Thursday, March 18, 2010

Author Guest Post - F.M. Meredith

Readers, please join me welcoming F.M. Meredith who's guest blogging here today. F. M. Meredith, who also writes under the name Marilyn Meredith, is the author of nearly thirty published novels including the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, An Axe to Grind is the newest from Oak Tree Press.

About the book - Detective Doug Milligan and his partner question suspects in the murder of a stalker including the stalker's target, her boyfriend, father and brother, as well as the stalker’s step-father. The investigation leaves little time for Doug to see his fiancĂ©e and fellow officer, Stacey Wilbur. Stacey handles a molestation case which involves the son of a friend. She and her mother talk wedding plans, though all must wait until Doug's renter, Officer Gordon Butler finds another place to live. When Doug disappears while tailing a suspect, Stacey sets out to find him, hoping she can reach him time.

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? 

That’s a common question authors are asked. Of course I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ll tell you where my ideas come from, staring with my latest book, An Axe to Grind.

I’m a member of the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime and go to meetings as often as possible. If the speaker is going to be a law enforcement officer or any other form of public safety personnel who comes in contact with criminals or crimes, I’m going to make an effort to be there.

At one meeting, the county coroner was the speaker. He brought grisly slides of murder victims to show. His portion of the meeting was right before we ate lunch and he took special delight in describing in great detail what he showed on the screen. Since most of the women present were middle-aged or older, I think he thought he’d make us sick. We disappointed him.

I always take a notebook when I attend any of these meetings. He showed a slide of a corpse with a missing head. He talked about what kind of crime he’d thought it was when he first arrived on the scene, the jokes the cops made, and where the head turned up. Though his meeting was several years ago, I kept my notes.

You can see how I used the information in the opening pages of An Axe to Grind.

We also had a professor of criminology speak to us about stalkers and I put the information I learned from him to good use in the same book. There are some other things that happen in this particular book that came directly from speakers at our meetings.

Taking notes about everything and anything that piques my interest may at one time or another be fodder for one of my books. For the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, I’m particularly interested in crimes that happen in small towns, and even better, those that happen in or near beach communities.

Whenever I’m on a trip, especially to the coast, I pay close attention to what the houses and small shops and stores look like. Since Rocky Bluff is a fictional community, I can insert some of the things that I see into the setting, especially if it’s going to help move the plot along.

I’ve always collected newspaper articles about intriguing crimes. Of course I’m not going to write about them exactly as they happened, but asking the great question, “What if?” I can go from there and come up with something interesting that will work for my mystery.

Sometimes people tell me about crimes that happen in their own families. Again, I’d never write it as it happened, but from what they’ve told me, I can jump ahead with a whole idea of my own.

To tell the truth, ideas come flooding in all the time from everywhere. It’s mainly a matter of keeping my eyes open and my ears tuned in. And I’m not above eavesdropping on conversations in restaurants either. And isn’t it amazing what people will say when talking on cell phones? You’d think they’d lower their voices when discussing intimate details or business transactions. It’s all fodder for the next mystery.

An Axe to Grind is just one example of ideas gathered from many places to weave into a plot for a crime novel.

Marilyn Meredith
Great  tips there, Meredith. Thanks for sharing them with us! As always, feel free to ask the author questions or leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration. This is part of a virtual blog tour by Pump Up Your Book Promotion.
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  1. Thanks for hosting Marilyn today. She always comes up with great guest posts. There's a video trailer on YouTube if your readers would like to see it. I've loved this series since Smell of Death. I hope your readers do too.


    Pump Up Your Book

  2. Thank you so much for hosting me today. I certainly hope that everyone who always asks where ideas come from will read this.


  3. Oh I love mystery and PI's. LOL .Marilyn, thanks for stopping by and I love to learn the little bits and pieces authors tell us on how they write, where they get their ideas, etc.
    I will be adding this one to my to buy list.

    Thanks again for stopping by and Thank you Rashmi for hosting Marilyn's stop today.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  4. The most interesting part of the book is the murder of the stalker which involves a lot of people. That's very unlikely, right?!

  5. Read the book and judge for yourself whether or not the murder of the stalker and those who might have have done it is unlikely or not. You might be surprised.