Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Conversation with Mystery Author J.R. Lindermuth

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with J.R. Lindermuth

We are delighted to welcome author J.R. Lindermuth to Omnimystery News today.

J.R.'s new mystery novel is Shares the Darkness (Torrid Books; September 2016 ebook format) and we recently had the opportunity to spend some time with him talking about it.

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Omnimystery News: Introduce us to your series characters.

J.R. Lindermuth
Photo provided courtesy of
J.R. Lindermuth

J.R. Lindermuth: Daniel "Sticks" Hetrick is the retired police chief of Swatara Creek, a fictional community near Harrisburg PA. Bored in retirement, he offered himself as unofficial advisor in the first novel of the series. As the series progressed Sticks remains the primary character but I've broadened the base by giving him a new job as county detective and allowing other characters larger roles. In fact, in Shares the Darkness, the latest, Officer Flora Vastine (who was mentored by Hetrick) has the lead. Life changes. Why shouldn't a character?

OMN: Into which genre would you place your books?

JRL: There are aspects of the labeling process I don't like. But if it helps readers find the books they like I'll put aside my viewpoint. My series can be categorized as mystery, suspense, police procedural, maybe romantic suspense.

OMN: Describe your writing process for us.

JRL: I'm basically a pantser, allowing the story to develop as I write. I generally know where I'm heading though my characters may take me on a divergent course to get there. I do make minimal notes to myself as I proceed but couldn't identify it as an outline.

OMN: How to you go about researching specific plot points for your stories? Have you come across any particularly challenging or exciting topics?

JRL: I love research and I've used all available resources to me. Most challenging topic? I write another series featuring a rural sheriff in the 1890s. For one book I needed information on autopsies in the 19th century. The basics are available on the Internet. For the details I needed, it was necessary to dig a little deeper. Most exciting? Like I said, I love research. They're all fun.

OMN: How true are you to the setting of the series?

JRL: The series is set near Harrisburg PA. When it began I lived nearby. I'm only about 60 miles away now. So I'm familiar with the mindset, habits and other aspects of the area. When my characters visit the capitol (which they often do) locals may recognize the restaurants, stores and other places they frequent. I see that as a plus in possibly in wanting them to continue reading the series.

OMN: What are some of your outside interests?

JRL: I initially wanted to be an artist. I haven't painted in some time but I still get the urge to sketch in pen and ink. Of course, I like to read both fiction and non-fiction. I do genealogy. I dabble in languages. I like to walk — especially in the woods and hills. And I enjoy spending time with family and friends.

OMN: What is the best advice you've received as an author?

JRL: As I mentioned upon, I originally thought about art as a career. As a youth I wrote to Thomas Hart Benton and asked what was the secret to success as a painter. His reply was one word: paint. I believe the same can be applied to writing. Practice makes perfect (or at least better). Like Steven King I'd also advise reading a lot.

OMN: What kinds of books did you read when you were young?

JRL: I read voraciously as a child, especially mysteries and tales of adventure. I'm sure early introduction to mysteries played a role in my future. I grew up before the TV era and listened to many of the classic radio mystery shows. That could have provided guidance as well.

OMN: For entertainment today, what do you enjoy watching in the theater or on television?

JRL: Mysteries, drama, some comedies. My favorite film is not exactly a mystery (well, sort of) — The Gods Must Be Crazy. Some of my favorite TV shows would be Homicide, The Wire, The Sopranos, Fargo, The Bridge, all those great PBS mystery shows and that old standby, Law & Order.

OMN: What's next for you?

JRL: I've recently finished the eighth in the Hetrick series (still needs some polishing) and started on the ninth. Another work-in-progress is the fourth in the Sheriff Sylvester Tilghman series.

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A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth is the author of 15 novels, including seven in his Sticks Hetrick crime series, and a non-fiction regional history. Since his retirement he has served as librarian of his county historical society where he assists patrons with research and genealogy. His short stories and articles have been published in a variety of magazines. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and is a past vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

For more information about the author, please visit his website at and his author page on Goodreads, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Shares the Darkness by J.R. Lindermuth

Shares the Darkness by J.R. Lindermuth

A Flora Vastine Mystery

Publisher: Torrid Books Print/Kindle Format(s) Print/Nook Format(s)iTunes iBook FormatKobo eBook Format

Jan Kepler and Swatara Creek Police Office 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, as she searches for 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, and 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.

Shares the Darkness by J.R. Lindermuth


  1. Thanks for this opportunity, Lance. It's a pleasure to visit with you on Omnimystery.

  2. Excellent interview with interesting questions and responses. Still haven't read the book, but it's on my list, John. I'm looking forward to it!

  3. I just started reading "Shares the Darkness" and I'm already hooked. I can't wait to see what happens next!

    1. 'Hooked." A word a writer likes to hear from a reader. Gracias, Pat.


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