We’re often advised to write what we know. A majority of my stories and novels have been set in my home state of Pennsylvania, since it’s the territory I know best.
My Sticks Hetrick crime novels are set in a fictional town near Harrisburg, an area where I lived for 20 years. Much of my historical fiction takes place in the anthracite coal region, where I was born and raised and now live again.
Some might suppose the coal region a dismal area with little to attract visitors. In fact, tourism has become a major industry for many of our communities, focusing both on the history and resources for outdoors
For instance in the small community of Ashland visitors to the Pioneer Tunnel http://www.pioneertunnel.com/home.shtml can descend into a mine and learn how coal is mined and/or take a ride on a narrow gauge steam train. Just off the Pioneer property there’s a state-operated mining museum.
Then there’s Jim Thorpe (named for the Native American athlete who is buried in the community), which is even more focused on tourism http://jimthorpepa.com/. The town offers a variety of attractions: The Asa and Harry Packer mansions, the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, tours of the old jail where a number of Molly Maguires were hanged, a butterfly sanctuary and a variety of unique shops and restaurants, as well as rafting on the river, mountain and trail biking, and hiking in the surrounding mountains.
Or you might go to Pottsville and tour Yuengling, America’s oldest brewery https://www.yuengling.com/over21/over21.php?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.yuengling.com%2F.
Had enough of history? The region is also home to Knoebels, America’s largest free-admission amusement park https://www.yuengling.com/over21/over21.php?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.yuengling.com%2F. The park has more than 60 rides for adults and kids, an historic carousel, a swimming pool, golf course and camping facilities.
Care to just get back to nature? Ricketts Glen State Park http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/rickettsglen/ offers hiking (22 beautiful waterfalls along the trails); swimming, boating and fishing on Lake Jean; picnic facilities and camping.
A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth is the author of 14 novels, including six in his Sticks Hetrick crime series, and a non-fiction book about Pennsylvania coal mining history. He currently serves as librarian of his county historical society and writes a weekly column on local history for two newspapers. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and is vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
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(All info provided by Author)