Author Spotlight: John Lindermuth


This week on Reade and Write I welcome John Lindermuth, another prolific author who’s here to talk about his most recent novel, Something So Divine, as well as Shares the Darkness, the latest in his Sticks Hetrick mystery series. Welcome, John!

  • Tell me about your new book.
    Something So Divine is a historical mystery focused on murder, questions of morality and a bit of romance set in rural Pennsylvania in 1897. Ned Gebhardt is a feeble-minded young man accused of the murder of a girl he loves. His only defenders are a stepsister and a widowed shopkeeper. Influenced by the boy’s stepsister and, particularly, the widow with whom he’s falling in love, the detective puts his job and reputation in jeopardy to assure a fair trial for Ned.
    Who is the audience for the book?
    Anyone who is interested in an historically accurate story with emotional and psychological depth.
     Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?
     I’ve lived a good part of my life in Pennsylvania and I’m familiar with rural communities in my area and their histories. The village in my story and the county seat across the river are fictional, but based on actual places. Research to me isn’t toil, but something I love. Newspapers from the period I’m writing about are among my best sources for information to make my stories accurate.
  • What was the hardest thing about writing the book?
    Every novel has its issues. Once I got in the flow and familiar with my characters, this one came together rather quickly.
    If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?
    Since writers usually have little choice in such matters, I’d have to leave it up to Hollywood and hope they’d select the right actors.
    Have you written any other books?
    To date, I’ve published 14 novels and a non-fiction regional history. My novels include six in my Sticks Hetrick mystery series. The seventh is due out in September.
    Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?
    I discuss writing with several other local writers on a regular basis. We read one another, but there’s nothing formal about the relationship.
    Do you write every day?
    I believe it’s important to do so. I don’t set a word count. Even if it’s no more than a paragraph or two, it keeps you in the right frame of mind.
    When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best? 
    I read both fiction and non-fiction and I’m constantly discovering new and inspiring writers. When it comes to mysteries, some of my favorites include James Lee Burke, Ruth Rendell, Elmore Leonard, Harlan Coben, Charles Willeford, Elizabeth George and Mark Billingham to name a few. In general fiction some favorites include Jim Harrison, E. L. Doctorow, Arturo Perez-Reverte, Bernard Cornwell, Charles Portis and a host of others.
    Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?
    Health permitting, another trip to Mexico. If we could step back in time, I’d like to have seen Africa as it was in the early 20th century.
    What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
    Read a lot and write a lot. There’s no better instruction.
    What is your favorite movie and why?
    Though it has its silly moments, I’d have to say ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy.’ A low budget classic, it has so much to say about human nature, psychology and the interaction between nature and human nature. It became a box office success with little promotion, other than word of mouth. Jamie Uys was a genius.
    What advice would you give to your younger self?
    Trust your instincts and follow your dreams. Unfortunately, it took me some time to learn those lessons.
    Describe yourself in three words.
    Creative, patient, loyal.
    Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?
    I’d like to share a bit about Shares the Darkness, seventh in the Hetrick series, if I may. In this one, Hetrick’s protege, Officer Flora Vastine, plays the lead role. Here’s the blurb:
    Jan Kepler and Swatara Creek Police Officer Flora Vastine were neighbors and schoolmates, but never close.
    When Jan, a school teacher, avid birder and niece of a fellow officer, goes missing and is found dead in a nearby tract of woods Flora finds herself thrust into the middle of an examination of the other woman’s life in search of clues.
    As usual, the police have more than one crime to deal with. There’s illegal timbering and a series of vehicle thefts taking up their time. And there are other issues to deal with. Flora is concerned there’s some shakiness in her relationship with Cpl. Harry Minnich who seems to be making a lot of secretive phone calls.
    Still Flora maintains focus on the murder. Despite evidence implicating other suspects, the odd behavior of another former classmate rouses Flora’s suspicion. Flora’s probing opens personal wounds as she
    observes the cost of obsessive love and tracks down the killer.
    Where can readers connect with you?
    Where can readers find your books?
    Publisher’s websites:
  • Amazon, Barnes & Noble and anywhere good books are found.
    Thanks for being here, John!
    Until next week,
  • P.S. Still having problems with these bullet points!