From the Booking Desk:

I have always said that fans are the lifeblood of our crime fiction community, so when I started this Composite Sketch series I made it clear that they would be just as much a part of the celebration as those behind the scenes. Today, I welcome Merrily Taylor, one of many devoted fans who brighten conference floors, engage in informed book discussions, and simply bring joy to the world – within our small cluster and beyond. Please get to know Merrily just a bit better and be sure to say hi the next time you see her.

Name:  Merrily Taylor
Location:  Lexington, VA

This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:

My mother, who passed away in 1988 but still inspires me. She lived through the Depression and WWII. My father traveled a great deal and so for months of every year, she was a single parent who had to cope with everything from yard work to a perpetually sick child (me) to financial constraints. In my early teens, my father lost his work and she had to go back into the workplace after years as a stay-at-home mom. All this she bore with good cheer, optimism and a loving spirit. I don’t think I saw her “lose it” more than twice in my life. In the ways the world measures (wealth, power, fame) she wouldn’t be counted a “success” but she succeeded in the important things. I hope every day to come up to her standard.

One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:

Laurie R. King. I admire her as a writer, of course, but even more as a warm, witty, generous and kind human being. She’s unfailingly welcoming to her fans (even when the level of dumbstruck adulation may become hard to endure), and devotes a huge amount of her time to supporting mystery organizations (such as the Northern California branch of MWA), independent bookstores, and literacy efforts. She’s enlivened dozens of panels at Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, Malice Domestic, and having been a speaker at professional conferences back in the day I know how much work that takes, although she makes it seem effortless. Laurie’s Mary Russell series was what drew me into a more active involvement in the world of mystery writers and fans, where I’ve made many good friends, and so I’m eternally grateful to her!

STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:

Sherlock Holmes, although I’d never be able to stalk him because he’d be onto me in a minute.  

People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):  

Dolly Parton

My personal catch phrase is (or should be): 

Onward and upward!

Find out more about Merrily here