Monday, June 6, 2016



A young girl is murdered and a feeble-minded youth obsessed with her is the prime suspect. Evidence against the youth is circumstantial and there are other suspects. Influenced by the boy's stepsister and a woman he is beginning to love, the detective puts his job and reputation on the line to assure the boy a fair trial.


John, how did you get started writing?
I showed a talent for drawing early on and by age 10 was taking lessons from a local cartoonist until he decided there wasn't anything more he could teach me. At some point thereafter I started writing stories to go with my drawings. That's when I discovered I enjoyed writing as much as drawing and as I began high school started thinking about a dual career. In fact, I'd just enrolled in art school when I got my draft notice in 1961. I had some small success with articles and short stories while in the Army and later, but didn't publish my first novel until after I retired from the newspaper business in 2000.

Do you write every day?
Absolutely. I don't set a word goal, but I believe the persistence is important.

What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process?
I wish I'd known about all the wonderful small publishers out there looking for interesting manuscripts. Since I was ignorant of the fact, I published my first two novels with iUniverse, an expensive mistake.

What’s more important—characters or plot?
Characters, definitely. If you don't have characters your readers can relate to, then the best plot in the world isn't going to hold their attention.

What books do you currently have published?
Schlussel's Woman (historical fiction), St. Hubert's Stag (a novella), Something in Common, Cruel Cuts, Corruption's Child, Being Someone Else, Practice to Deceive and A Burning Desire (Sticks Hetrick mystery series; Shares The Darkness, 7th in the series is now in the editing process), The Accidental Spy (historical fiction), Watch The Hour (historical fiction), The Limping Dog (standalone mystery), Fallen From Grace and Sooner Than Gold (Sheriff Tilghman historical mystery series; (The Bartered Body, 3rd in the series, is in the editing queue). The Tithing Herd (Western), Something So Divine (historical mystery), Digging Dusky Diamonds (a regional history about the lives of coal miners) and a story in the mystery anthology, Four of a Kind.

Do you have any secret talents?
It's not exactly a secret, but I serve (temporarily on leave because of health) as librarian of my county historical society, assisting people with genealogy and research. I also write a weekly history column for my local paper. I mentioned my art above. I don't promote it much anymore but my work is in private collections in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky.

Awesome! Is writing your dream job?

What is the worst job you’ve ever had? What did it teach you?
When I was building a house and ran short of funds I took a part-time job at a chicken processing plant. It taught me how tough a life some other people lead and, if I ever needed money so badly again, to look for an easier job.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
The local PBS station. Where else would I find those great British mystery and comedy shows along with some wonderful documentaries? Other than the occasional movie discovery, most of television is a wasteland to me. I'd rather read.

Agreed! How often do you tweet?
At least once daily.

How do you feel about Facebook?
I prefer it to Twitter. It's great for making contact with fans and potential fans and for keeping up with out-of-the-area family.

What scares you the most?
Spiders and going into a new environment. I have no fear of snakes, large beasts, etc., but spiders scare the bejasus out of me (bit by one as a kid). Despite my years in the military and newspapers, I'm still very much an introvert.

What five things would you never want to live without?

Books, my vision, untrammeled nature, warm sunny weather, Italian food.

What’s one thing you never leave the house without (besides your phone).
A notepad and pen. (I know, that's two things. But one is useless without the other and no writer should ever be without them.

What do you love about where you live?
Pennsylvania's anthracite coal region can appear bleak to outsiders. I'm fascinating by the history. The people (a great ethnic assortment) are generally among the friendliest who'd ever want to meet and have interesting stories to tell. And, there's beauty if you know where to look for it.

What is one of your happiest moments?
Aside from the birth of my children? Publication of a new book.

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?

Of course! Stupid question, right? What’s your least favorite chore?
Mowing the lawn. Because it's boring and you're just done when it needs doing it again. I've often said, if I ever got rich (fat chance), the first thing I'd do is hire a gardener and a driver (I'm not fond of driving myself either; I tend to be distracted by my thoughts, scenery or other more interesting things).

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?

As a reporter, writing the obit of some kid killed in Vietnam or one of the later wars. War is such a waste of young lives and seldom accomplishes the goals set for it. In recent years we've participated in too many unnecessary conflicts and have misused or ignored diplomacy which was once one of our greatest talents.

Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
My hometown library. It didn't exist until I was in high school, but has been a home away from home since then. The librarians have been very generous in their support, stocking my books and hosting events. Can't say enough good things about them. And, sadly, libraries are generally so under-supported these days.

Very true. Who is your favorite fictional character?
Don Quixote. 

What do others say about your driving?
My kids say I should stay off the roads and leave the driving to someone else.

Yikes! What is your favorite movie?
There are a lot of great films out there. Still, my all-time favorite is The Gods Must Be Crazy. I know some of it is just plain silly, but it's one of the most original and thought-provoking films of all time. Jamie Uys is a genius.

Do you have a favorite book?
Don Quixote.

What are you working on now?

Chemotherapy has slowed down my production in recent months to mostly short stories and articles. I am, however, working on an eighth novel in the Sticks Hetrick series.


A native of Pennsylvania, J. R. Lindermuth is a retired newspaper editor. He is the author of 14 novels and a regional history. His articles and short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and is currently vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

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