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.