Author Spotlight: John Lindermuth

Today I’m pleased to welcome (back) author John Lindermuth. John, a writer from Pennsylvania, has been on the blog before and he’s here this week with news of a recent release, Twelve Days in the Territory.

If you need a refresher on John’s other books, look here (In Silence Sealed), here (The Tithing Herd), and here (Something So Divine).

He’s here today to answer my questions about his new release and at the end I’ll post the link to my review.

Welcome, John!

Congratulations on the release of Twelve Days in the Territory. Tell us about the book.

It takes place in the autumn of 1887 and begins with the botched robbery of a mercantile store in a small town in Arkansas. Martha Raker, a young woman doing inventory in the store with her father, is taken hostage by the outlaws who flee into Indian Territory, what is now the state of Oklahoma, but was then the government’s dumping ground for the subdued Native Americans and a place of refuge for all manner of rogues.

Martha happens to be the niece of Isaac Gillette, the local sheriff. Gillette is determined to pursue the outlaws and rescue Martha despite having no jurisdiction in the territory. Will Burrows, a mild-mannered school teacher, is the only man in the town who volunteers to join Gillette. The sheriff doubts Will’s suitability for the task, but the young man who has been courting Martha insists he must go. Yet even Will has doubts about his qualifications and harbors a secret which raises his fears of what they’ll face in the Territory.

Martha is a strong-willed young woman who will show courage and tenacity in the will to survive, confident in the belief she will not be abandoned by the man she loves or by her uncle. All three will face trials the like of which they’ve never known before and they soon discover Crawford McKinney, the outlaw holding Martha, is the least of their troubles.

How did you choose the date of 1887 as the time period for Twelve Days?

It was an arbitrary choice but, fortunately, proved to be the right one. I mention in the story early incidents of the intrusion of land- and mineral-hungry speculators in the Indian Territory, a situation which led up to the government-sponsored land rush of 1889.

Where did your interest in writing Western novels originate?

My mother said, when she was carrying me, she read a steady diet of paperback westerns and western romances. Whether that had any influence on my future reading is questionable. I do know my dad had a lot of books. I was an early reader and I had my choice of what was on the shelves, which included non-fiction, what we now call classic literature, and popular novels. I read everything. Among the Western writers I remember fondly from that time are Jack London, Zane Grey (who, incidentally, began his writing career in Pennsylvania), James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking series, the short stories and poems of Bret Harte, Emerson Hough, among others. The list expanded over the years.

I didn’t initially set out to write Westerns. After focusing mainly on mysteries, I had some ideas which fall into this genre. My goal always is to write what I hope readers will see as a good story. I believe that’s what readers really want and don’t particularly care how booksellers categorize it.

I know you are a keen student of history. It seems like your interests in both history and in the Western territories dovetail nicely. Care to elaborate?

Our ancestors have been ‘westering’ since arriving on these shores. The frontier moved with them. So it all fits together. Some fans of westerns might be surprised to discover things like Indian wars, fur trapping, bison hunts, branding, cattle drives and other things considered ‘western’ all began in the eastern states/provinces of the U.S. and Canada.

You have so much going on right now. In addition to the release of Twelve Days, you are re-releasing Fallen From Grace and Sooner than Gold, (books 1 and 2 in the Sheriff Sylvester Tilghman series) titles that were formerly published by Oak Tree Press. Tell us about those books.

I conceived these books, which are set in a fictional Pennsylvania county, as historical mysteries.  But Billie Johnson, publisher, and Sunny Frazier, then acquisition editor, at Oak Tree viewed them as in the western mode and promoted them as such. After Billie’s death I regained the rights and I’m happy Lawrence Knorr my publisher at Sunbury Press has agreed to reissue them. Sunbury Press published The Bartered Body, third in the series, in 2018.

What’s something about Sheriff Sylvester Tilghman that would surprise readers?

Syl is always more interested in getting to the truth rather than just putting a person behind bars. His compassion often lands him in trouble, even danger.

You have had a long career in journalism. How do you think your work as a newspaper journalist has informed your fiction writing?

You have had a long career in journalism. How do you think your work as a newspaper journalist has informed your fiction writing?

What kinds of books do you like to read?

I have eclectic taste. Looking at a list of books read in the past year, I see a preponderance of mystery/suspense and historical fiction. But there’s also a mix of other genre. The main things I look for in fiction of any kind are engaging characters and a plot that stirs my curiosity. In non-fiction I focus heavily on history, science and biography.

What does your workday look like?

I try to write every day, though I don’t set a word goal. I’d rather have 100 good words than 1,000 bad ones. I do keep a daily log of words written on a project, which gives me an idea of how it’s going. Since I’m at the historical society three days a week, I tend to write more and longer on the alternate days and weekends. But even when I’m not actually putting words on paper, I may be thinking about a character or plot. I consider this writing, too.

What’s next for you?

There’s never a shortage of ideas. I’m usually working on something–a novel, a short story, or an article. Currently, I’m dividing time between another in the Syl series, a western, and a non-fiction project that’s been neglected too long.

Thanks so much for being my guest here today, John. I wish you much success with Twelve Days in the Territory. I have read the book and enjoyed it, so anyone who wishes to read my review can click here and be taken straight to it. Click here to grab your own copy of Twelve Days in the Territory.

John’s Biography

J. R. Lindermuth lives and writes in a house built by a man who rode with Buffalo Bill Cody. A retired newspaper editor, he is now librarian of his county historical society where he assists patrons with genealogy and research. He has published 19 novels and two non-fiction regional histories. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and a past vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

Until next time,


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.


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?


Amazon author’s page:


Facebook author’s page:


Where can readers find your books?

Sundown, 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,