Sunday, March 17, 2013

What Bugs Guest Blogger: MARILYN MEREDITH?

I'm delighted to introduce my guest Marilyn (alias FM) Meredith. I think you'll quickly see she's
a wonderful writer and a caring person. On Friday, we'll be back to blogging about science and writing.

What Bugs Me
Janet asked me to write about a big issue that bugs me and how I’ve incorporated the issue into my novels.

I had to think about this a bit, but it dawned on me that what had bugged me is the foundation of why I wrote the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series.

In movies, TV and books that have police officers as characters, with few exceptions, too many are either dumb, on the take, alcoholics, perhaps even evil, and womanizers with shaky, if any, family ties. Even the female officers seemed to be seriously flawed, have an addiction, or never be able to sustain a healthy relationship with anyone. (One big exception is Blue Bloods, a fairly TV new series.) But when I started writing the RBPD series, this is how most cops were depicted.

I’ve had several law enforcement officers in my family and am friends with even more. What I’ve seen is that most of them are like the rest of us: they do their jobs to the best of their abilities, have interesting personality quirks, love their wives and families and have problems like all the rest of us.

What I wanted to depict in my mysteries were characters who were more like the men and women in law enforcement that I know. Yes, I’ve known some stinkers and I’ve written about them in a highly fictionalized manner.  I’ve also incorporated the publicity hound, the only female on the force—different gals—and that changes in my latest, Dangerous Impulsesthe cop who uses his job as an advantage, the fellow who has a psychological problem that needs treatment, the police widow, the by-the-book cop, and the officers who are facing all sorts of family problems. Of course, I’ve thrown in a few not so likeable characters here and there.

Trying to avoid stereotypes, I believe I’ve created officers who the reader will enjoy following and cheering on, as they confront crime and their own personal issues. The books are primarily mysteries, but the readers always knows what’s going on in the officers’ families—some issues are bigger than others.

From reviews, I know that one of my readers’ favorite characters is Gordon Butler.  He’s had quite a time of it. His wife was stolen by his training officer, he’s wrecked brand new police cars, and he yearns for a romantic interest. Though he is definitely a rule follower, things don’t seem to work out for him. While he was looking for a place to rent, one of my fans said she thought about letting him sleep in her extra bedroom.

I’ve been fortunate in being a member of the Public Safety Writers Association where I’m friends with many law enforcement officers. I’ve had help from them with plot ideas, and I’ve also been able to observe them and know how diverse they are in personality and looks.

One thing I always remind people, Rocky Bluff P.D. is a fictional police department that resides in my imagination, so I can do things the way I want. As one reviewer said, “Most crimes are solved the old-fashioned way interviewing anyone connected to what’s happened, lots of footwork, and the collection and sorting of clues.”

Now a bit about Dangerous Impulses

An attractive new-hire captivates Officer Gordon Butler, Officer Felix Zachary’s wife Wendy is befuddled by her new baby, Ryan and Barbara Strickland receive unsettling news about her pregnancy, while the bloody murder of a mother and her son and an unidentified drug that sickens teenaged partiers jolts the Rocky Bluff P.D.
Buy link: 


The person who comments on the most blog posts on this tour may have a character named after him or her in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel or choose a book from the previous titles in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series in either paper or for Kindle.

Rocky Bluff P.D. Series:

Though each book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series is written as a stand-alone, I know there are people who like to read a series in order. From the beginning to the end:

Final Respects
Bad Tidings
Fringe Benefits
Smell of Death
No Sanctuary
An Axe to Grind
Angel Lost
No Bells
Dangerous Impulses

F. M. Meredith’s Bio
F.M. is also known as Marilyn Meredith, the author of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. She first became interested in writing about law enforcement when she lived in a neighborhood filled with police officers and their families. The interest was fanned when her daughter married a police officer and the tradition has continued with a grandson and grandson-in-law who are deputies. She’s also serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers Association, and has many friends in different law enforcement fields. For twenty plus years, she and her husband lived in a small beach community located in Southern California much like the fictional Rocky Bluff. She is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Epic, and Mystery Writers of America.

And I’m on Facebook and Twitter as MarilynMeredith