Sunday, February 2, 2014

Getting to know Tempe Crabtree

Welcome to the second post in my "Getting to know your character" series. We have with us today Deputy Tempe Crabtree, the main character in  Marilyn Meredith's fantastic mystery series and another one of my favorite "people." Let's get to know her.

Patricia: Tell us, Tempe, where did you grow up and where do you live now? 
Tempe: I’ve grew up in Bear Creek with my parents and Native American grandmother. After I married, I moved away for a few years, had a son, lost my husband, and moved back to Bear Creek.
Patricia: What’s your occupation and how did you come to choose it? (If you’re not a police officer, detective or private investigator, how do you manage to become involved in so many crimes? Same question, if you’re retired.)
Tempe: I’m the resident Deputy Sheriff of Bear Creek. After I lost my husband, I knew I had to do something to support myself and my son. I went to the police academy, graduated and was hired by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department. As a deputy, it isn’t up to me to solve major crimes, however, I’m often called upon to help when the crime happens in the mountain area of Bear Creek, or on the reservation since I’m Native American. Once in a while I’ve done some investigating on my own because deep in my heart I knew the wrong person had been accused of a crime.
Patricia: Tell us about one of your most memorable “adventures.” What drew you into the mystery?
Tempe: Probably this last one, where the dead body of a missing teen was found in a haunted house.  I was the first one called to investigate, and upon entering the house I was rushed by a torrent of spirits, good and evil. Because of the ghosts, I did a lot of research into the history of the house and what went on in it over the years.
Patricia: What are your favorite things to do when you’re not working?
Tempe: Ha, ha. Though I have hours and days I’m assigned to work, because I am so accessible, it seems I’m always being called to work. When I do have time off I like to spend it with my husband, Hutch. We enjoy going to movies, eating out,  and just hanging out together.
Patricia: What are your favorite TV shows and/or movies? What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
Tempe: Oh, my, I must confess I seldom watch any TV. As for movies, I prefer the lighter ones, romances, comedies. When I watch a movie with a mystery, my mind starts trying to solve the case. I’m sure I’d do that too if I watched any of the mystery or crime shows on TV. That’s too much like work.
Patricia: Are you married or involved in a serious relationship? Tell us about that.
Tempe: My husband is Hutch Hutchinson, the pastor of the local church. We’ve been married a long while. He came into my life when my son was a teenager. (My son is now a firefighter, something he always wanted to do.) Hutch and I love each other, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have rough spots at times. One of our biggest problem is when I use a Native American ritual to help solve a crime. For instance, calling back the dead. To be fair to Hutch, being a Christian minister, he fears for my soul.
Patricia: How would you describe yourself, physically and personality wise? How do you think others see you?
Tempe: I’m an Indian, taller than most, have long nearly black hair that I often wear in a single braid, My husband’s thinks I’m beautiful, bless him. I keep up my physical strength mainly by jogging. I’m loyal to my friends and never judge anyone unfairly. I’ll fight for anyone I think has been accused unfairly. I suspect everyone sees me differently. When I’m working, those who aren’t always law-abiding see me as law enforcement, and probably don’t like me all that well. The majority of the citizens in Bear Creek think of me as someone to turn to in time of trouble, no matter how big or small. The Indians on the reservation aren’t nearly as accepting of me as I wish they were. Because I’ve never lived on the reservation, I am considered an outside despite the fact I’m an Indian too. One detective I work with has finally accepted me as an equal, and calls on me often for help with murder investigations. His partner still has some doubts about me because I’m a woman and an Indian.
Patricia: What’s your favorite color and why?
Tempe: Blue, any shade, because it reminds me of the sky that changes all the time.
Patricia: Do you like to travel? If so, what are some of your favorite places to go and/or what was your favorite vacation? Have any of your travels involved solving a mystery?
Tempe: Hutch and I would love to travel more. I’ve done a bit while investigating. Once I traveled to Crescent City in order to interview family and friends of a murder victim. After that, Hutch and I continued the investigation in Santa Barbara.  We did a little bit of sightseeing, but not much, as we were on the trail of a murderer. We live in one of the most beautiful places in California, the mountains of the Southern Sierra. There is a growth of Giant Sequoias we can easily visit. Maybe someday, after I retire, both Hutch and I can take a real vacation and see more of this world we live in.
Patricia: What are your plans for the future? 
Tempe: Continuing on as the resident deputy here in Bear Creek. My major job is keeping the citizens safe from bad guys to domestic and wild animals, settling disputes, arresting drunk and other unsafe drivers, and when called upon, investigating major crimes. I’ve heard that a film company plans to come into the area to make a movie. I certainly hope that isn’t going to cause too many problems, but as the saying goes, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
 Bio: Marilyn Meredith 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. Visit her at and follow her blog at

Links to purchase Marilyn’s books can be found at:


  1. Thank you so much, Patricia for having me today. I enjoyed telling everyone about myself. Tempe Crabytrr

    1. And of course that's supposed to be Tempe Crabtree, not how my finger twisted this early a.m. And I thank, Patircia too, for hosting Tempe today.

    2. Tempe (and Marilyn), thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us!

  2. Cool meeting Tempe first hand. She is one of my favorite characters and love she's Native American because her background brings so much to the stories and how she views the world and investigates. I didn't remember (or forgot) Tempe was tall. Have adjusted my mental pictures. Great interview Patricia, Marilyn, and Tempe--loved it! (and as you already know, Marilyn, love your books)


    1. Hi, Madeline, I guess I have mentioned her height enough. She's about 5'8", the height of the lovely Indian woman who I based her looks on.

  3. Good interview, Tempe. Enjoyed getting an inside look at you and your career.

  4. It's always nice to hear about Marilyn. Hard to keep up with her with all she has on her plate.It was most interesting getting to know Tempe from someone else's point of view, especially her own. I love her stories and admire her life choices.
    Thanks Patricia, for the great concept, or novel idea as it were.

  5. I really enjoy Tempe, and this was a fun interview. Thank you, Pat, Marilyn and Tempe!
    Marja McGraw

  6. Great interview, Tempe and Patricia. I enjoyed reading about your first case in
    BEAR, Tempe, and look forward to reading about more of your adventures.

    1. Thank you, Marilyn. I do feel like Tempe is a real person, so this was great fun to do.

  7. Tempe Crabtree sound like a wonderful person. I'm so glad I had a chance to meet her.