me with my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Seldom Traveled.
I’m a combination of a plotter and a “pantser”. When I begin writing I’ve already decided who the murder victim will be and why, along with a few ideas who might have done it, where and how it happened. An actual murder in a mountain community that I read about in a news clip is what got me started, however not much about that murder ended up in my story.
As I wrote, more and more ideas about who might have killed this person and why began to bounce around in my head. As I’m writing the story on the computer, I always have a notebook and pencil at hand to jot down all the new ideas so I don’t forget. This is an exciting process for me and part of why I enjoy writing so much—even after all these years.
Something else real that I included was a fugitive who managed to get away from the law and fled to the foothills where I live. Despite using dogs, law enforcement was unable to find this man. (I don’t know if he ever was apprehended because nothing more was ever mentioned in our local news.) For me, though, this was a great starting point for Seldom Traveled, and my fugitive plays a major part in the plot.
As I continued with the writing, I knew that a forest fire would play a major part in the plot. To make things accurate, I spent a lot of time asking a friend who is a firefighter many, many questions. He supplied me with the answers and made suggestions.
Remember, that a book is written long before it comes out. You probably all know that forest fires have plagued California this summer and into fall. When the book came out, several forest fires were burning around the state. Though I knew I had nothing to do with the fires, I couldn’t help feeling a bit of guilt.
When I sent the book to the publisher and answered the questionnaire about what I wanted the cover to look like, I mentioned the forest fire and a bald eagle that also plays a big part in the ending. My heroine is an Indian (she prefers that to Native American) so there is always a bit of Indian mysticism in the series. The artist did a perfect job. Take a look and see what you think.
The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.