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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

ℚ♫ Stillwater: Jack McBride Mysteries [1] - Melissa Lenhardt

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Stillwater (, Skyhorse Publishing, 304 pages) a a Crime / Police Procedural Thriller, book one of the Jack McBride Mysteries series, which is being released TODAY!

Dangerous things lurk beneath the placid surface in Stillwater, Texas. Secrets shunning the light of day, decades-old betrayals, lies that have taken on a life of their own. Moody and atmospheric, utterly compelling, you don’t want to miss Melissa Lenhardt’s marvelous début novel, STILLWATER.” — Harry Hunsicker, former Executive Vice President of the Mystery Writers of America, author of THE GRID.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

Hello Mellissa, welcome to BooksChatter!

To begin, do you have a music playlist that you used in Stillwater, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"When I created this playlist, I tried to find songs to represent each character, as well as songs for certain events/plots of the book.

Homegrown - Zac Brown Band (Stillwater)
Extraordinary Girl - Green Day (Ellie)
Soldier - Willy Clay Band (Miner)
I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab for Cutie (Jack/Ellie)
Youth Without Youth - Metric (Ethan)
The Man Who Sold the World - David Bowie (Buck Pollard)
Tick Tick Boom - The Hives (Jack’s anger gets it’s own song!)
She’s Got You - Patsy Cline (spoiler!)"

What was the inspiration for Stillwater?

"STILLWATER started, many years ago, as a modern day retelling of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION.  When I couldn’t make it work, or got bored (that was the phase in my writing career when I would get distracted by every shiny new idea) I put it aside.  I came back to it one year during NANOWRIMO and decided to turn it into a mystery.  I kept Ellie, the main female character, a few of her personality traits, and the town."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Not nearly enough for this to be an interesting answer.  I’m pretty dull, which is why I write fiction."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Stillwater - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"My editor asked me for cover ideas nearly a year ago, which was so exciting.  I had lots of ideas and publishers don’t always ask for input.  I scoured the internet looking for pictures, creating a mood wall on Pintrest and generally procrastinating from writing.  I told her what I did want (color) and didn’t (a photo of water). I found the photo on the cover and sent it saying it was a great small town representation, but Stillwater would be a little more dilapidated . I think the way they used the photo, mirrored as if reflected in water, bright blue sky instead of water, was brilliant.  We didn’t change a thing."
Why should we read Stillwater and what sets it apart from the rest?
"One of my pet peeves in fiction, whether it’s books, television or movies, is the trope of the bickering couple whose fighting masks true love.  I’ve never known a bickering couple I wanted to spend time with in real life, why would I want to write one?  I also think it’s a poor relationship model for young people, or really people of any age.  I wanted to write a relationship where the two meet and there’s an instant connection, on both sides.  It’s less will they/won’t they and more when will they and won’t they hurry up!  In my personal experience, the drama isn’t falling in love, it’s staying together, and that’s the relationship I wanted to write.

Now, being up front with a featured romantic relationship in a mystery, book one, is pretty out of the box.  I hope hard core mystery fans will come along with the ride with us because there’s lots of drama, and mystery, in store for Jack and Ellie.  Their relationship is more grit and gore than champagne and roses, though we make time for the latter."
Can you tell us something quirky about Stillwater, its story and characters?
"Ellie was named after Anne Elliot, in PERSUASION and Jane Maxwell was the Lady Russell character.  The town is named after Stillwater, MN.  The second case Jack catches is based on a recurring dream of my mother’s."
Who would you recommend Stillwater to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Mystery fans.  Romance fans.  Fans of small town settings.  Fans of character driven plots."
If you could / wished to turn Stillwater and the Jack McBride Mysteries series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I love this question and I’ve definitely thought about it.  I have specific actresses in mind for Ellie, Kelly and Sheriff Ann Newberry.  The male characters are more difficult. I’d rather let the reader picture the characters themselves than tell my preferences."
What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I want to have a career where I write across different genres.  So far, I’m meeting that goal. Besides STILLWATER, the first novel in a 3-book historical fiction deal, SAWBONES, will be published on March 29, 2016 by Redhook, a Hachette imprint.

I’ve sent my agent a women’s fiction novel I wrote set in the Stillwater world, with Kelly Kendrick, Ellie’s best friend, as the main character.  It’s pretty far out of my wheelhouse, so we’ll see what happens."
What is your writing process?
"Procrastinate. Write. Procrastinate. Take a nap. Read. Write. Not necessarily in that order."
What is in store next?
"Skyhorse picked up THE FISHER KING, the sequel to STILLWATER, for publication in Fall 2016.  It’s set six weeks after the end of STILLWATER and, unfortunately for Jack, things aren’t going so well.  He’s investigating a successful Stillwater businessman on suspicion of being a drug lord, Jack’s twin brother is in town making life difficult, his relationship with Ellie is strained (it would be too big of a spoiler to say why) and people keep getting murdered!"
Thank you for the insights you have shared with us and thank you again for being with us today.

Stillwater - available NOW!

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US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for introducing us to this author. What a terrific interview! It's always great to get to know the authors whose books we read.