Author Spotlight: John Lindermuth, Part Two

Today on Reade and Write I’m pleased to welcome back John Lindermuth. He’s here today to discuss his new re-release, The Tithing Herd. You may recall reading about him on Reade and Write about a year ago, when he visited to talk about two of his other books, Something So Divine and Shares the Darkness (if you’d like to take a look at that post, you’ll find it here)

Tell us about your new book.

The Tithing Herd might best be described as a traditional Western. That is, like other traditional Westerns, it might be seen as a morality play. It features an ex-lawman (hero) faced with first a moral crisis (does he seek revenge or justice? Should he seek revenge on those who murdered his brother rather than depend on the law to judge them?) and then a more physical challenge when the outlaws kidnap the woman he loves.

I should mention The Tithing Herd was originally published in electronic format several years ago by The Western Online, which has since gone defunct. I’m pleased Sundown Press decided to resurrect it in both print and electronic formats.

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Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone who likes a good story with adventure, suspense and a bit of romance.

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?

The story is set in New Mexico in the 1890s. The idea had its germination when I read about cash-strapped Mormons gathering herds of cattle and sheep to pay their tithe to the church. The plot developed from there.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

A story based in an historical era and/or setting requires more research than, perhaps, a contemporary tale. But I don’t consider that a hardship. I love research, though it can sometimes lead off into some unusual tangents.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

If Hollywood should decide to make that kind of offer, I’d be delighted. Meanwhile, I’ll be happy if people find the premise interesting enough to want to read it.

Tell us about your other books, for those who may not have read your post from last year. 

The Tithing Herd is my 16th published novel. The majority are mysteries of one kind or another, including seven in my Sticks Hetrick series. This is my second (official) Western. I say that because though my Sheriff Tilghman series is set in the 19th century in Pennsylvania the first two books were billed as Westerns by the publisher.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I’ve never been in a traditional critique group but I do exchange views with some other writers and we do give one another feedback.

Do you write every day?

I think it’s a good practice and I try to do something every day, even if it’s no more than some scribbling in my journal. I don’t lock myself into a prescribed word count.

What authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I’m a serial reader. I read both fiction and non-fiction. In fiction, mysteries probably top the list but I also read many other genres as well. In non-fiction, anything that rouses my curiosity. Authors? Too big a list to mention and I’m constantly discovering new ones–both famous and unknowns.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

Given a time machine and a good supply of penicillin, Africa in the 1920s/’30s. Aside from that, another trip to Mexico; a visit to South Korea to see all the changes since I lived there in the 1960s, and England.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The same given by Stephen King and many others–read a lot and write a lot. It’s the only way to learn–and a heck of a lot of fun.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I’ve said this often before–The Gods Must Be Crazy I and II. Epic comedies with insight into human nature. Jamie Uys was a genius. And then there’s Hitchcock and the Coen brothers. So many other good films in so many classic genres, including drama, Westerns, mysteries.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Why wait so long to do the things you really want to do?

Describe yourself in three words.

Patient, loyal, driven.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

What’s next? A publisher has the next Sticks Hetrick, another publisher has the next Sheriff Tilghman, and I’m nearing 20,000 words on another Western.

Where can readers connect with you?

Website: http://www.jrlindermuth.net

Amazon author’s page: http://www.amazon.com/author/jrlindermuth

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.lindermuth

Facebook author’s page: https://www.facebook.com/John-Lindermuth-175253187537/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrlindermuth

Where can readers find your books?

Sundown Press.com, Amazon, B&N, most everywhere good books can be found.

Thanks for stopping in today, John! It was a pleasure having you back on Reade and Write.

Until next time,

Amy

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Author Spotlight: Iris Chacon

Good Tuesday morning! Today on Reade and Write I welcome Iris Chacon, another member of Mystery Authors International. You may remember recently I featured another MAI author, Nicole Fitton (you can read that post here). Iris is here to talk about her book Duby’s Doctor.

Take it away, Iris!

