Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Welcome, John R. Lindermuth

Welcome to From the Pages, John! I’m so glad you came by to visit with us today.

I’d like to express my gratitude for providing this opportunity. I’d also like to thank any readers who take the time to read the interviews and learn a little about the foibles of that strange breed, the writer.

I know readers are looking forward to hearing about your work, and getting to know you a little better, so I’m going to jump right into asking questions. I’ve got to admit, I’m pretty inquisitive and I’ve got a lot of them!

First, Did you always know you wanted to be an author?

I started out wanting to be an artist. I discovered a talent for drawing early on and it’s still something I enjoy. My Dad had a decent library and always encouraged me to read. When I first started writing in my teens I wanted to emulate the authors I read and who had stimulated by imagination. It was only later I realized how much my desire to tell stories was influenced by my grandfather. Health problems forced him to retire early and, as the only grandson, I spent much time in his company, listening to his wealth of stories about earlier times, people he’d known and even some I’m certain he made up.

Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man. It’s great that you got to spend so much time with him.

Tell us a little bit about your book, please.

Corruption’s Child is the third in the Sticks Hetrick mystery series. I never planned to write a series but it seems my characters had other ideas and kept intruding in my imagination.

I have read—and loved!—Corruption’s Child. It was an impulse purchase, one of those the-blurb-looks-great, I’ve-got-to-have-it things. I haven’t read the first two books in your Sticks Hetrick series but it didn’t matter. Corruption’s Child easily stands alone, I think.

How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?

I’ve written ten novels (six published and one under contract now). I think an author always harbors especially good feelings about his first published work. I’m fond of all of them but—if given the chance—there are probably things I’d change in each of them.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on now?

At the moment I’m dividing my time between a fourth Hetrick mystery and a non-series mystery.

Have you gotten any piece of writing advice that has been particularly helpful?

The best advice I ever got came, indirectly, from an artist. As a boy I wrote Thomas Hart Benton and asked his advice on how to become an artist. His reply was one word: “Paint.” I think the same formula applies to writing. I’m an empiricist. I believe the only way to learn anything is by doing it. I also support the opinion of Charles Nodier—“A writer should read until he is filled to the brim and like a pitcher which is over-filled over flows. And then he should write.”

Great advice!

I love to read, and I’m always on the lookout for reading suggestions, so I’ve got to ask, who is your favorite author?

I can’t really name one favorite writer; there are too many I admire and love reading. Some classic favorites include Poe, Melville, Emily Bronte, Twain, Dumas, Dickens, Cervantes, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London, Steinbeck, Katherine Anne Porter—the list goes on. In the modern era I’d have to name Peter Matthiessen, John Fowles, Nabokov, Jim Harrison, Jon Krakauer, mystery writers like Charles Williford, Ruth Rendell, James Lee Burke, Elizabeth George—again the list goes on and I’m always discovering new writers who make me envious.

You’ve got good taste in reading, John. Wonderful list.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

When I’m not writing, reading or drawing I enjoy spending time with my children and my four grandsons. I also like walking, especially in the woods and mountains around home. And I spend a lot of my free time on genealogy. Since retiring I’ve been librarian of my county historical society where I assist patrons with historical research and genealogy.

What’s your most comfortable outfit? Are you a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of person or a dressier sort?

I’m definitely on the side of casual attire. Except on a few rare occasions I haven’t worn a tie (the most useless piece of clothing ever forced on man) since retiring. I’m a huge fan of jeans, sweatshirts and sneakers.

Oh! My husband would so agree with you about ties! He hardly ever wears them now that he’s retired, either. I toy with the idea of making a quilt with his old ties.

Now, a question that’s purely to satisfy my own curiosity. Do you speak a foreign language

I’m fascinated by language. I’ve studied and picked up a smattering of a number—German, Korean, Hebrew, Spanish, Japanese—but can’t claim fluency in any. Right now I’m trying to improve my knowledge of Spanish.

I thought you might be a language lover, too! I share your fascination. If we lived closer we could get together and practice our language skills.

What kind of food do you like best?

You wouldn’t guess it to look at me. I’m skinny as the proverbial rake. But I love to eat and will sample virtually anything put on my plate. If I had to name favorites I’d have to say Italian and Asian (particularly the spicier Szechuan, Hunan and Korean dishes).

