1. Did you always want to be a writer? No. I started writing about 13 years ago to stave off stay-at-home-mom boredom.
2. What were some of your favorite childhood stories/books? The first book that made an impact on me was Where the Red Fern Grows. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Lemon, read it aloud to the class and by the end, we were all sobbing.
3. Did you have a childhood hero? No, but I had two imaginary friends, Tippy & Gaga, who always let me win when we raced bicycles.
4. What has been your favorite part about being an author? It’s a toss up between not having to go into an office every day and the happiness I feel when someone says they enjoyed my work.
5. If you had not become an author, what else would you have liked to do for a living? Or what did you do before becoming a writer? I was in restaurant management & HR before I became a SAHM. Looking back now, I wish I’d become a kick ass FBI agent like Dana Scully.
6. What advice would you give to your 12 year old self? Don’t get a degree in Restaurant Management.
7. If you could time travel, where would you go first? I’d go to 1865 and stop John Wilkes Booth.
8. What was the last book that was recommended to you? Redshirts by John Scalzi. Loved it.
9. What is your writing process like? Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If procrastination is a writing ritual then YES!
10. What do you consider the most important part of the writing process? What do you consider the most difficult? The toughest part is the first draft. The most important part is editing.
11. Who or what would you say had the greatest influence on your writing? My cousin, Kenneth Mark Hoover, who mentored me through all the stages of my writing career. I wouldn’t be here without his unflagging belief in my talent.
12. What do you find most fascinating or addicting about mysteries? What’s most fascinating about mysteries is the readers. They are enthusiastic, loyal, engaging and exacting. I love them.
13. What would you tell a non-Texan reader about Texas to better help them understand the setting of your story STILLWATER? Someone asked me a similar question this weekend at Bouchercon, and I didn’t have a very good answer. Honestly, I don’t think small town East Texas is all that different from anywhere else. People and communities are the same the world over.
14. What’s next in the writing world of Melissa Lenhardt? It’s going to be a busy year! I have five books coming out between now and January 2017.
October 6, 2015 – STILLWATER: A Jack McBride Mystery
March 29, 2016 – SAWBONES (historical fiction series)
July 19, 2016 – SAWBONES #2
November 8, 2016 – THE FISHER KING (Jack McBride #2)
January 2017 – SAWBONES #3
Former FBI agent Jack McBride took the job as Chief of Police for Stillwater, Texas, to start a new life with his teenage son, Ethan, away from the suspicions that surrounded his wife’s disappearance a year earlier.
With a low crime rate and a five-man police force, he expected it to be a nice, easy gig; hot checks, traffic violations, some drugs, occasional domestic disturbances, and petty theft. Instead, within a week he is investigating a staged murder-suicide, uncovering a decades’ old skeleton buried in the woods, and managing the first crime wave in thirty years.
For help navigating his unfamiliar, small-town surroundings, Jack turns to Ellie Martin, one of the most respected women in town—her scandal-filled past notwithstanding. Despite Jack's murky marriage status and the disapproval of Ethan and the town, they are immediately drawn to each other.
As Jack and Ellie struggle with their budding relationship, they unearth shattering secrets long buried and discover the two cases Jack is working, though fifty years apart, share a surprising connection that will rattle the town to its core.