Local Author Marilyn Meredith Event in Exeter/Interview/Review

Jan 26, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Books & Tales, Every Other Book, Lorie Lewis Ham, Mysteryrat's Maze, Pat Browning

by Lorie Lewis Ham
& Pat Browning

On Sunday February 6 KRL’s Marilyn Meredith will be having a book talk & signing in Exeter, so I decided it was the perfect time to chat with her about her mystery novels. Marilyn is a fellow mystery writer and has been a good friend for many years. She lives in nearby Springville. You will find a review of her latest Deputy Crabtree novel after this interview, along with details on the Exeter event!

Marilyn Meredith

Lorie: Who is your current publisher?

Marilyn: I have two, Mundania Press and Oak Tree Press

Lorie: When was the release date of your latest book?

Marilyn: Invisible Path, September 2010 and I’ll have a new Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel in March of this year, Angel Lost.

Lorie: What is the title of your latest book? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Marilyn:Invisible Path is a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. The investigation of the murder of a popular Indian man on the reservation takes Tempe away from Christmas preparations. Everyone blames Jesus Running Bear for the crime because he’s an outsider and becomes a target. Tempe has to protect him while looking for the killer.

Lorie: How long have you been writing?

Marilyn:Like many writers, since I was a little kid.

Lorie: When did your first novel come out?  Would you tell us a little about it?

Marilyn:My first novel published was an historical family saga called Trail to Glory in 1982. It was based on the genealogy of my mother’s side of the family.

Lorie: Have you always written mysteries?  If not what else have you written?

Marilyn:My first two published books were historical family sagas and once I’d written about both sides of my family, I decided to write mysteries because that’s what I enjoyed reading the most. But I’ve also written psychological horror and Christian horror.

Lorie: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book?  Why did you choose to set your books locally? Tell me a little about the setting and main character for your most recent book.

Marilyn:I’ve been writing about Deputy Tempe Crabtree for several years and she’s based on three women I met after I moved to Springville: a female resident deputy, the only female officer on the Porterville P.D. at the time I did a ride-along with her, and a Native American woman I met who grew up on the Tule River Reservation. The books are set in a mountain community called Bear Creek with a strong resemblance to Springville though I moved the fictional setting 1000 feet higher in the mountains. The Indian reservation in the book borrows a lot from the geography, culture and legends of the  Tule River Indian Reservation, but I am writing fiction.

 Lorie: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?

Marilyn:I want the reader to enjoy the books, of course. Each book does have some underlying message, but that I’ll let the reader figure out.

Lorie: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?

Marilyn:I try to write everyday but life does interfere a lot. Promoting takes a great deal of time away from my actual writing too.

Lorie: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it? 

Marilyn:No, I don’t outline, but I do keep a file on the characters and I jot down notes as ideas come to me. One thing I always do is keep a time-line to make sure things happen on the right days.

Lorie: That’s exactly what I do as well. If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?

Marilyn:Mornings is when my mind is the freshest. I will do some editing in the evenings if I need to.

Lorie: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning? 

Marilyn:My first book was rejected nearly thirty times before it was accepted—and that was back in the day of typewriters and carbon paper and mailing your manuscript in a box. ( I rewrote it several times before I got the acceptance letter.)

Lorie: Well I for one am glad you didn’t give up-I love your Tempe Crabtree books. Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?

Marilyn:One agent wanted me to change Tempe Crabtree’s name, she thought it was too hard to remember. I chose not to go with her.

Lorie: What kind of promotion do you find most affective?

Marilyn:That’s hard to say, I do a lot of different things on the Internet, I have my own blog and a webpage, I’m on Facebook and Twitter, but I also do personal appearances, give talks about writing, classes at writer’s conference, book and craft fairs.

Lorie: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?

Mariliyn: If I go to a bookstore, I like to give a talk of some sort about writing, or my latest book. I’ve done many book launches at odd places, coffee shops, recreation center, an Inn, antique store.

Lorie: Future writing goals?

Mariliyn:It’s always to finish the next book.

Lorie: Writing heroes?

Mariliyn:Back when I first moved to the Central Valley, I joined a critique group. One of the members was Willma Gore. She mentored me and taught me so much about writing and publishing. She’s now in her 80s and getting ready to come back to California to do a presentations about her latest book.

Lorie: Person you would most like to meet dead or alive?

Mariliyn:First person who came to mind is Jesus Christ.

Lorie: Cool answer. What do you read?

Mariliyn:Mysteries and the Bible.

Lorie: Favorite TV or movies?

