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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

MYSTERY AUTHOR MARILYN MEREDITH ON TWEAKING REAL SETTINGS FOR FICTION

Tule River
Mystery author Marilyn Meredith has written more than forty books under her own name and as F.M. Meredith. Learn more about her and her books at her website and blog.

How Much of The Setting of the Tempe Crabtree Mysteries is Like Where I Live?
It’s no secret that the area where Tempe Crabtree is resident deputy has a close resemblance to the town of Springville. Both are in the Southern Sierra*, however, Bear Creek is 1000 feet higher in elevation. My main reason for that was I wanted better trees and the chance for more changes in the weather. Weather often plays an important part in series.

When I moved Bear Creek higher into the mountains, I changed the main highway a bit to fit the stories I wrote. 

The Tule River runs through the place I live, but I call it Bear Creek, and the town is named after the river.

Both places are near an Indian reservation, and the real one is much like the one in my series.

In my town there is an inn like the one in Bear Creek, however the fictional one is a bit different than the real one, though the history of it is the same. Right now, it’s closed.  In fact, the main reason I didn’t use all the same businesses in my series is because they tend to come and go. Summer brings the tourists, but it’s hard for many places to remain open during the winter. And the virus isn’t helping.

In the latest book, a campground is featured. We have many campground and hiking trails, but the ones in End of the Trail are fictional. The surroundings are real. We have giant Sequoia groves in several places. 

As far as I know, no one living off the road to the reservation has a compound like the one I describe in this latest mystery. However, there is plenty of land where someone could build exactly what my fictional characters did. 

The town of Dennison is somewhat like the nearby town of Porterville. Any of my neighbors will recognize Main Street, the mortuary, and the library. (As a sad aside, the library burned down earlier this year.)

When Tempe visits another real place and I’ve used the name, I try to keep as true to what it is like as possible. However, when I write Bear Creek, I am happy that I can fictionalize what I’m writing about. It gives me many more opportunities for plot ideas.

*Sierra means mountains.

End of the Trail 
A Tempe Crabtree Mystery, Book 18

Deputy Tempe Crabtree joins the search for a missing hiker which results in a murder investigation, a near death experience, an unexpected rescuer, and an unhappy ghost. 

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9 comments:

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

Thank you once again for hosting me! I love visiting Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers!

Morgan Mandel said...

I'm always afraid to use real places in my books and only use them as general settings. I never offer actual streets, etc, because I don't want to make mistakes about an area. Easier to use a fictional locale.

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

I seldom use the true name of a place if I'm using it in fiction. However, when i wrote SPIRIT WIND I did write true facts about Tehachapi with a lot of fiction thrown in. The people who live in Tehachapi loved it. No one said I got anything wrong.

Janice said...

This was fun to read. I sob often take living in Springville for granted. Took our granddaughter (Brianna's daughter, Payton, 6)uo to Balch Park. Saw a bear! She said, "this is my first real adventure!" She said she wanted to live here because, "the people are friendly and it's quiet and it's not stupid like Bakersfield." Her dad said no 🤷‍♀️😢

ANASTASIA POLLACK said...

And we love having you visit, Marilyn!

Morgan, I use towns I'm really familiar with. I find it easier than trying to remember. Fictitious settings. So what works best for one author often works the opposite for another. ;-)

ANASTASIA POLLACK said...

Janice, out of the mouths of babes, right?

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

Janice, that was a good comment. My granddaughter and family saw a really big bear getting into the trash at the Springville dump a few days ago!

J. L. Greger said...

I'm like Marilyn in that my main setting for my Science Traveler series is a fictionalized version of my home area. However, when I send my heroine to other locations. I use real names and try to keep all the details of the location correct. I think it makes the novels more realistic and helps readers identify with the lead character.
JL Greger, author of A Pound of Flesh, Sorta

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

Thanks for your comment, J.L. I've always enjoyed your mysteries.