Monday, December 17, 2012

Meet Tempe Crabtee and Marilyn Meredith

Today is a special treat for us. Our new friend and fellow author Marilyn Meredith brings Tempe Crabtree to tell us about Raging Waters, the latest in her mystery series. Welcome Marilyn and Tempe!
Where are you from, Tempe? I’m the resident deputy of the community of Bear Creek and its surroundings in the high country of this part of the Southern Sierra. (Central California foothills and mountains.)
Tell us a bit about Raging Water. As usual, I have many issues to deal with: a burglar who sneaks into people’s houses while they are sleeping, the murders of two women who happen to be friends, the rising water of Bear Creek that is flooding the low-lying homes along its banks, finding places for displaced people to stay and be fed, and finally, a mud slide that cuts off the town from the rest of the world.
What made you choose law enforcement as a profession? My first husband and the father of my son was a Highway Patrolman. When he was killed in the line-of-duty, going to the police academy to become a deputy seemed like the logical path for me to take. My long-lasting assignment in Bear Creek has worked out wonderfully.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with it? Yes, I would, especially now that I know how satisfying it has been for me. The one thing I might do differently if I started again, would be to learn more about my Native American heritage right away.
What is your biggest fear? I’m not sure. The nature of my job is that I have to ignore my fears. I’ve been threatened by everything from murderers to bears. At those times, any fear I may have had was pushed away while I figured out the best way to confront the problem.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? That’s a hard one to answer. I don’t have a whole lot of time to read. I do enjoy reading about Joanna Brady, J.A. Jance’s female sheriff.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Probably that from my husband, Hutch, who is also a pastor, to ask God for help, though I must confess, I also get a lot of good advice, though I don’t always understand it, from my Indian friend, Nick Two John.
Now it's Marilyn's turn: Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, [or both] have had a major impact on your writing? Tony Hillerman is the first author who interested me in writing about Indians. The writer I learned the most from I met early in my writing career, Willma Gore. We were in the same writing critique group for years and she taught me more than anyone or any writing conference I ever attended.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? Because Raging Water is the latest in a series, I didn’t do a whole lot of research for this particular book. I have done much in the way of research along the way for others books before this one. I’ve researched lots of legends that are passed on by the Indians on the nearby reservation and I borrow a lot from them.

For the book before this one, Bears With Us, I did a lot of research about the bears in our mountains and learned a lot from my son-in-law who is a police officer in a similar mountain community and spent the end of summer chasing bears out of homes.

We’ve experienced flooding conditions where I live (the town that I based Bear Creek on) and I know what happens and has happened in the past. The two murders are based on something that actually happened to two women here—though they were never declared to be murders.

Marilyn brought an excerpt from Raging Water:
Miqui Sherwood woke from a sound sleep. A floor board creaked. She raised her head and listened. No, she wasn’t imagining things. There it was again. Someone was in her house. Neither Cleopatra nor Blondie stirred from their comfy spot tucked beside the bend in her knees. No wonder, her two darling pets were both old and hard of hearing.
Maybe it was that raccoon again who had sneaked in through the doggie door. No. It took more weight than that to make a floor-board creak.
Someone was in the house. She’d heard from several of her friends, that they’d been burglarized but didn’t know when it happened. Well, she knew, because it was happening to her right now. Crap.
She eased out of bed as quietly as possible. What should she do? She didn’t own a gun, didn’t know how to use one, and wasn’t sure she would if she did have one. She scooped up her dogs and plucked her cell phone off the nightstand.
With her heart thumping madly, she tiptoed across to the other side of her large master bedroom and opened the door to the walk-in closet. Besides her clothes, this was one of the places she stored many of her holiday decorations, and since she still had her Christmas decorations out, the back was fairly empty.
Her Christmas decorations. She prayed the intruder didn’t share a fondness for any of her collectibles handed down to her from her mother and grandmother, priceless and irreplaceable. She adored each and every one.
Cleopatra and Blondie squirmed in her arms, letting her know they wanted down.
Miqui yanked a blanket off a shelf and put it on the floor. Carefully, she set the dogs down. Within minutes they both emitted soft snores, already back to sleep. So much for being any kind of protection.
Her bedroom was at the end of a long hall. She thought she heard the door to one of the spare bedrooms open. Good heavens, why was she waiting to make a phone call? She punched in the home phone number for Deputy Crabtree, the resident deputy of the mountain community of Bear Creek. Calling 9-1-1 would take longer, and someone else might be sent. She knew the deputy lived close by. It seemed as though it took forever for the phone to start ringing.
Two rings later, a sleepy sounding female voice answered. “Crabtree.”
“This is Miqui Sherwood,” she whispered. “I think there’s someone in my house.”

Thanks for offering us a bit of your story, Marilyn. Can you tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? Mundania Press is my publisher. I’d heard about them for a long time. When my former publisher died, I approached the publisher at a convention cocktail party and asked him if he’d be interested in picking up the series As they say, the rest is history. It’s been great, because I never have to send in a query or a synopsis. When I have a book done, I submit the manuscript as an attachment.
Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? On the Mundania website, they have explicit guidelines on how to submit. When I turn in a new manuscript, it takes about 9 months for the whole process. The book is edited and sent to me, I approve or change the edits. A galley copy is sent to me and I have to make any corrections and send them in. From that point it isn’t long before the book becomes an e-book and then a trade paperback.

That sounds easy—but when I began, my first book was rejected nearly 30 times before it was accepted. Then it was two years before publication.
To learn more about Marilyn Meredith and the stories she creates go to: and
To purchase Raging Water go to:
or any of the usual places.


  1. Thank you so much for allowing Tempe and me to visit today. We are thrilled to be here.

  2. Marilyn: Great interview. I would love to hear more about what Wilma Gore taught you. That is great that she was in your critique group. My critique group is the best.
    W.S. Gager on Writing

  3. Always great hearing from you, Marilyn. Tony Hillerman was special to me too.


  4. Marilyn, what a good and comprehensive interview. I don't know how you and Wendy find time for critique groups. I belonged to one years ago, but, sadly, after my dear friend and writing leader passed away, the group fell apart.


    1. Monti: I find if I don't have the group, I'm not as productive. There is a certain push to have a chapter each week for the group. That pressure helps me and when I get stuck, they give ideas on where to go. It would take me twice as long to write without them.
      W.S. Gager on Writing

  5. Enjoyed learning a bit more about Tempe.

  6. One of my favorite books which you have written. Always enjoy your interviews & finding new book sites. Have a great day.

  7. Spine-tingling excerpt. I really enjoy that you have Tempe learning about her heritage. It creates even more interest in the stories for me, and they're already interesting enough.
    Marja McGraw

  8. I've been without a monitor and unable to respond. I am so happy you all made a comment. My friend Willma taught me about dialogue--using action as dialogue tags, pacing, and so much more.