Wednesday’s Writer with Linda Shenton Matchett

Linda Shenton Matchett

Today I have an interview with Linda Shenton Matchett. Welcome, Linda!

Do you have a special place where you like to write?

I have been blessed to have offices in my current (we recently downsized and moved) and last house. The furniture is the same, but my view now is into the woods behind our house. The trees are beautiful no matter what the season (I live in northern New England so we get all four seasons, including a winter that lasts from November to April.) There are lots of birds from hawks and falcons to woodpeckers, blue jays and cardinals. A peaceful setting that I find inspirational. In fact the room and its view is what sold us on the house when we were looking for our new home.

Have you ever received a rejection?

I’ve received many rejections over the years. Under Fire (book one in the Ruth Brown Mystery series) was rejected seven times before being accepted for publication. But my favorite rejection was from a well-known acquisitions editor at one of the larger Christian publishers in response to my very first manuscript that I sent to her in 2007. The editor wrote me a graciously-worded, lengthy response indicating that she saw potential in my writing, but that I was not ready for publication. She suggested that I read books and magazines on craft, attend conferences if possible, find a critique group, but most importantly to keep writing.

Do you take time to plot and outline your books? Or do you like to write by the seat of your pants?

I am definitely an extensive plotter. For a 40-60K book, my outline is ten or twelve pages. I create a chart that includes a column for date, weather, character POV, goal of the scene, scene, hook, and any notes such as research needs. Before I start the outline, I write a full character history for the main characters, and a partial history for my secondary characters. I do follow the characters “off the page” sometimes, but for the most part I follow the outline.

Do you ever talk about your next project or do you like to keep it a secret?

I tend to keep information about my works-in-progress close to the vest other than perhaps a comment about what the main character does for a living (e.g. USO singer, journalist) and where the book takes place. That works best for me.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Initially, a full book would take me nine to twelve months. As I have matured as a writer, I can finish a solid first draft for a 45-60K book in 60-90 days. During holidays and busy family times, I’m not able to get as much time in front of the computer, so sometimes a book can take as much as four months, but that’s unusual. I love writing novellas, because I can usually finish one in four or five weeks.

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will related to?

One message in nearly all my books is that of second chances. No mistake or sin is so bad that God won’t forgive it and take us into His family. I was a long time taking that concept to heart, so I feel strongly about sharing the message regularly.

What kinds of research do you do for your books?

I LOVE to research, always have. As a school kid, whether it was book reports or projects, I’ve always gone crazy digging up facts. I think first-person information is vital, so for my books, I read lots of memoirs and autobiographies, but my favorite way to research is to watch interviews on YouTube conducted by museums and universities as part of oral history projects.

Do you have a full-time day job? If so, how do you find time to write?

I am a dining services and catering manager for a boarding high school. It might be a fine line, but I make time rather than find time. I’m a morning person, so I’m at my desk by 6:00 and write until leaving for work around 7:45. I work a late shift on Wednesdays, so I have six whole hours to write on that day! Saturdays are for a variety of writing tasks such as marketing, research, and the like, and Sundays (outside of church) are for handling social media (blog posts-my own and guest posts, creating pins and tweets, etc.). All-in-all, I spend about twenty hours per week on my writing career.

Under Cover

(Ruth Brown Mystery series, book 3)

In the year since arriving in London, journalist Ruth Brown has put a face on the war for her readers at home in the U.S. Thus far, juggling her career and her relationship with Detective Inspector Trevor Gelson hasn’t proven too challenging. The war gets personal for Ruth when her friend Amelia is murdered, and Trevor is assigned to the case.

Life gets even more unsettling when clues indicate her best friend, Varis, is passing secrets to the enemy. Convinced Varis is innocent, Ruth must find the real traitor as the clock ticks down toward Operation Husky-the Allied invasion of Sicily. Circumstantial evidence leads Trevor to suspect her of having a part in Amelia’s death, and Ruth must choose between her heart and her duty.

Get your copy here:     Amazon

Tuesday’s Teaser with Linda Shenton Matchett

Thank you for being here today, Linda. Let’s talk about your new book, Love’s Rescue.

Describe your main characters.

(a) Parisienne Rolande Bisset has recently come to faith in Jesus Christ and is struggling to shed the guilt of her past. Trapped in a life of prostitution, she is seeking a way out, while trying to stay alive during the chaotic and dangerous last days of the occupation of Paris. She is alternately trusting and cynical having been exposed to both the best and worst of life. Despite the hurt she experienced from her family, she loves them and wants to reconcile.

(b) Part of a “high-society” American family, Simon Harlow is a Special Forces officer who used to see life in black and white. Four years fighting overseas for Uncle Sam has proven that life is often viewed in shades of gray. He wishes he were more like his best friend, Eddie, whose “shoot from the hip” approach to life has both intrigued and annoyed him.

What is the problem your characters face in the book?

