Marilyn Meredith married the cute sailor she met on a blind date nearly sixty years ago. They raised five children in a beach community much like Rocky Bluff and now live in the Southern Sierra in a place which resembles Bear Creek. She spends a great amount of time writing and promoting but also loves being with her children, 18 grandchildren and 11 great grands. They share their home with three independent inside cats and hubby cares for who knows how many visiting cats.
It Takes Guts and A Bit More
by Marilyn Meredith
Often, I have people ask what ever gave me the idea or guts to write about people in law enforcement since I’ve never been in law enforcement myself.
It all began long ago. First, I had an uncle who was an L.A.P.D. motorcycle cop who often got to escort important people and talked about it a lot. When I was a young teen I babysat for a family with two kids and the dad was a police officer. (He always left his gun loaded and told me where it was in case I needed it. I think I was about 13 at the time.)
When we bought our first house it was in a development where the down payment was a mere $100 and no, that’s not a typo, located near the Port Hueneme Naval Base. Among our neighbors were other sailors like my husband and a lot of police officers who were also among the lowest paid. We became good friends with the cops and their wives, and my eldest daughter started babysitting with some of the kids when she was only 10. (It was a different time, but I don’t think anyone told her where a gun was.)
A few years later, my youngest daughter married a police officer. He came to my house for coffee every morning after his shift and always said, “Hey mom, you want to hear what I did last night?” Of course I did. I even went on a ride-along with him after promising to not mention to anyone that I was his mother-in-law. By this time I was formulating my Rocky Bluff P.D. series with the intention of focusing on how the job affects the families and what is happening at home affects the man on the job.
Years passed and we moved from the beach area to the foothills of the Sierra where we now live. For awhile I worked for the local newspaper interviewing people for personality pieces. One of my interviewees was the female resident deputy for the town where we live. Later, I went on a ride-along with the only female officer in a small department and from about 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. she poured out her heart about the problems of being working with an all male crew and being a single mom. And one more person came along, a young Native American woman. We were together for a long period of time and she told me all about growing up on the nearby reservation and some of the problems of attending school and being an Indian.
Anyone who has read my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries has probably figured out that the three women became my Tempe. I’ve had a great time writing both of these series, drawing a lot on what I saw in real life, a great deal of research, and a generous helping of imagination. After all, I am writing fiction.
The Rocky Bluff series began as a single book, but I wanted to know what happened next and to other characters and so the series began. Many of the characters appear in each book, but often the book is more about one or two characters than the others. In the book that will probably be out in March, Angel Lost, the focus is on Officer Stacey Wilbur and Detective Doug Milligan who are planning their wedding, but a lot comes along to interfere, a man who exposes himself to female joggers on the beach, Sergeant Navarro’s mother wandering from home, an angel appearing in a furniture window, and something horrifying happening to Stacey.
Invisible Path is the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series and though Christmas is coming, Tempe is busy trying to find out about a mysterious group of pseudo-soldiers who seem to be operating from somewhere in the forest and is asked to help with the investigation into the murder of a popular young Indian man on the reservation.
I’ve had people ask how long I’m going to continue these series, and I suppose the answer is as long as I remain curious enough to find out what is going to happen to all these people next.
Thanks, Kaye for having me on your blog again.