I couldn't help using that line in the title. It was way to tempting. (G) Seriously, I'm happy to be hosting Marilyn a/k/a F.M. Meredith on our blog today. She's a vibrant member of the mystery community, with lots of energy and talent. I'm particularly happy that Marilyn is one of the members of the mystery blog, Make Mine Mystery, but that's not all she does. - Morgan Mandel
She is a member of EPIC, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She was an instructor for Writer’s Digest School for ten years, served as an instructor at the Maui Writer’s Retreat and many other writer’s conferences. For over twenty years she lived in a beach community similar to Rocky Bluff.
You can visit the author online at http://fictionforyou.com/ and her blog at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/
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 fiancée 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.
Here's what our Axe Grinder has to say:
Why I’m Writing About a Fictional Place by F.M. Meredith
My Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series is about a police department located in a small Southern California beach community in Ventura County between Santa Barbara and Ventura. I didn’t want to write about a real place. I’ve found it easier to make up the setting because the restaurants and stores I mention won’t go out of business before the book is published.
When I wrote the first book in the series my goal was to show how the family affects the policeman on the job and the job affects the police officer’s family. When we lived in a similar beach community, our first home was in a neighborhood full of cops. We partied with them, our kids played together, and the wives and I had coffee. A few years later, my daughter married a police officer and I had an even more intimate view of the relationship of the job and the family.
Though there are on-going characters, each book features different officers and the crimes they are working on, as well as what is going on in their private lives.
Though I do try to use solid police procedure, because the town of Rocky Bluff is small, as is their police department, they don’t have all the up-to-date equipment of a larger department. Crimes are solved more by old-fashioned detecting rather than by using all the forensics as seen on most of the popular TV shows.
I belong to the Public Safety Writers Association where most of the members are linked to law enforcement in some way, so I do have experts to ask when need be. However, when I’m talking to them about my books, I always say, “Remember this is my police department and I can do it anyway I want.” The statement always gets a laugh and they are forgiving when they read my books.
One thing about writing about a fictional place, I must keep track of all the businesses I’ve made up, where landmarks are located, which way the streets go, and anything else that I might have mentioned in another book. This is as important as keeping track of all the attributes of the characters.
Sometimes my protagonists go to a real city. In An Axe to Grind, Detective Doug Milligan goes to the Santa Barbara University campus to locate a suspect. I had to do some research to find out what the part I was writing about looked like and how the campus police operated. In the same book, Detective Milligan and his partner go to Ventura. I’m familiar with the part of Ventura I wrote about.
Though Rocky Bluff is a fictional place, it seems very real to me. I can see it in my mind just as well as I can see all the real spots that I’ve visited over the years. The town is located right on the coast, though on the north side there is a bluff where the wealthier people live. Along the beach are older, small homes, once vacation spots for people from out of town, but now mostly rentals. I could go on, but you get the idea. I know Rocky Bluff as well as I know the people who live there and inhabit my books.
F.M. Meredith a.k.a. Marilyn Meredith
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