Love’s Rescue is about how we all need rescuing by God no matter how “well-placed” we are. That all human beings fall short of God’s plan for us, and that without a personal relationship with Jesus we’re lost. Nothing we can do can save us. Both Rolande and Simon suffer from pre-conceived notions about other people which can lead to confusion, misinterpretation, and hurt. Rolande must embrace God’s grace fully and accept that she is a new creation in Him. Simon must shed his judgmental version of faith in order to accept that Rolande is a new creation.

What do you want readers to know about your characters?

It was challenging to write Rolande. She comes to Christ during the story while still working as a prostitute and must learn to trust in God to provide for her. I wanted to show how her understanding of sin changed as she grew as a Christian. It was also difficult to write Simon, because he could have easily come off as a critical jerk who thinks he’s perfect. Hopefully, that didn’t happen! 

Love’s Rescue

Read an excerpt

Paris, August 1944

Rolande Bisset ducked her head and pulled the brim of her starched cotton sunhat lower over her face, not so much to block the sun’s glare, but to avoid the merchants’ ogling and shoppers’ sneers. She hurried past the darkened shops, most no longer operating since the Germans arrived four years ago. Would she ever smell freshly-baked croissants or peruse a succulent collection of vegetables again?

A scorching breeze sent her hat’s veil dancing. Perspiration trickled between her shoulder blades and threatened to ruin her cobalt-blue silk suit. Her pumps had seen better days, but thanks to leather rationing, a new pair was not in the offing. The Occupiers needed the material for their boots.

Intent upon reaching her destination, Rolande failed to see a rotund woman approaching. They collided, and the woman’s elaborate chapeau slid from her upswept hair and poked Rolande in the face before landing on the pavement.

“I beg your pardon, madam.” Rolande bent to retrieve the confection of flowers, birds, and ribbons.

The woman narrowed her eyes. “Watch where you’re going, collaborateur.” She snatched the millinery masterpiece from Rolande’s grasp and drew her skirts close. Looking down her nose, she plunked the hat on her head and marched down the sidewalk.

No longer hungry, she continued down the avenue past Aux Cerises Café where the outdoor tables were filled with German soldiers. One of the men whistled and smirked, his Aryan features marred by a long scar that ran from his eye to his jaw. Her stomach clenched, and nausea threatened.

Pigs. Men were all pigs.

She continued along the avenue until she came to the tiny market her older brother owned. He never acknowledged her presence in the shop, but neither did he forbid her to enter. His wife typically looked at her with a mixture of pity and contempt.

The brass bell jangled above her head as she pushed open the door and stepped inside. Vacant shelves greeted her, and she sighed. Most patrons were smart enough to come first thing in the morning for the best selection, but she had been entertaining.

Little did he realize, Standartenführer Wilhelm Wagner was one of her most reliable sources for information. Tipsy when he arrived; before he left at the end of the evening, he was deep in his cups. With minimal prodding, he’d told her about the anticipated invasion by the Allied troops. Sure, the rumor had been circulating among civilians, but to hear it from a military man made the possibility plausible.

Liberation, at last.

“I set this aside for you.”

Rolande’s head whipped around.

Her sister-in-law, Louise, stood behind her, a brown-paper package in her hands. She looked toward the door then shoved the parcel into Rolande’s arms. “You are later than usual, and I was concerned there’d be no food remaining. There are a few potatoes and carrots in the bin, but nothing else.”

“You’re very kind.”

“It’s nothing. Now, hurry before Henri returns.”

“Je vous remercie. Why are you doing this?”

Louise waved her hand and frowned. “There is no time. He is due any moment. Give me your ration book.”

Rolande handed her the book. Her sister-in-law tore out the required stamps, then pushed the pamphlet back into Rolande’s hand.

“How much do I owe you?”

“Nothing. We are famille, no matter how Henri acts.”

For the second time that morning, Rolande’s eyes filled with tears. She was getting soft. That would have to change for her to survive the Occupation. Dipping her head, she tucked the package into her canvas bag then threaded her way through the shop to the front door where she came face-to-face with Henri.

Visage dark, he scowled. “Did anyone see you come here?”

“The whole world, Henri. It is a public street. Would you like me to wear a disguise in the future? Perhaps sunglasses and a wig.”

“Non. What I would like is for you to find somewhere else to purchase your food.”

Louise gasped. “Henri. She is your sister.”

His lips compressed into a thin line, and he crossed his arms. “She is dead to me.”

Rolande drew back as if he’d slapped her. He’d always been condescending, but to declare her dead…the words cut through her.

“Fine. I will not bother you again.” She pushed past him into the stifling heat. Where would she find food? Two other shops in town had already refused to serve her.

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About Linda

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library. She lives in central New Hampshire.

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Wednesday’s Writer with Linda Shenton Matchett

Today I have Linda Shenton Matchett talking about her new book and what life is like for her as a writer. Thank you for being here, Linda!

