Genre: Historical Romantic Mystery
Date of Publication: March 29, 2016
# of pages: 304
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What kind(s) of writing do you do?
Novels. I’ve written a couple of short stories, but I find them very difficult. I’m much too verbose to tell a story in 2000 words.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
Yesterday my editor asked me what I read, wondering what influenced my writing. I wish I could point to one author and say, “She’s who I want to emulate,” but I can’t. There are many writers I like, but I don’t have a favorite contemporary one. There wasn’t a historical fiction novel that inspired me. Instead I wrote SAWBONES because I had trouble finding the kinds of historical fiction I wanted to read: American historical fiction set in the West without being a typical white hat/black hat, describe every gun and mesquite bush Western; gritty, violent, and realistic without being overly graphic; a story focused on the female experience in the West, with the male characters in service to the women’s stories, instead of the other way around.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The research. I’ve been warned that someone will point out an inconsistency no matter how careful I am. I suppose as long as I don’t get anything glaringly wrong, I can claim artistic license with the small mistakes.
What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?
Two things: reading everything I can, and not only in the genre I am writing; and putting words on the page.
I have a friend who seems to take everything she reads on writing to heart. She learns something new, returns to her MS (manuscript) and changes everything to fit that rule. She learns something else, says, “That’s what’s wrong with my MS,” returns and makes changes. She’s letting craft theory get in the way of writing reality. I’m not saying to ignore books, seminars, workshops and tips you receive from other writers. But, everyone’s process is different, and my hard and fast rules about writing might be different from someone else’s. What works for me won’t work for you.
What do you like to read in your free time?
I read everything. Classics, literary fiction, historical fiction, historical non-fiction & biographies, mysteries, thrillers, some sci-fi and YA.
What projects are you working on at the present? Any future projects?
Currently I’m editing the third book in the SAWBONES series (untitled as of now), and plotting the third STILLWATER in my head. Besides writing the third STILLWATER novel, I’m not sure about future plans. I have lots of half-formed ideas.
in this fast-paced historical debut.
When Dr. Catherine Bennett is wrongfully accused of murder, she knows her fate likely lies with a noose unless she can disappear. Fleeing with a bounty on her head, she escapes with her maid to the uncharted territories of Colorado to build a new life with a new name. Although the story of the murderess in New York is common gossip, Catherine's false identity serves her well as she fills in as a temporary army doctor. But in a land unknown, so large and yet so small, a female doctor can only hide for so long.
PRAISE FOR SAWBONES:
Absolutely loved it! I couldn’t tear myself away from Sawbones. An epic story of love and courage that sweeps from east to west, Sawbones will rip right through you.”
— Marci Jefferson, author of GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN and ENCHANTRESS OF PARIS
“As if being a post-Civil War female doctor weren’t hard enough, Catherine Bennett is unfairly accused of murder and forced to flee to the Texas frontier to avoid the noose. You will fall in love with Catherine, as I did, as she struggles to assert herself in a violent and treacherous world, fighting not only prejudice but evil. Melissa Lenhardt’s heroine is a passionate, compassionate woman, who must deal with Indians and bounty hunters, fear and injustice—and even love.”
— Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author
“Melissa Lenhardt has given us an amazing heroine and sent her on a thrilling journey from the teeming streets of New York City to the vast wilderness of the Texas frontier. Dr. Catherine Bennett’s adventure will keep you turning pages long into the night!"
— Victoria Thompson, best-selling author of the Gaslight Mysteries
“Raw, gritty and sometimes graphic, Melissa Lenhardt has crafted a page-turner. In Sawbones, the women are smart, brave and at times ‘incorrigible.’ The plot twists, unique characters and intriguing story of passion and betrayal make this a book well worth discovering. ”
— Jane Kirkpatrick, New York Times bestselling author of A Light in the Wilderness
Melissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.
GIVEAWAY! THREE WINNERS EACH
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March 29 - April 7, 2016
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