Where can people read more about your work?

I’m in the process of getting a professionally-designed web page. Meantime, readers can still find me at

I also have a blog at

Thank you so much for visiting with us today. I’ve loved this chance to chat with you. I hope you’ll consider returning sometime soon.

Readers, John has offered a copy of his wonderful book, Corruption’s Child, as a prize to one lucky commenter. To enter, just leave a comment. A winner will be chosen at random from the day’s comments. Tomorrow I’ll announce the winner and send the book off, so check back to see if you’ve been chosen!


Blurb for Corruption’s Child:

Retired police chief Daniel ‘Sticks’ Hetrick, still serving as unofficial consultant to his less experienced successor, has another murder to deal with in rural Swatara Creek, Pennsylvania. It soon develops the death of a local waitress is not the only trouble in the township. An elderly man has been seriously injured in the latest in a string of burglaries from the Amish, there are items missing from the police department evidence room and rumors of drug dealing are circulating.


“The Amish have a problem,” he said. “They asked me to talk to the police for them.”

“What kind of problem?”

Amos swallowed, rolled his eyes and rubbed his palms on his pant legs. “There’s been some robberies.”

Brubaker sat up. “Yeah? How come we haint heard about it?”

“You know—they like to handle things themselves.”

“There are some things they’re not equipped to handle on their own.” Brubaker leaned forward, giving Amos a penetrating look.

Amos nodded, almost apologetically. “I know. That’s why I’m coming to you now.”

“You want a cup of coffee, Amos? Let me get you one. Then you can start at the beginning.”

Funk relaxed a little after he had his coffee. He shifted around on the uncomfortable seat, leaned forward with his elbows on Brubaker’s desk. “You know, despite the differences with my own church, the Amish trust me. Some of us—me and them—is kin. That’s why they asked me to come here for them. They don’t go to the English unless they have to. ‘English’ was the term the Amish employed in regard to people, even others of German descent, outside of their sect.

Funk had the small button eyes of a weasel and they glittered in the reflected overhead light. He rubbed the back of one hand across his fringe of gray beard and grunted.

Across the desk, Aaron smelled the barnyard on the man’s clothing. “Right,” he said. “I grew up around them. I know how they are.”

“Anyway, there’s been four or five robberies…”

“Four or five!”

“Yeah. I know. You shoulda heard about it before. Anyway. It happens while they’re at services. You know. They rotate around to one another’s barns. After services, they have food together. A social time. So it can go on for a while.”

“Get to the point.”

“Well, the thieves go to the houses where nobody’s home and they take things.”

“Like what? I mean—what do they steal?”

Funk grinned and shook his head. “You think they got nothing worth taking? Think again. They don’t trust banks. So, there’s money squirreled away. More important—and mostly what’s been taken—they have stuff you English value. Antiques. What the Amish use in their homes everyday—dishes and quilts and furniture and such—you people covet and coo over like it was some kind of…I don’t know?”

“Okay, okay. I get your point.”

“Yeah. Well, that haint the worst of it.”

“It’s not?”

“On Wednesday, there was a weekday service. Old Teddy Funk—you know him? He’s a cousin to me. Anyway, he wasn’t feeling good. So, he stayed home. Those son-of-a-guns, they came and they hurt that old man. He must be nigh onto eighty. And those bastards, they hit him over the head.”

Brubaker gasped in shock. “That poor old guy. Is he…”

“He’s in a coma. They had the doctor out and he couldn’t say whether Teddy’s gonna make it or not. After that happened, that’s when they come for me. The stuff they could live without. But when people are getting hurt…”

“You done right, Amos. They should have contacted us before, but…”

The office door flew open then and Fred Drumheiser barged in, his face white, breathing heavy.

“Fred? What the blazes? Don’t you knock? I got somebody…”

“Sorry, chief. It’s an emergency. My kid found a dead body.”

Buy line:


Susan said...

Great interview!

I draw too. Not well, LOL! But it gives me pleasure.

Mary said...

Love the excerpt! Interesting interview. Going to check out the links now!

Dru said...

A quilt made out of ties, very interesting.

Great interview.