Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn Meredith
"Wing Beat"

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
September 22, 2004

Q. Who is Marilyn Meredith?

A. I'm someone who has been writing all my life--I'm also a wife and mother of five, grandmother to eighteen and great grandmother to seven. I've also been helping others learn how to write and get published for the last fifteen years. Because of my writing, my husband and I have been able to do some interesting traveling together.

Q. What inspired you to write WING BEAT?

A. WINGBEAT is the fifth in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. Because Tempe, Hutch and Blair are as real to me as my friends and relatives and I'm also anxious to see what adventure they are going to have next.

Q. How did you come about Tempe's character?

A. Tempe's character is based on two female law enforcement officers I met. One, a resident deputy like Tempe, I interviewed for the newspaper. The other was the only female officer in a small police department. I did a ride-along with her. From the hours of 2:30 a.m. until 5:30 a.m. she received not one call. During this time period she told me all about what it was like being a female officer--the problems as well as what she loved about her job. Tempe's looks, however, come from a Native American woman that I know, and her name is my great-grandmother's name.

Q. Is mystery the only genre you write in?

A. My first published books were historical family sagas based on my own family's genealogy. My next book was a mystery, and I've been writing mysteries ever since. In the middle somewhere, I wrote to Christian horror novels.

Q. How long have you been writing?

A. Since I was a little girl. In my teenager years I wrote plays for the local kids to act out and a magazine that I illustrated and sold around the neighborhood. When my own children were in school, I was the editor for the PTA newsletter, wrote a few articles for magazines, and plays for my Camp Fire Girls to star in. My youngest was in kindergarten when I began writing my first family saga.

Q. How many books have you written?

A. I'm not really sure. I think 14 have been published but I have others written that are waiting in the wings.

Q. Of all of books you have written, which is your favorite?

A. I always feel like the latest book I've finished writing is my favorite, though I think my first mystery, The Astral Gift, ranks among my best.

Q. Why did you choose to write about a marijuana bust?

A. The county that I live in seems to have more hidden marijuana farms than anywhere else in California. The DEA is always discovering a pot farm on National Park lands or near the Tule River Indian Reservation. (That's the reservation that is disguised as the Bear Creek Reservation in my Tempe books.) Once I interviewed a family for our local newspaper that lived in a place just like the one where the marijuana farm in my book is located. However, their place is not rundown.

Q. Why did you choose to have Hutch's character struggle against a mistaken identity?

A. Because Hutch is a minister with strong faith--I wanted to find something that would shake his faith.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from reading WING BEAT?

A. When I'm writing a book, I don't really think about messages. I hope people will get enjoyment from reading any of my books. I do want to convey the feeling that Tempe and Hutch are very much in love and despite the troubles that may come upon them, their love sustains them.