Saturday, July 21, 2018

Author Interview with Linda Shenton Matchett and a Giveaway!

July 25th marks Linda Shenton Matchett’s book birthday for her WWII mystery, Under Fire. In celebration, she’s giving away an ebook copy to one lucky winner (chosen at random from those who comment. Grab a glass of your favorite summertime beverage and get a peek behind the scenes.

You have published several historical romances, but this is your first mystery. Can you tell us how that came about?

Interestingly, I wrote Under Fire before any of the other books I’ve published. I took Jerry Jenkins’s Christian Writer’s Guild Journeyman program, and the story came out of my class assignments. As a new writer, I struggled with knowing how to come up with scenes to move the plot along. Then I attended Crimebake (a mystery writer’s conference) and realized if I wrote a mystery, the scenes would be about solving the crime. As my first manuscript, it took a lot of writing, rewriting, editing, and polishing. It took quite a few years and submissions to find a publisher.

Research is an important part of writing. How did you research Under Fire?

I love to conduct research. I can get lost in it for hours! The main character, Ruth, is a war correspondent, so I read LOTS of autobiographies and memoirs by WWII journalists and photojournalists, lots of the articles they wrote, too. I found YouTube interviews of Americans and British citizens who lived during WWII. That gave me a real sense of the era in both countries, but especially what it was like to be in London during the Blitz. I also watched documentaries that were produced during the war.

How is Ruth, like you? Different?
War Correspondent Martha Gellhorn

Ruth and I are both very curious (some people might say nosy!) and tenacious. That’s what makes Ruth a good reporter. She’ll dig until she’s got the whole story. Those traits also help her solve the mystery surrounding her sister’s disappearance. In some ways, Ruth is much braver than I am. I wouldn’t do some of the creeping around she does!

How do come up with story ideas?

I’ve gotten ideas from newspaper and magazine articles, movies, TV shows, snippets of conversation, museum exhibits, and incidents I’ve experienced that make me wonder “what if…?” Under Fire came from a combination of brainstorming for class, an incident that happened in a town a short distance from where I live, and a TV show.

How do you pick the locations for your stories?

Research is sometimes the driving force for where my stories are set, although I intentionally wanted to set Under Fire in England. Even before I had a chance to visit, I was fascinated with England’s history, especially during WWII, so many of my stories are set there.

In addition to being a writer, you work a full-time job. How do you balance the two careers?

I am fortunate that I live only a half mile from my employer, so I don’t have a long commute. (In fact, I usually walk to work.) But it can be challenging to juggle all the components of being an author with working. I’m an early riser, so I write or revise my current manuscript in the mornings before going to work. Sundays before church I write and schedule my blog posts. Saturdays are for research, marketing, and social media planning. Some days, life goes according to plan, and I get a lot done. Then there are the other days…!

What are you working on now?

I just submitted book one in my Women of Courage series to an agent for consideration, and I’m in the revision stage of two manuscripts, one of which I’ll be independently publishing in the fall. It’s not titled yet, but I better come up with something soon, because the cover is almost done! The other is book two of the Ruth Brown mystery series. Once I finish the revisions on both these manuscripts, I’ll start writing book two in the Women of Courage series. It is tentatively a five book series.

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Bio: 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. A member of ACFW, Sisters in Crime, and RWA, Linda is a member-at-large for the New England Chapter of SinC and serves on the Crimebake Writer’s Conference committee. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

Book Blurb: Set in 1942, Under Fire tells the story of Ruth Brown whose missing sister Jane is declared dead. Convinced her sister is still alive, Ruth follows clues from their small New Hampshire town to war-torn London trying to find her.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Going in Circles by Jodie Bailey

Going in CirclesSometimes you have to go where you've been to get where you're going. 

Public relations manager Samantha Dellinger spends her days making stock car drivers shine while keeping her own imperfections well hidden. If only good PR could fix what's wrong with her soul. After a scandal threatens the Dellinger racing team, Sam can't afford to take any more chances. But that's exactly what their new driver, Nate Thomas, wants her to do… take a chance on him. As the two grow closer, the idea seems ever more appealing, but Sam has a secret she can't risk exposing. Even if Nate could accept her past, Sam isn't sure she'll ever be free of it. And when that secret shows up at her door, eager to tempt her back into his arms, will she fall back into old ways, or will she finally confront the past and risk her future for the kind of love she never dreamed existed? 

Heidi here. Oh my, reading Going in Circles by Jodie Bailey was such a treat! Jodie has written a number of suspense novels with Love Inspired, but Going in Circles is all romance💓

The first book of the Dellinger Racing Series, Going in Circles gripped me from the very start. When I first met Samantha and Nate they were both so very broken, and that emotional baggage endeared me to them from page one. That brokenness and honesty from both characters kept me flipping pages wanting to know how their story ends. The author writes in first person, has an amazing sense of humor, and a marvelous storytelling voice.

The settings were amazing. I felt like I was sitting with Sam on her swing overlooking the lake. And in her basement apartment with her father living above her. And in the backseat of the car while Sam and Nate were together or when Sam and Ryan, her cousin, tooled around. The house Nate bought in the middle of the book, I want to live there! Oh, and last but not least, I want to eat at Mervin's because Shirley sounds like the funniest waitress😀

The plot involved car racing, which I am not very familiar with, but I found that world quite fascinating. Though I must say, car racing took a backseat to the romance Jodie Bailey built in this novel.

Suffice it to say, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Going in Circles and can't wait for the second in the series, Stalled Out, to release! 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hidden Currents

Hidden Currents
By Christy Barritt

Romantic suspense at the beach! It’s the perfect summer read.

I picked this up not knowing anything about the writer or the series. In fact, I didn’t even know it was a series. But what a find! The story begins when an undercover cop has a price put on her head for taking down a gang. She needs a place to hide until she can testify in court, so she finds an island in the outer banks of NC.

The setting is perfect (as a North Carolinian, I loved it!). She basically pretends to be someone new and it’s fun to see how difficult the acting becomes for her. Part of her cover is that she drives the ice cream truck and sells ice cream to the tourists. Locals won’t buy ice cream from her and she can’t figure out why. Lots of fun stuff here, including a hunky next door neighbor who happens to be a former Navy Seal. She can’t seem to say anything right around him and he manages to get under her skin all the time.

While the mystery is solved at the end of this book, the story is not over. In fact, it is part of the Lantern Beach Mysteries, a 6 book series. So for some, this will be great news – you can stay with these characters through 5 more books! And these characters will be fun to follow.

I recommend this to anyone wishing they were at the beach, anyone going to the beach yet this summer, and anyone else who likes the beach (doesn’t this include everyone?) A quick read and great story.

What's your favorite beach? Or do you prefer anything but the beach? Leave us a comment for a chance to win this week's giveaway!

Review by Jennifer Fromke, an aspiring novelist who writes from NC where she pines for colder temperatures all year long. Northerners by upbringing, she and her husband of 26 years have raised three Southern-ish children, much to their amazement. Jennifer also reviews books at She writes contemporary women’s fiction and email. Lots of email.