An interview with Marilyn Meredith

Author Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn Meredith is a wonderful author and a great friend in general. She’s diligent, talented and approachable – always ready to help or offer advice. Here’s what she’s brought to share with us today:

PJ: Marilyn, how long have you been writing?

Marilyn: As long as I can remember, and that’s a long, long time. When I was about 10, I wrote a fairy tale and illustrated it. I sent if off to a publisher (with my mom’s help) and received my first rejection—a very nice one.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful or satisfied as a writer?

Marilyn: I’m not sure I’ve reached that point. The fact that I have two publishers who routinely accept my work is most satisfying—but I haven’t ever felt successful. Perhaps fulfilled is the better word, because I’m writing and others can read what I’ve written.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

Marilyn: Though writing was something I always did, I’m not sure I had any thoughts about what “the writing life” would be. I met many authors along the way who were “famous” like Mary Higgins Clark and Jan Burke and I never thought my life would be like theirs. For me, it’s sitting down in front of the computer and writing—but also spending a lot of time promoting too. I don’t know that I ever thought I’d have to spend so much time at the promotion part.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

Marilyn: This writer is not wealthy. In fact sometimes when I see the total on my royalties I have to laugh. By the time everyone gets their cut, be it Amazon or Ingram, the bookstore, the publisher, my part is very small.

PJ: Sounds familiar! Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Since you’ve been published, how has your focus changed?

Marilyn: I’ve been published since 1981. But that first book really didn’t open doors for me. The editor that signed me on left the publishing house and I had to start all over. I got many, many rejections after that.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

Marilyn: This was back in the day of typewriters and carbon paper and mailing the whole manuscript off in a box with another self-addressed and stamped box inside so the manuscript could be returned. That first book was rejected close to 30 times. About every 5th time it came back, the pages would have coffee and food stains and smell like cigarette smoke. This meant I had to retype so I often rewrote too.  I don’t remember the actual time period, but I moved from one town to another and received the acceptance letter at my new place of residence.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

Marilyn: With that first book I had no idea what I was supposed to do to promote it. I did set up one book signing which was successful, but that’s all. I got no guidance from the publisher about what I ought to be doing and I have no idea what happened at the publishing house’s end—if anything. Back in that time period there weren’t all the suggestions for promotions like there are now. So sure, I’d have at least set up some speaking engagements and other bookstores for signings.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

Marilyn: This is what’s going on with me at the moment. I have a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery at the publisher’s right now. Usually that series comes out in the early fall, which means I’ll have edits to go over in a couple of months. I’m also writing a new one in that series. I try to work on it for at least two hours at least five days a week.

I’m reading chapters of my next Rocky Bluff P.D. to my critique group every week and then editing them.

My latest Rocky Bluff P.D. is out now and I’m in the process of a month long blog tour which takes a lot of time to promote and while that was going on I did another smaller tour with 7 other authors over a period of 14 days—also time consuming. I have several speaking engagements planned, mostly libraries and I’m scheduled to have a booth at two craft fairs this year.

PJ: Wow, that’s incredible! You must be very good at time management! What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

Marilyn: After being a runner-up for an Epic e-award enough times to feel like the Susan Lucci of Epic, this year I won an Epic e-award for my supernatural romance, Lingering Spirit. I was thrilled. (Epic is the organization for e-published authors and publishers.)

PJ: Congratulations! That’s well-deserved. What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

Marilyn: I really can’t think of anything except I wish I had more readers.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

Marilyn: When someone comes up to me or writes on a blog that they love one of my series or a particular character, that’s a most wonderful feeling.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

Marilyn: My Deputy Tempe Crabtree series has a lot of Native American mysticism in it and is set in a small mountain community in the Southern Sierra—a place where no other series I know of is set. It is very much like the place where I live though I’ve changed the name to Bear Creek.

In my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, there is a cast of characters who make appearances in every book, though I usually focus on one or two for each book. I think this series could be described as almost a cozy police procedural.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Marilyn: If money is your goal, you should probably do something else. If you truly want to be a published author, read the kind of books you want to write, attend writers’ conferences, read books on writing, but the two most important things are to write regularly and never give up.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

Marilyn: Probably being visible on the Internet though blog tours, my own blog, Facebook etc. Though I really enjoy giving presentations at writers’ conferences and libraries or anywhere else I’m invited.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Marilyn: Making the contacts for personal appearances—I do not like to make phone calls.

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

Marilyn at Willow Bridge Books

Marilyn: Willow Bridge Bookstore in Oakhurst, California has been very supportive—and I must mention Kris Neri’s Well Red Coyote Bookstore in Sedona AZ. I’ve given several presentations there.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

I’ve listed them latest first:

The Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, set in a fictional beach city betweenVenturaandSanta Barbaraand written under the name F. M. Meredith

No Bells

Angel Lost

An Axe to Grind

No Sanctuary

Smell of Death

Fringe Benefits

Bad Tidings

Final Respects

The Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, set in the Southern Sierra, Native American.

