Marilyn Meredith, who also writes as F.M. Meredith, has long been a favorite of mine, and it’s not just because she’s a nice lady with the energy of five Marines. Her mysteries, whether they take place in Rocky Bluff with Detective Doug Milligan (written as F.M. Meredith) or near the Bear Creek Indian Reservation with Deputy Tempe Crabtree, Marilyn’s characters are warm and completely human. Someone who might live next door. (Except the killer, hopefully.) You feel as if you’re visiting with family. She also has many standalones in several genres.
Marilyn is currently answering fan questions on her blog, called Marilyn’s Musings. She gamely agreed to answer my questions. So, here’s the person behind the author.
Marilyn, thank you so much for agreeing to answer my questions and letting readers meet the person behind the author.
Can you give us an example of a piece of research for a book that you especially enjoyed doing? Why was it so much fun?
For the latest in the Rocky Bluff mystery series, Not As We Knew It, I spent time with my grandson who is a police officer and questioned him about how the virus affected his police department and policing. He has a wry sense of humor, and after giving me lots of information, he ended with, “You can do it anyway you want; you’re writing fiction.” He’s a great guy, tells fascinating tales about the job, and I enjoy spending time with him.
Many books, especially cozies, have recipes. I, myself, have bought mysteries for the recipes! Do you have a favorite recipe that you can share with readers? Especially one that character would love to make or eat. Extra points if it’s under five ingredients. (This might be cheating, as Marilyn has a cookbook out.)
I always write about what my characters eat. Probably because I really like to eat, and I’m often hungry when I’m writing. In this particular series, often it’s take-out because of the characters busy lives. However, when I do write about something someone has prepared, it’s often Mexican food. At my house, one of our favorites is the salsa my daughter-in-law makes. I don’t think she has a recipe but depending upon how much you want to make, the ingredients are: lots of avocadoes, lots of tomatoes, red onions, cilantro—all chopped. Lemon juice, for those who like a bit of temperature, a chopped jalapeno pepper—and how much depends upon you. Mix all together and serve any way you want. We usually have rice, chicken, and tortillas with it.
What piece of advice would you give your character when everything seems hopeless? Advice you would give your best friend.
For Detective Doug Milligan, “Slow down and enjoy your family.” It’s hard to do when you’re one of two detectives in a small, understaffed police department.
If you could hang out with one of your characters, which would you choose, and what would you do?
I think I’d choose to hang out with the police chief, Chandra Taylor. She’s fairly new and working under difficult conditions. She’s a lot like a woman I knew at one time who had some of Chandra’s attributes. I’d like to spend time with Chandra on the job, watch and listen to her making hard decisions. And when we are alone, find out how she truly feels about the mayor Devon Duvall, and their on and off again romantic relationship.
What is your favorite word or phrase that serves as a substitute for swearing?
“Oh, for Pete’s sake.” I don’t even know a Pete, but it works for me. My dad always used, “Dag nab it.”
Out of the books you have written, which is your favorite, and why?
It’s hard to pick a favorite. In this particular series, though, I like this one because I had fun writing it despite. or maybe because of, what is going on with the world right now. I also had a good time writing Bones in the Attic, which is set during Halloween, and the teens in the series.
Thank you so much, Marilyn, for dropping by.
Not As We Knew It:
The challenges come one after another for the Rocky Bluff P.D. to handle―from a missing woman to a fatal house fire. Detective Doug Milligan is faced with new and unusual problems to solve, some on the job and others related to his family. With the department shorthanded because of the Covid virus, Chief Chandra Taylor must make some hard decisions in order to protect the town of Rocky Bluff.