August 18, 2012

J.R. Lindermuth and Sticks Hetrick Practice To Deceive

The author of 11 novels, J. R. Lindermuth is a retired newspaper editor who currently serves as librarian of his county historical society His short stories and articles appear regularly in a variety of magazines. He is the father of two children and has four grandsons.

Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I’m a retired newspaper editor and I continue to provide a weekly column on local history to the paper. I also work three days a week as librarian for my county’s historical society, helping patrons with genealogy and research. I’d published articles and stories in a variety of magazines over the years but didn’t achieve the goal of publishing my first novel until after retiring.
Please tell us your latest news!
Practice To Deceive, my 11th novel and the fifth in my Sticks Hetrick mystery series was published this month by Whiskey Creek Press.
Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
While I may think I “know” my characters and how they’ll act they sometimes surprise me by doing something unexpected.
How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
I love research, though it can be distracting and sometimes lead you off into tangents away from your initial goal. All writers must do a certain amount of research to assure what they’re saying is accurate. Readers will find you out if you make a mistake. I prefer to use a combination of experience and reading for my research. That was the case with Practice, which involves crimes at sea and murder on foreign soil.
What main genre do you write in?
I mainly write mystery/suspense and historical fiction. Often my books are a combination of those and there’s usually a bit of romance to encourage a wider audience. I think the division into genres is more a thing of publishers than of writers/readers. For instance, many would identify Wuthering Heights as a romance novel. But it also includes mystery, suspense, history and gothic elements which account for the wide audience it has enjoyed.
How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
I guess I haven’t embarrassed them too much. My son, daughter and son-in-law all promote my books to friends and acquaintances and even my sister, normally a non-reader, has confessed to reading two of them.
What are your hobbies?
Reading, drawing, genealogy, walking, spending time with my children and grandchildren.
If you had to choose one person to have dinner with, who would it be? And why?
I’m going to surprise you and not mention a writer. Though there are many I admire and would love to meet I’d probably be tongue-tied in their presence and embarrass myself. The person I would enjoy having dinner with would be Leonardo da Vinci. The man was so creative and had such a wide ranging curiosity I’m certain he would be the most fascinating dinner companion imaginable.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was making up stories long before that, but I first started putting them down on paper when I was in high school. My first acceptance was a little magazine called The Answer, which folded before the issue with my story came out. After that, there followed a long period of submissions and rejections before I started placing stories and articles in a variety of smaller magazines. Ironically, my first novel Schlussel’s Woman was also accepted by a publisher who went bust before producing the book. This writing can be a discouraging process. It’s definitely not a game for quitters.
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
I do make some brief notes on characters and situation and generally know where I’ll end up, but I probably fit more closely into the pantser mould. If I knew too much ahead of time I’d probably get bored and move onto another project. I like being surprised by my characters during the process.
Current Release Details:
As mentioned, Practice To Deceive in the fifth in my Sticks Hetrick series. Sticks is the former police chief of the fictional town of Swatara Creek, Pennsylvania. In the earlier books he had been an unofficial consultant to his friend and successor as chief. He is now about to embark on a career change.
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
I don’t think I’d like to be any of my characters. There’s enough trauma in daily life without subjecting myself to the stress and turmoil I force on them.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
I have a contract with Oak Tree Press for a second book featuring Sylvester Tilghman, a 19th century Pennsylvania sheriff who had his first outing in Fallen From Grace. In the new book, Sylvester has a murder victim with too many enemies and he’s also dealing with threats to his job, gypsies, gamblers and a female horse thief. But he does come a bit closer to his goal of marrying his sweetheart this time.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
Any of the above.
CONTEST:  One copy of Practice To Deceive to a commenter to be selected after the interview runs. 

Trouble follows Sticks Hetrick when he and Anita Bailey, the new woman in his life, go on a Caribbean cruise. Though he has no jurisdiction, Hetrick assists a Jamaican police inspector investigate two murders which have roots back home in Pennsylvania.

          Meanwhile, Officer Flora Vastine, Hetrick’s protégé and the team in Swatara Creek, are probing mysterious assaults on young women which will put Flora’s life in jeopardy.

          Both Hetrick and Flora will learn the past has consequences which can’t be denied.


margaret blake said...

Loved hearing the way you work John.
Very interesting replies to good questions. Lots of luck with your latest publication, John.

Patricia Gligor said...

So far, I've read two of John's novels, "Fallen from Grace" and "The Limping Dog." I thoroughly enjoyed both of them and I look forward to reading more of John's books.

Jennifer Wilck said...

I love the idea of dinner with Leonardo DaVinci. You're right, he would be fascinating. I think I might choose Thomas Jefferson. Good luck with the new book!

jrlindermuth said...

Thanks Margaret and Patricia. Jefferson would be a good second choice, Jennifer. Another fascinating individual.

Sunny Frazier said...

We've known each other via Short Story Mystery Society for a long time, John, and Oak Tree Press is so lucky to have you on board with the Sheriff Tilghman series for our Wild Oaks imprint. Great interview!

jrlindermuth said...

Thanks, Sunny. Glad to be a member of the Posse and the Oak Tree team.

William Doonan said...

I loved "Fallen from Grace" so I've got high hopes for John's latest. Can't wait to get started.

John Brantingham said...

Great interview! I love John's work.

Jim Callan said...

Good interview, John. I've enjoyed the Limping Dog and I look forward to more of your books. Thanks for sharing a little insite into JR.

jrlindermuth said...

Thanks for commenting Bill, John and Jim. Appreciate your support.

susan said...

Loved Fallen From Grace and this new one sounds good too. sue

jrlindermuth said...

Thank you, Susan.

Eileen Obser said...

Great interview, John. I haven't read your work yet, but I will. It was good to learn more about you.

jrlindermuth said...

My pleasure, Eileen. Thanks for commenting.