You are a self-described history geek. How did you develop your love for the past? I came to it late, well after I had graduated from school. My husband and I lived in the Northern Virginia area which is filled with Civil War sites. We also weren’t far from Harper’s Ferry, WV or Gettysburg, PA. As we visited these locations, we learned the stories about people who lived during these times. History suddenly became more than dates and places. I began to read everything I could get my hands on, both fiction and non-fiction.

Most of your books are written about the WWII era. What drew you to that time period? There is a wonderful WWII museum in the town where I live. When I volunteered to docent there, I met veterans and folks who had lived on the home front during that time. I was enamored with these ordinary people who did extraordinary things because their country required it of them.

How do you come up with ideas for your stories? Everywhere! Newspaper articles, conversations, books or movies that I think should have been done differently, etc. I tend to create my main character first, and I give her an unusual job for the era (war correspondent, doctor, Land Army girl, USO girl, just to name a few). Then if I don’t already have the story kernel, I brainstorm what I can do to her to make life difficult!

What is your writing process? I admire authors who can sit down and write, but I’m definitely a plotter. After I come up with my heroine and the “what-if” scenario, I create a chapter by chapter outline of the book including dates and what the weather is at any given time. The outline is generally six to ten pages. Once that’s complete, I research topics I know I’m going to need to understand. After I finished the research, I start writing. I’m blessed to have a designated room for that. I’m better in the morning, so I generally do most of my writing before I go to work. Wednesdays are my favorite because I don’t have to be at work till 1:00, and I get write for five or six hours. It takes me about eight months to get a first draft written.

Research is an important part of writing. Do you have a favorite story about that? When I decided to write my first manuscript, I went to the museum and spend two full days reading correspondence. It totally immersed me into the era, and gave me ideas for characters and stories. It was a wonderful experience.

In addition to your books, you also conduct speaking engagements. Can you tell us about that? With all the research that I conduct, I have lots of information about what it was like to live and work during WWII. One day my library director commented that she thought the information would make an interesting presentation, and asked if I’d consider creating a program for the library. What I have come to enjoy the most is after the program when I open the floor for questions and comments. Many people share of their own experiences or memories they have of the time period.

What is your next project? I’m working on a mystery about a young woman whose fiancé is killed, and she must prove herself innocent of the deed.

A Love Not Forgotten

A Love Not Forgotten (part of the Let Love Spring collection): Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?

It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

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Read a free excerpt of A Love Not Forgotten

England, Highlands Hospital, March 1946


Perspiration trickled down the sides of Chaz’s face as he gripped the letter and stared at the looping script on the page. Not that he had to read the words. He had memorized them months ago. The two-year-old paper crinkled in protest as he tightened his hold.

January 1944

Dear Chaz:

The moon is full and lights up my room with an eerie blue glow. It’s nearly three o’clock in the morning, and I’ve barely slept. I miss you desperately. What are you doing? Are you safe? Are you looking at the moon, too? Today’s casualty list included two more lads from the neighborhood. Giles and Vincent Thompson. Can you believe it? Two different battles, but they are both gone. Mrs. Thompson is beside herself with grief.

Mother says I should only send you cheerful, newsy letters, but our relationship is deeper than that. We’ve always been able to talk about everything, the good and the bad.

Food is dearer than ever, so even if one has points for an item, it’s impossible to find. But I shouldn’t complain, since you are probably eating tinned meat and haven’t seen a fresh vegetable since you went away.

Work is good. I enjoy what I do, although I can’t tell you anything about it. All very hush-hush. But as much as I love my job, I love you more, and I can’t wait to become your wife.

There. I’ve said it. I want to marry you. I know you didn’t propose before you left, because you didn’t want me to feel beholden, but that doesn’t change how I feel. I’ll wait for you forever. Hurry home, my darling.

Your best girl,


“Chaz! I’ve been looking for you. Are you going to sit out here all day?” The sound of boots crunching on the gravel grew louder as the owner of the voice approached. “You’ll be fried to a crisp.”

Shoving the missive into his pocket, Chaz turned toward the voice and squinted at the figure hurrying across the circular driveway.

“Come inside and have some tea.” Hospital orderly, Ian Kellogg, had to shout to be heard over the thundering surf. “The quack said sunshine would do you good, but you’re already red as a beet. Besides, you can’t avoid the lads forever.”

Chaz bit his lip. Forever. She said she’d wait forever. But who was she?

Ian’s shadow blocked the sun’s glare. Hands on his hips, he tilted his head, his usual mulish expression painting his face. “We’ll play chess. You like that.”

“Don’t coddle me. And I’m not avoiding the lads.”

“Sure, you’re not. And I’m Princess Elizabeth.”

Heaving himself to his feet, Chaz stiffened his spine. The scar tissue on his back pulled against the healthy skin and shot knife-like pain across his shoulders. He winced and swayed against the chair. He was lucky. At least he hadn’t lost a limb or damaged his face during the plane crash.

A crash he didn’t remember.

About Linda

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, blogger, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historic places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library. Active in her church, she serves as a choir member, usher, and treasurer. She lives in the central New Hampshire. Connect with her:

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