Genre: Historical Romantic Mystery
Date of Publication: March 29, 2016
# of pages: 304
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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
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Names are almost as difficult to think of as titles. Sometimes, a perfect name comes to me quickly. Other times I’m searching through popular baby naming sites. Scrivener has a name generator which has totally changed my life. I also wander around historic cemeteries and note popular and/or unique names.
Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.
I’ve thought a lot about this and my answer might seem wrong, but bear with me: women.
Men—their accomplishments, ideas, beliefs and perspective—dominate our history books, as well as historical non-fiction. To drill down a little more, our history is dominated by war, conquest, and politics, three areas women have only begun to have a voice in. (Insert top historical non-fiction titles.) You can read a history book, or non-fiction, and think everything important was accomplished by men. It’s rubbish, but men have been writing the history for so long, much of what women did and achieved has been lost.
The good news is women own historical fiction. Seventeen of the twenty Amazon historical fiction top sellers feature women as the main characters. The irony of being ignored in the official history is we have more latitude when writing fiction. We can give our forgotten women stories rich with emotional resonance and brimming with period detail. I think the challenges women faced in the past aren’t so different than the ones women face today. Their stories resonate, which is why they are so popular.
What book do you wish you could have written?
Not the book, necessarily, but the character: Scarlett O’Hara. She’s a true anti-heroine. She’s despicable in almost every way but somehow Margaret Mitchell has you rooting for her all the way to the end. One of the most brilliant characters in fiction.
What’s something fun or funny that most people don’t know about you?
I had imaginary friends when I was a child. Tippy and Gaga and I always won every game we played.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
Don’t stop believin’.
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.
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March 29 - April 7, 2016
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