Mary: Where do you find your ideas? Does something trigger them? Do you carry around a notebook incase inspiration strikes?
Marilyn: I collect ideas from newspaper articles, things people tell me or overheard, sometimes a dream—and yes I have a pen and paper on my nightstand—and when I’m actually in the writing process, ideas pop into my head.
Mary: How do you name your characters?
Marilyn: When I first started out I chose names at random, names I liked the sounds that fit my characters. Now I know to try and not use names that sound similar or begin with the same letter in order not to confuse my readers. In the Rocky Bluff P.D. series I have two detectives, Officers Milligan and Marshall. I wouldn’t do that today, but they are ongoing characters so I’m stuck with them. I save graduation program and other programs that have lists of names and often pick and first name and then a last name to go with it that seems to fit a new character.
Mary: Do you like write series?
Marilyn: When I began I wrote single titles—two family historical sagas, a stand-alone mystery, a psychological horror, three Christian horror novels, and then I settled into writing two different series, the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series and the Rock Bluff P.D. series under the name F. M. Meredith.
Mary: Do you like to travel and where is your favorite city?
Marilyn: Over the years I’ve done a lot of traveling and most of it related to mystery writing. I’ve been to many Bouchercons, Left Coast Crimes and Epicons in cities I would never have visited otherwise—like Anchorage AK and a small village in Alaska as well as Wasilla.
I loved San Antonio and for beauty, my favorite is Sedona AZ.
Mary: Are the characters in my books people you know?
Marilyn: I’ve never known a murderer and I write about a lot of them. To be honest though, bits and pieces of people I know appear in many of my books. The really bad cop in Fringe Benefits was based on someone I knew though he wasn’t nearly as bad as the character.
Mary: Where do you want to go with your writing career?
Marilyn: I’d love to better known, but no matter, I’ll keep right on because I always want to know what is going to happen next with these people I’ve created and have become as real to me as my friends and family. (This is because I know what my characters think—I’m never sure about the flesh and blood folks.)
Thank you, Mary for hosting me today and asking these interesting questions.
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.
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 Ventura and Santa Barbara and F. M. once lived in a similar beach area. 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.