SETTINGS IMPORTANCE IN MY ROCKY BLUFF P.D. MYSTERY SERIES
By Marilyn Meredith
My hostess, Thonie Hevron, made the suggestion for this topic, and it’s a good one.
Though there is no real town of Rocky Bluff, it is similar to another town set on the Pacific coast between Ventura and Santa Barbara. It is only vaguely similar however, since Rocky Bluff is a much smaller community, and the geography is different in a major way.
Both towns are divided by the 101 Highway, with the part near the beach being where the business and most of the homes are situated. The other side is more rural with ranches and orange groves. A big difference is the bluff which gives my town its name and where the homes are larger and far more expensive.
When I first began writing this series, I lived in a beach town not far from my fictional setting. I know what the weather is like, the ocean often bringing in a blanket of fog, and the only time the temperature rises is when an East wind strikes. Living close to the ocean, means being able to smell the saltiness on the breeze, and when close enough, to enjoy the glorious differences of the blues in the water, and watch the waves come into shore. I try to put in words what the characters in my mysteries experience through sight, sound, and smell.
In my latest, Not As We Knew It, number 16 in the series, the intersection of the 101 highway plays a major part in one of the subplots. The fact that Rocky Bluff is between Ventura and Santa Barbara is important to one of the mysteries.
When writing one these mysteries, I transport myself to this fictional town in my mind, and picture what is going on around the characters as the story plays out. How the weather is affecting what is going on, when one must travel what he or she sees along the way, and how other factors that are important to the story are being affected.
About Not As We Knew It: The challenges come one after another for the Rocky Bluff P.D. to handle―from a missing woman to a fatal house fire. Detective Doug Milligan is faced with new and unusual problems to solve, some on the job and others related to his family. With the department shorthanded because of the Covid virus, Chief Chandra Taylor must make some hard decisions in order to protect the town of Rocky Bluff.
To buy: https://www.amazon.com/Not-As-Knew-F-M-Meredith/dp/B08NDT3FW5/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
About Marilyn: Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 40 published novels, including the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, which she writes as F. M. Meredith, and the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. She is a member to two branches of Sisters in Crime, and the Public Safety Writers Association. Over the years she’s taught writing for Writers Digest School, and at many writers and mystery conferences. She now lives in the foothills of the Sierra with her husband and other family members.
I think setting is one of the most important features in a book. It’s a secondary character. Oftentimes, it’s the lead 😉 Fascinating set up, Marilyn. And how interesting that you’ve written it during the time of COVID.
I have had no problem writing during this pandemic.
Marilyn is a remarkably prolific writer. I often look to her for motivation.
Thanks you so much for hosting me today. I always enjoy these visits. Hope to see you in person one of these days.
Me, too! I miss the human contact but love that we can at least communicate with the internet.
Marilyn, thanks for bringing the feel and smell of the ocean to your writing and this blog! Over the years I’ve lived on or near the Pacific and now, in Sacramento, I miss it. I think of setting as another character!
Hey, Michele, I’m living in the foothills of the Sierra these days, and I need to visit the coast ever so often.
So agree about setting…love to be taken away by you!
Thank you, Madeline. I feel compelled to write about my RBPD friends and revisit where they live.
You mean Rocky Bluff is not a REAL place. I could swear I’ve been there—several times! 🙂
It feels real to me, Radine. I can see it in my mind’s eye.
Marilyn is a true artist at knowing just how much setting and detail to put into her stories to keep it moving and to let the reader feel like he’s there. I’ve learned a lot reading her books and listening to her at conferences.
Thank you, Michael, praise from you, the master writer is much appeciated.
Yes, Marilyn, and I can “imagine” it as real too, though my mental picture may not be exactly like yours.
Since my own writing usually involves real places I am always “on location” as I write, but I realize a location created in our imagination can be just as real to us.
You are right, Radine!