Anything You Do or Say May End Up in One of My Books

by F.M. Meredith

The Rocky Bluff P.D. series has many such happenings. The very first in the series, Final Respects, is about the death of a police officer during a domestic dispute. Though the circumstances are much different in the story I wrote, a real situation triggered the plot.

My son-in-law, who was a police officer, told me many tales about incidents that happened while he was at work. Many of them have turned up in different forms in several of the Rocky Bluff P.D. books, and especially in Bad Tidings. The detective’s wife with breast cancer has many similarities to a good friend of mine and her bout with breast cancer.

The main and mostly bad character in Fringe Benefits was based on an actual cop that I knew—of course he didn’t do all the bad things that happen in the book, but he certainly gave me lots of ideas for the plot.

Smell of Death is based on a real kidnapping of a child, though it happened long ago and I changed a lot of the circumstances. It’s in this book that Officer Stacey Wilbur and Detective Doug Milligan begin to notice each other in a much different way than as fellow officers. The title and some of the plot came from my son-in-law telling me that movies and TV shows aren’t able to portray the worst part of a crime scene—the smell.

No Sanctuary is about two churches, two ministers, two wives and one death. Though I’ve never been in a church where the ministers were quite like these two guys, I once belonged to a church where the minister had an affair with the choir director and I learned about it from the church secretary. This book has a choir director and church secretary much like the ones I knew. One of the side plots about a pedophile came from a female vice-officer who told her stories at a Sisters in Crime meeting.

The latest in this series, An Axe to Grind, also has a tie-in to a Sisters in Crime meeting. The guest speaker was a coroner and he delighted in showing us the grisly crime scene slides where the victim had been decapitated. The opening scene of this book is the discovery of a decapitated murder victim.

A ride-along with the only female police officer on the department gave me a lot of fodder for writing about my character,  Stacey Wilbur. From three o’clock in the morning until six, the lady cop didn’t have a single call. As we rode around the city, she bared her heart to me, telling me all about what it was like to be the only woman with a bunch of guys, and how hard it was to be a single mom raising a son on her own. I used a lot of what she told me to create Stacey Wilbur.

This is fair warning, if you meet me, don’t share anything you wouldn’t want to see in a book. However, don’t worry about it, because I change things enough no one would ever recognize that it came from you.


F.M. Meredith a.k.a. Marilyn Meredith is the author of nearly thirty published novels. Under the name of F. M. Meredith she writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. No Sanctuary was a finalist in the Epic 2009 best in e-book mystery/suspense category. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Epic, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers Association. She was an instructor for Writers Digest School for many years, served as an instructor at the Maui Writers Retreat and many other writers’ conferences.


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4 Responses to Anything You Do or Say May End Up in One of My Books

  1. My lips are sealed, Marilyn.

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Thanks for having me today and letting me confess one of my secret vices. I also like to eavesdrop on conversations in restaurants for ideas.


  3. W.S. Gager says:

    Marilyn: I take things I’ve run across during my days as a reporter, change them up a bit and then use them in my books. Truth is usually stranger than fiction.

  4. You can feel free to write about me anytime. I’m sure you could make my life more interesting than it really is. LOL!

    Thanks for hosting Marilyn today, Lisa. It’s great to be here.


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