Monday, August 14, 2017

Interview with Christian Mystery Author Linda Shenton Matchett

Book Giveaway Aug 14 - 21: Traditional Christian Mystery, Under Fire. To enter the contest, make a comment and leave your email. Paperback: U.S. / Canada and also International.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda Shenton Matchett has lived in historical places most of her life-from Edison, New Jersey (named for the famed light bulb inventor) and Washington, DC to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (reputed to be the oldest summer resort in America). A varied career has included stints as a crisis counselor, human resources professional, bed and breakfast owner, youth center director, and dining services manager. In her off hours, she can be found volunteering as a docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and as a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. She is active in her church where she serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader. Linda lives in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with her husband, Wes and their fur-baby Ben.

Welcome to my blog, Linda. Please tell us about your novel, Under Fire, which is a Christian Mystery.

Thanks for having me. Under Fire is the story about Ruth Brown, a small-town journalist whose sister Jane, is pronounced dead after a boating accident in the Spring of 1942. Ruth is angry at God for allowing the accident. Because Jane’s body is missing, Ruth is convinced her sister is still alive. A series of events and discoveries raise Ruth’s suspicions about Jane’s work at the local manufacturing plant, and then additional clues send Ruth to war-torn London. During her investigation Ruth stumbles on black marketers, resistance fighters, and the IRA – all of whom may want her dead for what she uncovers.

This book sounds intriguing. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

WWII is my favorite time period, and I am blessed to be a docent at the Wright Museum of WWII that is located in my town. An exhibit about Ernie Pyle, a famous war correspondent, made me wonder if there were any women reporters. I discovered there were more than 125 and thought it would be interesting to write a story based on their experiences. I live near Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire on which there have been many boating accidents, although I’m not aware of any that were part of a murder. After I determined my sleuth and the crime, I had to come up with the victim and the motive. I wanted to make this investigation very personal for the sleuth, so decided the victim would be her sister. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so readers will have to find out for themselves what the motive is, but let’s just say it’s war-related.

What kind of research did you do?

Research is my favorite part of the writing process, and I probably overdo it. (LOL!) I read quite a few autobiographies and memoirs by women who served as war correspondents (writers and photojournalists) during WWII. I also read a lot of first person accounts of the American and British home fronts. There are oral history projects through museums and universities, so I availed myself of many videos and transcripts. The Wright Museum allowed me to read letters they have in their archives from men and women who served in various capacities during the war. My husband managed to find a London map printed just before the war, and he also got his hands on bus and Tube schedules. As stops were bombed out, the schedules were reprinted to exclude the stations. At the time I was writing Under Fire I had not yet been to England, therefore I used the Internet for photos and information about the locations where scenes occurred. To assure accuracy with regard to forensic and crime scene details, I contacted a forensic anthropologist who was incredibly helpful.

Wow! You did a lot of work on this story. I also love learning about a time period before my time. Tell me about one of the main characters and what you love about him or her?

Ruth Brown is my main character, and I based her on my paternal grandmother and maternal great-aunt. Both were adults during the war years, yet they didn’t let the challenges and difficulties get the best of them. They remained strong, Christian women who did the best they could to raise, feed, and care for their families while praying loved ones would come home safely. I love that Ruth has that same tenacity. She is also intelligent and spunky, heading overseas to a country that is at war.

Where is your website and blog so my readers can check out your recent and past books that you have written?

My website/blog is found at www.LindaShentonMatchett.com. I’m also part of the StitchesThruTime blog found at www.stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com.

Thank you for this wonderful interview, Linda. I hope my readers will check out your new book.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Maria Hoagland


Book Giveaway Aug 7 - 23: A Sweet Romance novella, Kayaks & Kisses. To enter the contest, make a comment and leave your email. Two choices - Paperback: US only. Ebook: International.

When Maria Hoagland is not working at her computer, she can be found combing used furniture stores, remodeling houses with her husband, or sitting on the sideline of a son's soccer game. She loves crunching leaves in the fall, stealing cookie dough from the mixing bowl, and listening to musicals on her iPod. While she appreciates the home office she shares with her husband, Maria's favorite writing places are outdoors where there is sunlight and no internet. Maria Hoagland has several published works including two Whitney Award finalists, The {Re}Model Marriage and Still Time. Other works include Beauty and the Billionaire Beast, Home for the Holidays, Nourish & Strengthen, and Family Size.

Welcome back to my blog, Maria. Please tell us about your novella, Kayaks & Kisses.

Thank you so much, Linda! I love being on your blog and sharing my books with readers.

I know authors aren’t supposed to have favorites of their books, but Kayaks & Kisses is certainly one of my favorites (shh…don’t tell the other books). This sweet romance novella is part of my Romance Renovations series—my line of books that’s HGTV meets Hallmark movies. That means it will be sweet romance anyone can feel comfortable reading, and it will also contain some fun construction and renovation—this time of a business that two people are forced into sharing for a trial period. Here’s the official book description:

Brynn Caley is about to start her dream career running an outdoor sporting goods store when an out-of-town business guru makes his own offer on the property. Coerced into forming a temporary partnership, Brynn, with her ski experience, finds she has to work with fishing expert Gage to run the year-round shop. Through a series of innocent misconceptions and a few blatant lies, Brynn doesn’t realize that the handsome single guy on the construction crew is her new partner, and he doesn’t want to set her straight until he can gain her favor. She, on the other hand, would do anything not to work with the stuffy businessman she’s only met through email.

Inspired by the movies You’ve Got Mail and The Shop around the Corner, Kayaks & Kisses is a heart-warming tale of finding love in autumn leaves, outdoor activities, and new friendships.

What was your inspiration behind this story?

I wanted to write an autumn/Thanksgiving romance, and to me that means Ruidoso, NM. My family and I always rent a different cabin for Thanksgiving and spend the day hiking and enjoying the beautiful mountains and small town boutique shopping in this cute little town. I couldn’t imagine setting my story anywhere else. Add to that, You’ve Got Mail is my favorite movie, and one I watch every fall (“Bouquets of newly sharpened pencils.”), and that became the basis of the story. While this is not a retelling of that movie, it is my spin on the idea.

You love to write novellas. Why is that?

I love writing. Sometimes that means full-length novels, and lately, more and more novellas. I’ve found that my issues-driven ideas become novels and always end up in the Upmarket/Women’s fiction categories, but sometimes I want to write a sweet romance escape, something a reader can enjoy in a few sittings, to take them away from their regular life and experience a new setting and a new love. It’s the variety that keeps me intrigued as a writer.

Did you have to do any research for this story?

I always love doing research for my books, but this one didn’t require too much. I am already very familiar with the setting, so instead, the research involved looking into Basque food for my cafĂ©, and watching the movie, The Shop Around the Corner, which I’d never seen before.

Tell me about one of the main characters and what you love about him or her?

The fun part about writing these characters was the push and pull between them. I was especially intrigued with Gage because he realized early on that he needed to fix things between him and Brynn. I couldn’t help rooting for him. Together, they are a fun couple who love the outdoors maybe even more than I do.

Thank you for this interview, Maria. I appreciate your time on my blog. I hope my followers will check out your book. For those interested, here are Maria’s links below so you can check out her books.

Maria’s website: MariaHoagland.com