Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Exclusive Interview with Crime Fiction Novelist Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn Meredith is the author of award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series as well as other novels. The latest is, Judgment Fire, from Mundania Press. Under the name of F. M. Meredith she writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, the latest, Smell of Death from Tigress Press. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, EPIC and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She was an instructor for Writer’s Digest School for ten years, served as an instructor at the Maui Writer’s Retreat and many other writer’s conferences. She makes her home in Springville, much like Bear Creek where Deputy Tempe Crabtree lives. For many years, she lived in a beach community much like Rocky Bluff.

You can visit her website at http://www.fictionforyou.com/ or her blog at http://www.marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Marilyn. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil in my hand. Before I could actually write I drew pictures to tell a story. When I was a kid I told big stories about myself and family—maybe you might call them lies. I grew up during the 2nd World War. I told all my friends that my sister was a princess from Europe and her parents had sent her over to my family to care for her to keep her safe. Even my sister believed me and for years thought she was adopted. I wrote plays for the neighborhood children to be in, and when I was in junior high, I wrote and published a teen magazine that I sold to all my friends. After I married, for a long while my writing was confined to the PTA newsletter and plays for my Camp Fire Girls to perform. My writing became serious when I wrote an historical family saga based on my family’s genealogy. I did two, and they were my first published books.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Smell of Death is the fourth in the Rocky Bluff PD series, and it evolved from the characters who inhabit the other three books. Though there are several returning characters, the main ones in this book are Officer Stacey Wilbur and Detective Doug Milligan. Besides the crimes in the novel, Stacey breaks her long-standing vow never to date anyone involved with the Rocky Bluff PD. When writing a series, one book just seems to lead to another.

What kind of research was involved in writing Smell of Death?

I’ve done several ride-alongs, and before one, I was invited to sit in on the change of the shift at the police department. When the officers learned I was an author, they began to tell stories—one of which appears in this book. Much of the rest was gathered from news stories and tales told to me.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I was able to make a suggestion as to what I thought the cover should look like, and I believe the artist capture my idea.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Oh my, it’s been a bumpy ride indeed. My first book was rejected nearly 30 times before I found a publisher. I’ve been published by two outfits that turned out to be crooks, and two of my publishers have passed away. Another publisher had so many difficult things happen in life that it interfered with the business at hand.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

It’s been only a little over a year—quite good for this industry.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I’ve had five different agents—none was able to sell a book for me. I’ve done better on my own. Of course my latest publishers are all small presses. If someone can find a good agent it will certainly help the process along. At my age, I can’t wait that long.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I have two more in this series completed and I’ve another series, the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries which is ongoing.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I write best in the morning, though I do edit at night.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

That one’s easy, someone to do the promotion for me!

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Self-promotion is extremely important if you want people to know about your book. Off-line I always have a book launch in my home town. I attend mystery conferences and writers conference if I can be on a panel or be a speaker. I do library talks and book and craft festivals—once in awhile, a booksigning.

On line, of course this virtual book tour, lots of fun, and I belong to a lot of online groups where I talk about my book, do Internet radio programs, I have several blogs though I’m not as good about keeping them up as I should, I have a web page, and anything else I can think of or someone tells me about.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

First, make sure your book is edited by someone beside a relative or friend. Follow the publisher’s guidelines for submission. And never, never give-up.

Thank you for coming, Marilyn! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

My website is: http://fictionforyou.com/
You can go to my website to order Smell of Death by F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith either by pay pal or a mail-in order form—or of course from Amazon.com. If you prefer an e-book, you can purchase from the publisher:
http://www.tigresspress.com/

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