Bears With Us

Invisible Path

Dispel the Mist

Kindred Spirits

Judgment Fire

Calling the Dead

Intervention

WingBeat

Unequally Yoked

Deadly Omen

Deadly Trail

(the next in the series will be available this fall, called Raging Water

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

In No Bells, 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.

PJ: Where can we buy it?

Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It is with Ingram so can be ordered by an independent bookstore.

Thank you so much for stopping by! That’s quite an impressive list of titles you have there. I intend to pick up a few myself, and hope others will do likewise. Anyone have a question or comment for Marilyn?

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29 thoughts on “An interview with Marilyn Meredith

  1. marilynm says:

    In the photos I’m doing what I like to do best, making a personal appearance where I can talk about writing and my books. Thank you so much for having me toda, PJ. It’s been years since I seen your personally, we’ll have to figure out a way to get togehter.

  2. marilynm says:

    Of course I meant together. Commented too early in the a.m.

  3. mysteriestodiefor says:

    I remember that shot taken at Coalesce, Marilyn. Good one.

  4. jblinco says:

    Great interview. Always enjoy photos. Reading several of your latest currently. Full collection of your works almost complete. Thanks for all my hours of enjoyable reading.

  5. mysteriestodiefor says:

    I remember that shot taken at Coalesce, Marilyn. It’s a great one.

  6. Anne K. Albert says:

    One thing I always make time for in my day to do is read an interview or blog post that features Ms. Marilyn. She inspires me, and I am sure, so many other authors…to well, just be better. A better writer, a better blogger, as well as better at time management. I often wonder if Marilyn has cloned herself to achieve what she does! I’m also looking forward to the e-release of No Bells. Can’t wait!

    Thanks, PJ, and thank you, Marilyn!

  7. Great interview… I recognize that place!

  8. marilynm says:

    No Bells is available on Kindle now, Anne. I wish I did have a clone. ha ha!

  9. mmgornell says:

    Everything Anne said, and more. Marilyn is my ever-bright guiding light. Great interview.

    Madeline

  10. Great interview. Marilyn, I enjoyed learning more about you and your books.

  11. Larry K. & Lorna Collins - Authors says:

    Nice interview. Wish we could be with yhou in September in Visalia, but this is Larry’s 50th reunion. That only happens once! Let us know if you find anything else. We ,miss you and Hap.

  12. marilynm says:

    It seems that there are always conflicting dates. With my huge family it always seem someone is getting married when I’ve planned something else. I go to the wedding, of course. We’ll figure out something to get to togehter, Lorna, one of these days.

  13. marilynm says:

    Please don’t judge me by all my typos. Trying to get too much done in too short a time.

  14. Pat Reid says:

    I just finished “No Bells” and really enjoyed it. Keep up the good work.

  15. EARL STAGGS says:

    Marilyn, you are a wonder and an inspiration. Everytime I read about all you do and have done, I feel like a lazy slacker. That’s a good thing. It makes me want to work harder.

  16. marilynm says:

    Thanks, Earl. I don’t really do all that much–I just let everyone know about what I do.

    Marilyn

  17. radine says:

    I think I have read all books in the Tempe Crabtree series and most all in Rocky Bluff. I am NEVER disappointed and look forward to each new entry. By the way, PJ, I have tried to follow this blog and have never been able to get my request to take. Perhaps it’s because of weak Internet service. But now, I’ll try and get this comment to “take.”

  18. Marilyn: I’m a published author too and your advice to any writer who has big money in mind was right on. It took an IRS investigation to show me what I made in black and white didn’t even pay for supplies when you count in a new computer, a bill for getting rid of a virus and of course just plain old ink carridges. I stopped signing contracts and started e-publishing, I just know yours would really sell well if you haven’t tried digital yet. You’re a great writer and I’m glad to meet you on Facebook 🙂
    Good luck and good reading to all of us,
    Jackie

    • marilynm says:

      Hi, Jackie, my books are all on Kindle and Nook and other such places. However, I’m with small presses that do both. I think we may have met years ago at a Bouchercon.

      Glad to see you here.

      Marilyn

  19. Hello Marilyn,
    I enjoyed reading your post here, and will look for your books on Kindle. I like series with returning characters and familiar settings. My greatest disappointment as a mystery fan was when Jessica Fletcher left the coast of Maine and starting appearing instead in New York City. Her character and victims were so different there, and the sense of series was lost. It makes more sense to have different series in different settings.

    I look forward to reading your work, and will post reviews as I read them at http://terrysthoughtsandthreads.blogspom.com and at Amazon.

    ps – I’ve just begun my first fiction book and one of the characters is named Marilyn! I’ve only written non-fiction up to this point, but have read and reviewed many, many mysteries am am ready now to write my own. You are inspiring!

  20. marilynm says:

    Hi, Terry, I’m thrilled that you plan to read my books. Let me know what you think.

    Marilyn

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