When he can steal time away from his undercover assignment (as an arms dealer’s bodyguard), Agent Yves Dubreau jogs with all the other muscular Coconut Grove athletes. He enjoys the morning tai chi group in Peacock Park, and he quietly remains on the fringes of the Grove’s art scene — until he blows his cover and gets himself murdered. When resuscitated, he is a scarred, nameless giant with no memories, no language, and only his drawings with which to communicate. Of course, he still has the same deadly enemies he had in his former life; he just doesn’t know it. Neither does naive, lady surgeon, Dr. Mitchell Oberon. Soon, Duby’s unscrupulous supervisor forces the unsuspecting Mitchell to shelter this recovering “John Doe” in her home and begin teaching him how to live again. Both Duby and Dr. Oberon will learn a lot about living— they just may not be living long. A murderous arms dealer will soon be stalking them.

Tell us about the inspiration for the book.

Duby’s story was inspired by the landscapes, art culture, elaborate mansions, and live-aboard sailboats of Coconut Grove. For years I passed through the magical Grove community on my way to work in the high-rise offices of Miami. The unique aura and ambiance of the Grove always launched my imagination into a happy stratosphere of quirky characters and exotic locations. Sometimes the girls in my carpool would simply stop in the Grove and watch the panoply of beautiful people (mostly male) passing by. Thus, a secret agent, who lived on a boat and worked undercover in an arms dealer’s mansion, was born. And if he lived in Coconut Grove, he had to be an artsy type, so Agent Yves Dubreau, a/k/a Duby, became a talented sketcher and painter.

Got an excerpt you can share with us?

Sure. Here’s the context: Mitchell picks up John/Jean from his maintenance job at St. Luke’s Daycare.

“He’ll be right out,” the nun said. “He’s all right. We were just cleaning him up. It looked worse than it is. The bleeding seems to have stopped—”

“Bleeding?”

“—and the paramedics said—”

“Paramedics?”

“—they don’t think Mister Kavanaugh’s ribs are broken, just bruised—”

“Who?”

“—and the police said, since nobody seems to want to press charges, — ”

“Police?”

“—that we can just forget about it. Of course, Jean had to be punished for hitting—”

“Hitting?”

“—so he had to run laps. And that started the nosebleed again. But everything’s all right now. Here he is.”

Jean limped out of the back room, holding a bloodied washcloth against his nose.

Sister Elizabeth sighed. “It’s been an exciting day.”

Mitchell studied Jean from head to toe, incredulous. She pointed at his swollen left knee. “You ran on concrete? And hitting? You were hitting! The children?”

“Oh, dear, no!” said Sister Elizabeth. “He was hitting Mister Kavanaugh.”

Mitchell stared at Sister Elizabeth and back at Jean. “You ran on concrete and you hit Mister Kavanaugh? Who is Mister Kavanaugh?”

“Debbie’s father,” answered Sister Elizabeth.

Mitchell was looking at Jean. “Excuse me, Sister, but unless Kavanaugh cut his tongue out, I’d like to hear Johnny answer something. John, why did you hit Debbie’s father?”

Jean pulled the washcloth away from his face to say, “He hits Debbie.”

After a pause, Mitchell muttered, “I told you never to run on the concrete.”

Ooh, sounds good. Thanks for visiting today, Iris, and best wishes with Duby’s Doctor!

Iris’ bio:

Iris Chacon has written for radio, television, motion pictures, and magazines for more than 30 years. She has taught writing-related courses at Christian schools from grade 5 through college, and she has worked as a musician. Duby’s Doctor is her fifth novel, and it carries on the Chacon tradition of good, clean fun, mystery, humor, romance, and a “sunshine state of mind.” Iris hails from the Sunshine State, Florida, where her ancestors have lived since Florida was a Spanish colony, before the United States existed. She is working on her next novel, which incorporates many of the adventures she has enjoyed in the American Southwest.

And here’s where you can find Iris online:

Website: https://www.authoririschacon.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoririschacon

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/IrisChacon1371

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2kmLxAq

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8551298.Iris_Chacon

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/guatemom578

Thanks for visiting Reade and Write, Iris!

Until next time,

Amy

Location, Location, Location!

I have a friend who has lived in Indiana most of his life, except for going to college in Texas and working for a brief time in Washington, DC. He said to me recently that even though he only spent a few years in Texas, that state feels like home to him. I’m sure there are Texans wondering why everyone doesn’t feel that way.

I understand how he feels. A place can exert a powerful pull on a person, even if the person hasn’t spent much time there. Maybe it can happen even if the person hasn’t spent any time there.

