Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Unresolved and Research

I’m always happy to welcome author F. M. aka Marilyn Meredith back to Thoughts in Progress.

Today this delightful author joins us to talk about UNRESOLVED, the latest release in her Rocky Bluff P.D. series, and how she went about her research for this book and the others in the series.

UNRESOLVED, book #13 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series:

Rocky Bluff P.D. is underpaid and understaffed and when two dead bodies turn up, the department is stretched to the limit. The mayor is the first body discovered, the second an older woman whose death is caused in a bizarre manner. Because no one liked the mayor, including his estranged wife and the members of the city council, the suspects are many, but each one has an alibi.

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to F. M. aka Marilyn. Welcome, Marilyn.

Unlike many other authors who write police procedurals I’m not and never have been in law enforcement. The closest I’ve come is doing ride-alongs. In order to write the type of mysteries I write I do have to do some research.

Over the years, I’ve had many resources for finding out the right way to do things. First, was my son-in-law a fifteen year veteran police officer. I joined the Public Safety Writers Association several years ago and have made friends with many people in law enforcement, men and women, who have graciously answered many of my questions.

When it comes to “interesting” ways to kill people, I’ve had lots of help. One of my Facebook friends suggested a method I’d never heard of and I found details on the Internet. It’s true that you can find out most anything that way.

For one of the murders in Unresolved one of the members of my critique group gave me the idea. I checked on the Internet to make sure I got it right, and sure enough, someone had accidentally killed themselves in that same manner.

Recently I asked on Facebook for methods of murder that were readily available that an older person might use and received over 100 suggestions.

I’m emailed other experts about information I need to know for other books such as how the campus police patrol a certain university as well as the location of particular places on the campus, and what a body would look like that had been in the ocean for a couple of days, 

Though the experts have often said, “Write what you know about,” my advice is to write about what you can find out about. And believe me, with a bit of digging you can discover the answers to almost any question you might have.

F. M. aka Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn, thanks for joining us today. I think you’re right, you can find just about anything on the internet.

Copies of UNRESOLVED may be purchased from Book and Table by emailing bookandtablevaldosta@gmail.com with a 10% discount and free shipping as well as all the usual places.

Next stop on May 10 The Value of a Critique Group

For those of you not familiar with Marilyn, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author F.M. Meredith at Madera Library 2017
F. M. Meredith lived for many years in a small beach community much like Rocky Bluff. She has many relatives and friends who are in law enforcement and share their experiences and expertise with her. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for 10 years, and was an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences.

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

She lives in the foothills of the Sierra.

For more on Marilyn and her writing, visit her website and blog, as well as connect with her on Facebook.

Thanks for stopping by today. Do you think you can find just about anything on the internet? What is the most unusual thing you’ve ever looked up on the internet?


  1. You can indeed find almost anything on the internet. And some days I shudder thinking what my search categories say about me.
    Congratulations Marilyn. I hope the thirteenth in the series proves lucky for you.

    1. Yes, I wonder if some of my research hasn't put me on a person of interest list! Thanks for the comment.

  2. You don't have to be the smartest writer, you just have to know where to find the answers. A hundred ways an older person could kill himself? That one almost worries me.
    Congratulations, Marilyn!

    1. Hi Alex, since I'm older and hubby too, of course, I had people saying someone better watch out for him. Thanks for commenting, Alex.

  3. I think it's fascinating to learn how authors go about their research. It's knowing where to get the answers that count! Thanks for sharing, both.

    1. Margot, research is so much easier today than when I began writing.

  4. I am so happy to be on this blog today--and I appreciate the opportunity.

  5. Interesting, Marilyn, to read about your research tactics. I would never have thought about doing a 'murder method survey'!

    1. Hi, Diane, that was fun, I got so many answers, over 100, all of them good ideas.I was specific that it had to be something that would kill an older person and be handy.

  6. Your blog confirms my experience that our FB friends are a remarkable source of information and support.

    1. Hi, Susan. I love Facebook for those reasons plus it keeps me in touch with my family and friends who don't live near. Thanks for the comment.

  7. SOmething tells me that dinner conversation in restaurants with you and other writers can get very interesting..especially when the other patrons have no idea what you do. :)

  8. Oh yes. Once I had dinner with a PSWA true crime writer, and he told me about all the local murders in great detail--the waiter never lingered around us. Great fun!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.