Music to Write Books By – J R Lindermuth

sharesthedarkness2It’s last few weeks of this series where authors share the music they write to. It’s been fascinating over the last couple of months to hear the music choices from authors. Today I have a native of Pennsylvania, J. R. Lindermuth who worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for nearly 40 years. He continues to write a weekly history column for the local newspaper. Since retiring, he has served as librarian of his county historical society where he assists patrons with genealogy and research. He is the author of 15 novels 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.

Hi Jack – Do you have particular pieces of music you write to?

Not a particular piece; more a type of music. Symphony Hall is generally tuned in low on my Sirius radio as I write. Unless they play something really discordant I probably won’t change the station. Though, depending on the type of story, there are times when I’ll tune to a blues station or play a CD. Some favorites: Son House, Robert Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Otis Spann, Muddy Waters, many more.

Has a particular piece of music ever inspired you to write something?

Not directly. A Burning Desire (sixth in the Sticks Hetrick crime series) was partly inspired when I read of an arsonist who had a play list.

I enlisted my son’s help in compiling a list for my character, since he’s more familiar with rock and its derivatives than me. Among the songs selected (not all were used in the book) were Joan Jett’s “I Love Playin’ With Fire;” the Grateful Dead’s “Fire in the City;” Gene Simmons’ “Firestarter;” Blue Oyster Cults’ “Fire of Unknown Origin,” and Glenn Frey’s “The Heat is On.”


Could you recommend any particular pieces of music for a specific mood?

Bach for serenity and joy. Perhaps the French Suite No. 2 or the Italian Concerto. Or Antonio Soler’s Sonata No. 62. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for powerful emotions. Mahler’s Auferstehung for sobriety. Erik Satie’s hauntingly beautiful Gnossienne for a change of pace.

Are there any longer works you can recommend. If you need to write for an hour, for example, is there a particular composer/artist you’d chose.

I’d recommend Bach, perhaps the Goldberg Variations or the Brandenberg Concertos.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on the eighth in the Sticks Hetrick series in which Chief Brubaker’s daughter is accused of murdering her lover. Musical references so far have included classical, rock and country.

Thanks, Jack for taking part in this. Jack’s book links are below. Good luck with your writing.

Book links:

6 thoughts on “Music to Write Books By – J R Lindermuth

  1. Margot Kinberg

    Delighted to see Jack Lindermuth here! And it’s always really interesting to see which pieces of music inspire different writers. Wishing you much success with your new release and with your next Sticks Hetrick!


  2. Loved the post, John. (On a side note – pun intended – I always think of you as John or, of course, J.R. but I’ve seen many people, including in this post, refer to you as Jack. Which do you prefer?)
    And, speaking of preferences, I love all kinds of music from classical to hard rock but, when I write, I need absolute silence. 🙂


    1. I’m legally John and write as J. R., though family and friends know me as Jack. I answer to all three and will even respond to less flattering titles so long as I’m not called late to the table. Thanks for commenting, Pat.


    1. Thanks for commenting, Jacqui. We’re all different. Working in a newsroom, you learn to cope with all kinds of distractions–people talking, machines clacking, the scanner going, etc. The music stimulates rather than distracting me.


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