This week I struggle off my flu-ridden sick-bed (well, something like that anyway!) to bring you the thoughts of J R Lindermuth, whose brand new crime novel ‘Shares the Darkness’ has just hit the streets (with a stunningly beautiful cover). Thanks for being such a willing victim, John, and over to you!
Book Title: Shares the Darkness
Author: J R Lindermuth
Setting: Swatara Creek, Pennsylvania, USA
I believe setting to be as important as characters in drawing readers into your story. We are often reflections of the place where we dwell. This environment influences our opinions and the manner in which we relate to other people.
Swatara Creek, Pennsylvania, is the setting for my Sticks Hetrick crime series.
There is a Swatara Creek and also a township, but no town of that name in central Pennsylvania. The Swatara Creek of this series is solely my invention, though it is representative of many of the older Susquehanna River towns that have become bedroom communities for the more metropolitan areas of the Commonwealth.
Here’s a description of my town (from Something In Common, first in the series): “Swatara Creek sits on a promontory in a bend of the stream for which it’s named.
“The town owes its existence to the descendants of one Jacob Koontz who acquired the land circa 1754 after immigrating from Germany. Tradition said the rise had been the site of an Indian village at some time before the coming of Koontz and there’s evidence to support the legend since it’s still possible to find an occasional flint arrowhead if one looks hard enough down on the flats along the creek after a hard spring rain. It was said Koontz went through two wives and produced a dozen children before he decided the land was not suited to farming; the soil being too shallow and brittle with shale to produce much more than the broom grass that already covered the land when he arrived.
“So old Koontz turned his attention to providing his neighbors in that misbegotten wilderness with what was missing, and what he felt was most needed in their empty lives. He opened the first tavern in the county in a large limestone building which stands yet today on the square, though it now serves as the village municipal building, police station and library. Koontz’s enterprise flourished and led, eventually, to the distilling of whiskey in another structure located down on the flat.
“Thus, from a simple pot still behind the tavern came the industry that gave birth to the village, which was known for generations as Koontztown. But, after Prohibition closed down the distillery, the town was in danger of dying and would have had it not been for the arrival of LeRoy Finkbine who purchased the empty distillery and established his shoe factory, which provided employment for those who remained in the moribund community.”
The town and its residents have grown with the series.
A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth has published 14 novels, including seven in the Hetrick series, and a non-fiction regional history. 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.
His books are available from Torrid (http://torridbooks.com/) Amazon, http://www.simonandschuster.com/search/books/_/N-/Ntt-lindermuth Barnes & Noble and from other fine booksellers.