Friday, October 18, 2013

Author Marilyn Meredith Discusses Her Protagonist and a Contest

Spirit Shapes CoverIt’s always a pleasure to welcome author Marilyn Meredith back to Thoughts in Progress. Marilyn has two intriguing series I love to follow and she currently has a new release, SPIRIT SHAPES, in her Tempe Crabtree Mystery series.

SPIRIT SHAPES is the 12th installment in the series. Here’s a brief synopsis:

     Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.

Marilyn joins us today to tell “Where Deputy Tempe Crabtree Came From” and tell about a fun contest she has going on. Welcome Marilyn.

Your protagonist is a unique character. She’s a deputy sheriff in a man’s world. In addition, she has a Native American background and is married to a preacher. Can you tell us how her character came about and how she has developed with each installment?

Deputy Tempe Crabtree has evolved since I first started writing about her. In fact, the first two books I wrote with her as the main character were not true to her at all. By the third book, she had become the Tempe that now the true resident deputy of Bear Creek.

(Just in case you wondered, those two books were given new settings and characters.)

Tempe’s appearance is fashioned after a Native American woman I met a long time ago. The personality came from a female police officer I did a ride-along with on the night shift. She revealed a lot about herself while we were together. The fact that she is a resident deputy came from the female resident deputy where I lived when we first moved there. Tempe started out as a combination of these three strong women. 

As I kept writing about Tempe, I came to learn more and more about her. She married Hutch Hutchinson, the pastor of the Bear Creek Community church, when she was at a particular lonely time of her life—and wanted a father for her son. She and Hutch have had some problems in their marriage like all couples do. Hutch doesn’t like it when she uses Indian spiritualism to help solve crimes because he fears for her soul. 

Tempe’s close friendship with Nick Two John has caused Hutch to be jealous at times. Hutch has mellowed and become good friends with Nick too—but it has been a bumpy road. 

Tempe and Hutch also had some problems over the creation of the casino on the reservation. Hutch’s objection was to the gambling, while Tempe saw it as a much needed contribution to the Indians’ economy. 

She has always been the champion of the underdog—who has most often been in the form of someone hastily arrested for murder who may or may not be the guilty party. 

SPIRIT SHAPES follows a different path when Detective Morrison gives her an assignment as part of the investigation of the victim found in a haunted house.

Deputy Tempe Crabtree seems as real to me as any of my friends and relatives. I hope my readers feel the same way.

Marilyn, thanks for joining us again. You have indeed created Tempe to be realistic and likable. She’s one of the protagonist that stays with you long after you close the latest book.

Now let me share a bit about Marilyn for those who aren’t familiar with her.

Marilyn is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. She borrows a lot from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area, including the nearby Tule River Indian Reservation. She does like to remind everyone that she is writing fiction. 

Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. 

For more on Marilyn and her writing, visit her at and follow her blog at

SPIRIT SHAPES is available from the publisher and Amazon in all formats.

The person who comments on the most blogs on this blog tour will have the opportunity to have a character named after him or her in the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting at:

Thanks so much everyone for stopping by today. Do you enjoy stories where cultures are blended together? Remember to follow Marilyn’s blog tour for other opportunities to enter her awesome contest.


  1. I enjoyed Tempe in the first book and have enjoyed seeing her evolve through the years.

  2. Marilyn, thanks again for joining us. It's always fun when you visit. Tempe is one of my favorite protagonist. I enjoy all that she represents. Wishing you much success.

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Marilyn.

    Marilyn - Thanks for sharing the way that Tempe has evolved over time. I think that's one thing that makes characters very appealing - when they don't stay static. I wish you much success.

  4. Tempe Crabtree is quite an interesting character. I love reading behind the scenes stories.

    Hi, Mason!

  5. I am having a heck of a time posting a comment. This is my fourth try. First off, I live in CA so it took me a bit longer to get here. Thank you Mason for having me on your blog--Mason and I have been Internet friends for a long time.

    Kate, Margot and Carol, I'm so glad you found me and enjoyed the post


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