My guest on Blogcritics today is prolific mystery author Marilyn Meredith, who is touring the blogosphere to promote her latest detective novel, Smell of Death. Marilyn shares with us her writing habits and her experience in finding a publisher.
Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your book, and what inspired you to write such a story?
Smell of Death is the fourth in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. In each book, different member of R.B.P.D. are spotlighted. In this book, Officer Stacey Wilbur is the main character. I wanted to let the readers know how a small, female police officer is able to stand on her own among all the men she works with. As for the story itself, in movies and on TV, no matter how gruesome the murder, the viewer can’t imagine how horrible the smells are. Also, my police officer son-in-law used to always say that movies and TV crime show weren’t realistic because in real life, there is never just one case going on at a time. In Smell of Death Rocky Bluff P. D. is searching for a missing toddler, investigating a stalker and some strange burglaries and in the end, some of them intertwine.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this novel? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline? How long did it take you to write it?
I usually have a fair idea of where I’m going when I’m starting a novel. I always develop my characters first before deciding what is going to happen to them and why. Of course, once I start writing, the characters often take off on their own. It usually takes me about six months to finish a book. I always run my manuscripts by my critique group — and sometimes I let them sit for quite a long while before going back over them.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?
Actually, I’ve never really had writer’s block. I have too many ideas squirming around in my brain waiting to get out. I try to stop writing each day at a place where I know what will happen next. Makes it much easier to get started again.
How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?
For this book, I sent it to the publisher who did the third in the series, Fringe Benefits, Tigress Press.com. Before sending a query off to anyone first make sure your manuscript is as good as it possibly can be. Have someone edit it for you — and that someone needs to know what they are doing. Be sure your query has absolutely no typos or spelling errors. Publishers are looking for a reason to reject you because they have so many submissions. Keep your query short and to the point, tell what the book is about in one paragraph, why you were the one to write the book, and any publishing credits.
If you’re young enough and have time, try to find an agent first. All the things I said in the above paragraph pertain to agents too.
What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?
I’ve been thrilled with the virtual book tour. The last one I did brought my Amazon numbers way down — and that’s a good thing. I also have a monthly e-newsletter that I send out that keeps readers informed about what I’m doing. And I’ve learned if I can talk, I’ll sell books. Which means library appearances and places where I can give a presentation work better than a regular book signing.
What is your favorite book of all time? Why?
I don’t really have a favorite book of all time. There are lots of books I love — but often it’s the one I’m reading at the moment. I have favorite writers like Jan Burke, Wm. Kent Krueger, James Lee Burke, but there are many more.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
My website is: Fiction for You and all my books and first chapters are there. Plus you can order most of my books directly from my website is my personal blog where I’m liable to talk about most anything.
Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects.
In August, the next in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Kindred Spirits, will debut. I will be sending my next Rocky Bluff P.D. novel off to the publisher as soon as I go over it one more time. It’s titled, No Sancturary.
Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!
Thank you for letting me chat.