Mariliyn:I love movies that are mysteries, and I sometimes like movies the critics pan. I loved The Tourist, it reminded me of the old Alfred Hitchcock movies. The critics made fun of it.

Lorie: I loved The Tourist! Reviewed it here on KRL. Family?
Mariliyn:Huge, husband, 5 adult children (one deceased), 18 grandchildren, 12 great grands.

Lorie: Big family. Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Mariliyn: Read the kind of books you want to write. Learn the rules then you can break them. Got to writing conferences, read books on writing, and join a critique group. Write, write, write, and never give up.

Lorie: Having been a pioneer in the area of e-books what do you feel is their future & how many people do you think are switching to those over paperback these days?

Mariliyn:E-books are here to stay—but so are paper books. Nearly all my books are available in e-book formats.

Lorie: Favorite e-book reader?

Mariliyn:The Kindle is what I’m using now.

Lorie: Anything you would like to add?

Mariliyn:Thanks for interviewing me, Lorie. For your readers’ information, Lorie and I go way back. I think we first met at a San Joaquin Sisters in Crime meeting. We were also roommates at Left Coast Crime in Alaska.

 Lorie: That’s right. And you were a great roommate!
Where can people purchase your books?

Mariliyn:From most of the usual online places, including Amazon.

Thanks so much for doing the interview & for all of your wonderful writing here at KRL. You can catch Marilyn’s interviews & reviews in the Mystery Section.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

Review by Pat Browning of The Invisible Path

Marilyn Meredith lives near California’s Tule River Reservation in Tulare County, but her fictional Bear Creek Reservation is just that – fictional; and while Yokuts tribes were the original inhabitants of the San Joaquin Valley, the Yanduchi branch in her  Tempe Crabtree mysteries is fictional.
However, the Indian legends and practices in this book are real. Jesus Running Bear’s grandmother studies the tea leaves and says: “The path lies straight ahead. Sometimes it will be invisible, but it is always there.” She’s talking about his search for a woman to share his life, and as she tells him, he will meet some troublesome women before he finds the right one.
Jesus Running Bear is a Miwok from farther north, in the foothills outside of Modesto, but he takes his drinking problem to the Bear Creek Recovery Center, meets a woman named Jolie and stays on the Bear Creek reservation instead of going home. Before long he’s the chief suspect in the murder of Jolie’s hot-headed cousin, Danny.
The Recovery Center serves an important purpose on the reservation. As an elder says: “White people have their 12 Step Programs and Alcoholics Anonymous; Indians use their own ceremonies and sweats to heal themselves. Liquor is a curse that kills more Indians than any of the white man’s diseases or bullets.”
Danny’s body is discovered near the sweat lodge. However, the medical examiner determines that he was killed elsewhere and moved to the Recovery Center.
Meantime, Tempe’s son, Blair, and his college roommate, Chad, are home for the Christmas holidays and Blair has accidentally stumbled across a militia group hidden in Sequoia National Park. Tempe, her husband and the two boys make a picnic trip into the forest in hopes of locating the group. When they find them, they’re told that the militiamen are preparing for Armageddon, planning to repel urban dwellers who flee to the mountains after a terrorist attack. Tempe’s group is ordered at gunpoint to leave the premises.
The stage is set for a confrontation. As Tempe continues to question everyone related to Danny and Jesus Running Boy, she learns that Danny was obsessed with finding a local legend, the Hairy Man, thinking it will bring him fame and fortune.
Marilyn’s previous Tempe Crabtree novel revolves around Tempe’s encounter with the Hairy Man, who saves her life. That novel grew out of Marilyn’s real-life visit to the Tulare County rock shelter with its pictograph of the Hairy Man and his family.
Once again, the Hairy Man makes an appearance, as several sets of characters struggle through a blinding snow storm toward the militia’s headquarters. The slowly building suspense kept me on the edge of my seat until all secrets were revealed. Marilyn is such a skillful writer that she wrapped it all up without the blood and violence so often associated with mystery novels. THE INVISIBLE PATH is an excellent addition to an excellent series.

Pat Browning is one of our Editors. She spent many years in the Valley working at various newspapers. Also a mystery writer, and contributor to our Mysteryrat’s Maze mystery section, you can visit her blog.

 Marilyn will be talking about her books & signing them on Sunday, February 6th, 2 p.m., Tulare County Historical Society Meeting, Exeter Museum, 125 S. B. St., Exeter. (in the old Mt. Whitney Power Co. building.)

1 Comment

  1. Always love hearing from Marilyn! Can’t wait for Angel Lost–hope you’ll have copies at PSWA. Madeline


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