That’s why book settings are so important. Could Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier take place anywhere but the Cornish coast of England? Could The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner take place anywhere but Mississippi? The setting of a story is often its most essential element; in other words, there are stories that simply wouldn’t make sense if they were set somewhere else. IfRebecca took place in Paris, the story wouldn’t have the same heavy atmosphere and spookiness that it has in Cornwall. If The Sound and the Fury were set in small-town Vermont, what would be the source of Quentin’s cultural angst?

Secrets of Hallstead House is set in the Thousand Islands, one of those places that has a strong pull for those who have spent any time there. I don’t know of a single person who has been to the Thousand Islands who didn’t want to return. Could my story be set somewhere else? Not as far as I’m concerned. The St. Lawrence River and Hallstead Island are characters in the story just as much as any of the humans are.

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The same is true with The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, my story set near Charleston, South Carolina. That’s another place that stays with a person. Have you ever been to Charleston? It’s inhabitants are passionate about their city, much more so than lots of other cities. And I can see why–it’s a beautiful city with a rich history and culture all its own. It’s like no other city in the South.

I am lucky enough to live in a place which has that pull, a place that people return to year after year (particularly in the summertime). When I first moved here, I was amazed at the number of kids who went away to college and wanted nothing more than to return to their hometown to find work upon graduation. Their happy memories of many seasons spent at the beach, of surf and sand, of the boardwalk and sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean are strong enough to make those people want to return.

So in that same vein, my third story, as yet unnamed but tentatively entitled Hanging Jade Hale, (pronounced “hah-lay”), is set on the Big Island of Hawaii. I know of exactly two people who have been to Hawaii and didn’t absolutely love it. It’s a place where people experience a kind of magic that is only found there, a magic that comes from the ocean and the mountains and the trade winds and the knowledge that Hawaii is alone in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. A story set there can’t take place anywhere else in the world, and that makes its setting special.

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Is there a place that calls you back, even if you’ve never been there? I’d love to hear about it!

Until next week,

Amy

Is the Main Character You?

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, my first novel will be out in July, 2014. It’s called Secrets of Hallstead House and the main character’s name is Macy Stoddard. Once in a while someone will ask me if Macy, or any of the other characters, is based on a real person. The short answer is no.

But it’s more complicated than that. There are parts of Macy that resemble me and parts of her that are my opposite. For example, she has brown hair. I have brown hair as long as I’ve been to the hairdresser recently. She is a caregiver, like me. I’m not a nurse, but taking care of people is what I love to do. Macy discovers a love of the Saint Lawrence River. I loved the River practically from birth. On the other hand, Macy can’t swim. I love to swim, and I’ve passed that love along to all of my kids. She hates boats; I love boats. She’s brave, whereas I probably would have left the island at the first sign of danger.

That’s one of the many fun things about writing fiction. A writer gets to make each person exactly the way she wants. Not a perfect person, but one that’s perfect for her purposes. A writer can imagine what a person looks like, and POOF, that’s the way the person looks. If a writer needs a bad guy, she doesn’t have to go looking for one. She makes him up. Need an interesting place to hide a body? Just give a writer a sec…she’ll come up with something.

There are lots of great places to come up with story ideas, too, not just characters. Sometimes ideas come from the headlines. Sometimes from a tiny blurb in a newspaper. Sometimes from an obituary. Ideas can come from going on vacation and passing an abandoned house and asking yourself, “What if…?” Ideas can come from dreams. Or nightmares. Or an overheard conversation. It’s fun to make stuff up. As a fiction writer, I take the world as it is and add people and problems from my imagination. I think fantasy writers must have a tough job. They not only have to make up their people and their stories, but they have to make up the whole world, too. Now that requires imagination.

But here’s something else that’s fun: I may have a picture in my mind of what my main character looks like, but if that’s different from the picture in the reader’s mind, that’s okay. All I need as the writer is my picture. The same goes for the setting. I may have a very specific idea of what a place looks like, but it’s totally fine if the reader has a different picture. That’s what makes books so much better than movies, but that’s a post for a different day.

I’d love to hear about some of your favorite fictional characters. I’ll start. I’ve had lots of favorites, but at the moment, my favorite fictional character is Hamish Macbeth. He’s the main character in a series of books by M.C. Beaton. He’s a police constable, tall and lanky with bright red hair. And I love to picture the area of Scotland where he patrols. Anyone else read these books?

Until next week,

Amy