It’s day seven of the Mystery We Write blog tour, and it seems fitting my final guest should be the one and only Marilyn Meredith. Marilyn is not only a talented author, she’s an inspiration!
F.M. Meredith, also known as
Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels—and a few that will never see print. Her latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, from Oak Tree Press, is No Bells. Rocky Bluff P.D. is a fictional beach community between and Ventura and F. M. once lived in a similar beach area. Santa Barbara
Marilyn is a member of
EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves as the program chair for the Public Safety Writers of America’s writing conference. She’s been an instructor at many writing conferences.
Anne – Welcome, Marilyn. Tell us about your most recent release.
Marilyn - My latest is the number eight in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, No Bells, from Oak Tree Press.
Officer Gordon Butler has finally found the love he’s been seeking for a long time, but there’s one big problem, she’s the major suspect in a murder case.
It can be found in all the usual places as a trade paperback and an e-book.
Anne - How long does it take you to write a book?
Marilyn - Because I write two different series which means one book a year, I take two to three months to write the first draft. Then I read that novel chapter by chapter to my critique group. At the same time I’m beginning a new book in the other series and I’m promoting the latest book that’s come out. It’s an exhausting process that I love.
Anne - What does the current state of your home office say about you?
Marilyn - Ha ha, and no I won’t take a photo. To my left I have stuff piled up by my computer that has to do with the book I’m writing. On my right is a notebook with a to-do list and a pad of post-it notes if I need a reminder about something else. On top of my printer at my far right is a notebook with pages that have a calendar for my personal blog, what chapter I’m on in the book I’m working on and how many pages, and where I am on this blog tour. (There’s a long table in my office too with papers and other things piled up for conferences I’m attending, and errands I need to run.) So I suppose my office says I’m organized in a rather messy way.
Anne – Organized chaos! Love it. Of the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?
Marilyn - Since I’m touring for No Bells I have to say Gordon Butler. He began as a minor character way back in a book called Fringe Benefits. He was the foil or patsy for a very bad cop. Gordon is a lovable character even if he is a by-the- book cop. In later books, things have improved, but still nothing seems to go right for him.
You’ll have to read No Bells to see if his luck changes.
Anne - Are you a glass half-empty or half-full kind of person?
Marilyn - Definitely half-full. Every day is an adventure. I’ve been blessed with a great husband, a big and loving family, and a love for writing. I’ve been able to do so many interesting things because of my writing, traveled to places I’d have never gone if it hadn’t been for mystery conventions, and met and made friends with so many interesting people along the way. The photo below is of me (left), with my granddaughters and daughter.
Anne - Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?
Marilyn - Read the kind of books you want to write. Go to writing conferences. Join a critique group. Write at least five days a week. When submitting follow the agent or publisher’s guidelines. Never give-up.
Anne - Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
Marilyn - I’m too blessed to be stressed.
Anne – I think I’m going to adopt that one! Now, I would love to read an excerpt from No Bells. Hint. Hint.
Marilyn - J Excerpt from No Bells:
GORDON BUTLER AWOKE to the blues’ riff that signaled a call coming in from his girlfriend, Benay Weiss. He squinted at his digital clock. Tuesday, his day off.
Yawning, he flipped open the phone. Before he could say anything, Benay sobbed, “Geri is missing.”
He sat up. “What?”
“My best friend, Geri Rowe. She disappeared.”
“How do you know?”
Benay sounded near hysterics. “Her husband just called to find out if she might be here with me. She isn’t.”
“Did they have a fight?”
“He just said she didn’t come home last night.”
Gordon switched into police mode. “You two are so close. Did she say anything about marital problems?”
“Nothing new. Gordon, I’m so scared for her.”
“Has her husband reported her missing?”
“I don’t think so. He was going to call her relatives next to see if they’d heard from her.”
“He should make a report. Nothing will be done until she’s gone for 24 hours. They’ll want to make sure she didn’t just leave on her own.”
“She wouldn’t have done that without telling me. Gordon, we share everything. We’ve been friends since high school. I was her maid-of-honor at her wedding.”
“Do you want me to come over?”
She didn’t answer for a long while. “No. Philip said he’d call me back in a little while.”
“I’ve got the day off. I could spend it with you.”
“No. I have to work. I’m so worried about Geri, she’s all I can think about. I’ll call you if I hear anything from her.”
Gordon knew if something bad had happened to Benay’s friend, he’d hear about it first. “Chances are she’s okay.”
“I hope so.” She hung up.
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Saturday morning, Officer Gordon Butler approached the scene of his first call of the day, a body found by teens in the nearly dry stream bed running along the rocky bluff that gave the beach town its name
Parking his blue-and-white police car, Gordon climbed out. He surveyed the area, trying to find the young people who’d called in their gruesome find.
A forest of native oaks, junipers as well as tall eucalyptus and clusters of evergreen shrubs blocked the view of the place where the body reportedly had been discovered. The strong scent of the eucalyptus overpowered the saltiness of the ocean drifting in on a slight breeze. He inhaled deeply and detected the sweet, sickening odor of decaying flesh.
Anne - Decaying flesh. Talk about a hook! Where can readers find you online?
CONTEST: The person who comments on the most of my blogs on this MMW Spring Blog Tour will win a copy of No Bells so be sure to leave your email too, so I can contact you if you win.
Anne - Thanks, Marilyn. I can’t wait to read No Bells.
Just a final word… I’m visiting M.M. Gornell’s blog today on the Mystery We Write blog tour. Leave a comment to win an ecopy of Frank, Incense and Muriel, book one of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries.
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