July 28, 2010

Marilyn Meredith’s Lingering Spirit

It’s my pleasure to bring to you this week a profile of one of my author friends, Marilyn Meredith. First, my own review of her lovely book, LINGERING SPIRIT, which impressed me so much I wanted all my own readers to know about it.  The original review can be found on her book pages at Amazon.com, among other places:

Uber-prolific and talented author Marilyn Meredith has put aside her mystery writing for just a little while to write what is essentially a love story loosely based on something that happened in her own family, and in the process she has managed to capture the essence of a young woman, Nicole Ainsworth, trying to cope with the tragic loss of her husband.  At the same time, Meredith manages to interject mystery elements that will keep you guessing until the end.

Nicole’s police officer husband, Steve, who uprooted their family to provide them with a more peaceful existence than the one they were previously living in, had been having premonitions of danger, but never dreamed anything would happen in what he felt was a safe, almost hidden location in the northern California mountains.  However, it did happen.  Steve is killed and Nicole is left to try and get her life and that of her two young daughters back to some semblance of normalcy.

Then strange things begin to happen.  Nicole thinks maybe she’s losing her mind because Steve’s spirit appears to be still around, trying to tell or show her things. At the same time, Steve’s friends at the police department try to help her out, including a stranger who pops in and out of her life with disturbing frequency.  She begins to worry about who he is and what he wants because he seems to know her well and she’s sure Steve never mentioned him.
Marilyn Meredith really can tell a story, no doubt about it.  This one kept me reading and becoming more impatient with every interruption because I could not wait to find out what happened to this endearing family that I quickly came to know and love.  There are lots of touching scenes, I can attest to that because this book actually made me cry in several places–not because of sadness, but because Meredith really knows how to portray emotion in her characters.  Nicole was so real, as the children were also, without being cloying the way children sometimes are in novels.  These could have been my own kids, they were so real.

Lingering Spirit is well worth buying and spending time with.  It’ll give you a lot to think about after the story is finished.  I loved it, as you can tell.  It’s the perfect summer OR winter read.  Great book, one of my favorite reads this year.

I asked Marilyn if, instead of answering interview questions, she’d tell us how she came to write this book, which is such a departure from her usual mystery novels.  People always like to hear about this when they can and I thought you all would like to hear it also, so she graciously agreed and sent me this note:

Lingering Spirit is based on a heart-breaking tragedy that happened in our family. My son-in-law, a deputy sheriff, was killed in the line of duty, leaving my daughter a widow and her three sons fatherless. At the time I had no desire to write about what happened.

Several years passed and it came to me that I should tell the story but in a different way than it actually happened—in other words fictionalize it. Of course, while I was writing it, some of the memories became too vivid and my emotions took over. It got easier once the fictional characters became real inside my brain and the plot veered away from the actual events.

The novel was first published as an e-book only. Time went by and nothing much happened with it—-mainly because e-readers hadn’t come into their own like what’s happening today. I eventually pulled the book from the publisher. Later when the publisher of my Rocky Bluff P.D. books started putting books on Kindle, she asked if I had any old books I’d like on Kindle. I sent her Lingering Spirit. She loved it.

At the beginning of this year, she said if I agreed, she’d like to publish Lingering Spirit as a trade paperback. Of course I said “yes.”

She sent the proof to me for editing and of course I found quite a few things that needed to be changed. Re-reading it after such a long time brought tears to my eyes.

The proof was corrected a couple more times by both the publisher and me; amazing what mistakes you can find in a book that you thought was perfect. (And I’m sure gremlins will sneak something else in.) My hope is that readers will enjoy the story so much they won’t see any mistakes that might remain.

Now the book is available on Amazon.com, can be ordered from any bookstore, my own website, http://fictionforyou.com, and the publisher’s bookstore http://www.oaktreebooks.com/bargainbookshop.htm

Though at times it was difficult to write about something that had such an impact on our family, changing it to fiction definitely helped my own grieving process. There truly were some ghostly visitations, and I had great fun adding much more to the supernatural aspect in the story.

For anyone who might wonder, the story did not end the way the same way it did in real life. Though the real life ending is a good one and still ongoing, it isn’t what happens in the fictional tale.

And now some facts about Marilyn:

Marilyn Meredith is the author of nearly thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Dispel the Mist from Mundania Press. Under the name of F. M. Meredith she writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, An Axe to Grind is the latest from Oak Tree Press.

AND some news of her contest, which you’ll want to enter:

Have you ever dreamed of being immortalized in print? Well, here’s your chance! Award-winning author Marilyn Meredith is running a contest during her Lingering Spirit Virtual Book Tour, which runs from July 6th through July 30th. Marilyn will name a character in her next Rocky Bluff P.D. book after the reader who comments at the most blog stops during her virtual book tour. This book is currently scheduled to be released in 2012.

That’s all for this week, folks.  Next week I’m going to let my dog, Danali, write the blog, since he’s been nagging me about it.  Seems he has a yen for writing, so it should be fun and interesting to see what he comes up with.

Big Hugs to all of you, and please stop by again soon.  I’ll leave the porch light on for you, I promise.

Love y’all,
Beth Anderson

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13 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. Hi Beth,

    Excellent post, Beth. I can understand how hard it had to be to write Lingering Spirit, but also theraputic. Thank you, Marily, for sharing your family’s experience.


  2. Beth already knows how much I loved this review–in fact I teared up when I read it. Thank you so much for hosting me today.

    Thanks for stopping by, Sloane.



  3. Thanks for the wonderful review of Lingering Spirit, Beth. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I read this book while on vacation and became totally captivated by it.

    I hope your readers will step on over to YouTube to check out the trailer for this book. They can find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3qYnNmzzAw

    Thanks again for hosting Marilyn today.

    All my best,



  4. Wow, I love that trailer, it’s PERFECT for this book!

    Hey, Marilyn, I’m taking promo lessons from a PRO! I’m very happy you decided to make a stop at my blog. Your book is gorgeous, it’s one I’ll always remember.


  5. Beth, it’s a wonderful review. Marilyn, you deserve your success!I’ve watched you work for a lot of years and am always filled with admiraation for you (and for your handsome and savvy husband, too). Thanks for sharing your story behind the story.
    Pat Browning
    follow me on Twitter @patbrowning26


  6. P.S. That’s “admiration” I’m filled with. (:


  7. PPS – I love your book cover. (Maybe I should just start over with this Comment!)


  8. PPPS – And that’s a great photo of you, too!


  9. Hi, Pat, so nice of you to stop by. I do miss running into you here and there while on the promo trail. We did have some good times together. Remember so clearly sharing a booth with you and dinner at the Apple Farm.



  10. Congratulations, Marilyn. wonderful story–the book and your own re the publication! I entirely agree that the way to handle an experience that’s “too real” to tell is to fictionalize it.


  11. Thank you, Donna. Yes, writing the story and turning it into fiction helped a lot.



  12. I am long aware of Marilyn’s range as an author–her WISHING MAKES IT SO is in one of my favorite categories of novel, that of creepy little children. But I can’t quite imagine what it takes to transform such a real life hardship into fiction that can be transformative for others. My congratulations, as always, Marilyn. And great post and write-up, Beth.


  13. Thank you, Jenny, such kind words and I do appreciate them.



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