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.
(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.