Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am excited to have Linda Matchett as my guest! Those of you who know me know I love all things WWII, so having Linda, who is a docent at the Wright Museum of WWII is a thrill for me. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Thank you for hosting me today, Hallee. I’m an author, speaker, and history geek. I have twenty-three books published with more on the way. My day job is Dining Services and Catering Manager for a boarding school, and I volunteer at the Wright Museum of WWII. I moved around a lot while growing up, then settled in the Washington, DC area after college. My husband and I lived there until 2002, when we relocated to New Hampshire to purchase and operate a bed and breakfast. My two favorite eras to write about are WWII and the 1800s, times periods that brought great changes to our country.
Tell us about your current release. My current release is Gold Rush Bride Hannah, the first in a new multi-author series that features women who participated in the various U.S. gold rushes. Hannah is set during the 1829 Georgia gold rush, an event few people know about. The idea for the story bloomed after I stumbled on a blog post about female prospectors during the California gold rush two decades later. A bit of research unearthed memoirs about the Georgia rush as well as information about the first U.S. gold rush that occurred in North Carolina in 1799. I knew I had to tell these ladies’ stories.
Here’s the blurb:
A brand-new widow, she’s doesn’t need another man in her life. He’s not looking for a wife. But when danger thrusts them together, will they change their minds…and hearts?
Hannah Lauman’s husband has been murdered, but rather than grief, she feels…relief. She decides to remain in Georgia to work their gold claim, but a series of incidents makes it clear someone wants her gone…dead or alive. Is a chance at being a woman of means and independence worth risking her life?
Jess Vogel never breaks a promise, so when he receives a letter from a former platoon mate about being in danger, he drops everything to help his old friend. Unfortunately, he arrives just in time for the funeral. Can he convince the man’s widow he’s there for her protection not for her money?
Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? While growing up, Saturday nights found me curled up with my dad watching movies from the 1930s and 1940s, so I developed a love for the era. As a result, my first crush was Jimmy Stewart, rather than one of the actors or singers my friends swooned over. I still prefer the stars of that time period.
What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? Born the night Alan Shepherd made the first crewed flight into space, perhaps it’s not surprising that the first news headline I remember is the moon walk that occurred in July 1969. My parents talked about the upcoming launch for days ahead and pored over the front pages of the newspaper after dinner. They even brought a portable black and white TV with us to the beach because we were on vacation during the event. I can still visualize the fuzzy pictures of the astronauts on that tiny screen.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I’ve always had an active imagination, and when I was seven or eight my parents gave me a lined notepad (that had a bouquet of pencils on the cover) and a package of pens to capture my ideas. I filled the pages and have been scribbling ever since. Writing stories brings me great joy.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I’m a plotter, so my story and characters are fully developed before I ever start writing. I’m a former human resources professional, so I typically determine the jobs my hero and heroine will hold, then figure out the “what if” scenario I can use because of those vocations. After that’s done, I create a scene by scene outline which ends up being ten to twelve pages long. Occasionally my characters will wander off the page, or a scene will prompt an idea to take them in a different direction, but for the most part I know what is going to happen from start to finish.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Read. Read. Read. You want to read as many books as you can in your genre. See what other writers do. Consider what you like and don’t like about the other books. It’s also important to explore other genres. Get to know what’s out there. Reading books about the craft of writing is also important in order to learn the mechanics. I’ve heard it said that to be successful an author should write every day. Frankly, that’s not always possible, but as with learning any skill, practice is what will make you better. So write as often as you can. Becoming part of a critique group will also help you improve your writing. In the beginning, it’s scary to share your work, but eventually you’ll begin to look forward to hearing your partners’ feedback.
How did you make the initial step into writing your first novel. What were some of your major roadblocks and how did you overcome them? I was part of a group blog called Stitches Thru Time, and one of the moderators came up with the idea for us to put out a collection of stories together. By this time, I had written several manuscripts, but been unsuccessful in having any of them picked up by a publisher. I was excited yet terrified about the project. The first major roadblock was to get over the fear of participating, so I could come up with a story idea. I had recently read Francine Rivers’s book Redeeming Love which is a retelling of the biblical story of Hosea set during the 1800s (still one of my favorites!). I brainstormed a list of Bible characters with my husband, and we came up with the book of Ruth. The next roadblock was to figure out how to set the book during WWII, but research always helps me push through mental barricades, and I was able to unearth the Women’s Land Army of America, a perfect fit to Ruth’s gleaning of the fields.
What is one thing that you never saw yourself doing and either do it now or have done? As much as I love history and visiting museums, I never saw myself working behind the scenes. I am blessed to be a volunteer docent and archivist with the Wright Museum of WWII. I also had the opportunity to work with the curator this past off-season to create an exhibit that will be on display at the museum beginning in August. Truly a dream come true.
Here is where you can find Linda online:
Newsletter signup: https://mailchi.mp/74bb7b34c9c2/lindashentonmatchettnewsletter
YouTube Moments in History: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4b-o_6cD8HkHNyFP-wZwJg?view_as=subscriber
Linda is giving away an ebook copy of Gold Rush Bride Hannah to a reader! See below how to enter to win: