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Thursday, May 9, 2019


Marilyn Meredith is the author of many published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra, a place quite similar to Tempe Crabtree’s patrol area. Today she joins us to talk about the inspiration for the town in her latest Tempe Crabtree mystery. Learn more about Marilyn and her books at her website.

A Mountain Town Inspired Spirit Wind
For many years I’ve taken the highway that goes past the mountain town of Tehachapi on my way to various destinations in Los Angeles and to Las Vegas. One of the most fascinating aspects of Tehachapi is the enormous wind machines that cover the mountainsides.
Tehachapi Railway Loop
Tehachapi is also famous for the railway loop, where long, long freight trains pass themselves while going around a large hill.

When I began writing Spirit Shapes I wasn’t quite sure how much of Tehachapi I would include in my mystery, but once I began more and more of that fascinating place became a great background and inspired many scenes and plot ideas.

Once I had most of the story written, I had to return and make sure that I got everything right. My daughter did all the driving. While there we took a self-guided tour of the wind machines, watched several freight trains go around the loop, made sure that the scenes I made up could have happened in real areas, and ate great food in several restaurants.

I visited the police station and asked some questions while I was there. The officer I spoke to seemed a bit bewildered but told me what I needed to know.
Tehachapi Wind Machines
When my daughter and I finished the tour of the wind machines, we gave a ride to a most bedraggled young man who’d injured himself while hiking on the Pacific Crest trail which passes through there.

We found houses that resembled the homes belonging to characters in the book and noted what the areas around them looked like.

And like most of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries, there is a troubled spirit and references to the local Native people.

And yes, the wind blew all the while—and of course gave me the idea for the title of the book, Spirit Wind.

Spirit Wind
A Tempe Crabtree Mystery

A call from a ghost hunter changes Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s vacation plans. Instead of going to the coast, she and her husband are headed to Tehachapi to investigate a haunted house and are confronted by voices on the wind, a murder, and someone out to get them.

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

Thank you so very much for hosting me today. I enjoyed writing about wonderful Tehachapi and how it inspired some of my plot for this latest mystery.


We always love when you stop by for a visit, Marilyn.

Susan said...

Thanks for sharing the inspirations/research about SPIRIT WIND. I'm always so happy when a new Tempe Crabtree book comes out!

Morgan Mandel said...

I often use major cities like Chicago as the general background, but usually make up suburbs and streets so people in the area don't get offended by any descriptions or goings on in my books.

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

Thank you, Susan, and Morgan for commenting on my post.
To be honest, Susan, I'm never sure if there will be a new Tempe--but this one just popped into my head--and the research did it.

Morgan, I seldom use real places, but I think the people in Tehachapi are happy--I've been invited to do a singing at their museum.

Scott Decker said...

Well Done Marilyn, Inspirational!

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

Morgan, I am not do a singing--they'd run me out of town, it's a signing.

And thank you Scott for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Carolyn J. Rose said...

There are people who think cities are more interesting, but give me a small town and the characters that inhabit it any day.

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

I'm with you, Carolyn, I love small towns--read and fictional--and love writing about them.