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John Richard Lindermuth

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Fact, Fiction And The Anthracite Coal Region
Monday, March 22, 2004  7:18:00 AM

by John Richard Lindermuth



Historical Fiction
News article that appeared March 21, 2004 in The Daily Item, Sunbury PA


By Marcia Moore

The Daily Item

COAL TOWNSHIP - Retired newspaper reporter and editor John Richard Lindermuth's first novel is set in a fictionalized anthracite coal region during the early 19th century.

The Coal Township resident based "Schlussel's Woman" on a region he knows well because of the potential it offered in character development.

"The early days in the coal region were like California during the gold rush," he said. "It just didn't get the same attention.

"They attracted the same type of ambitious, even bad, people who came to get wealth from the earth."

"Schlussel's Woman" is set in the 1820s, about 50 years before deep coal mining began.

It centers on a character, Capt. Isaac Schlussel - a supplier of blasting powder needed to develop deep mining - who is killed by an assassin.

Lindermuth, who worked as a journalist and editor in Shamokin and Lebanon until his retirement in 2000, said he's been developing the story for years.

The title character is based on an actual person whose slaying in Lebanon remains unsolved.

"That's what sparked the idea," Lindermuth said, describing his novel as an "historical suspense" story that should appeal to history and mystery buffs.

He is presently employed as a librarian at the Northumberland County Historical Society, where he conducted some of his research.

Although there are a few historical figures and actual places, such as Sunbury, depicted in the novel, Lindermuth said he chose mostly to write a fictional account.

Mixing historical fact and fiction allowed him to be more creative with his characters and situations he placed them in.

"I didn't want to be locked into reality," he said.

Lindermuth continues to write and has posted a serialized mystery novel on the Internet at keepitcoming.net

 

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