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Author Interview: Linda Shenton Matchett, Author of Under Fire

Today’s guest is Linda Shenton Matchett, author of Under Fire, a World War II historical. Linda is an author, journalist, speaker, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Active in her church, Linda serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader.

Follow Linda on her website, her Facebook Author Page, on Pinterest, and on LinkedIn.

Welcome, Linda. I have to confess that I loved your story when I read it before its publication, but I only recently learned about your flourishing career. Congratulations.

Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad we reconnected. You were a great encouragement to me when your publisher was considering my manuscript. I also learned a lot about craft from you, especially about how to look at story and character arcs.

Thank you so much. I am always humbled and blessed when someone says that the Lord used me in their writing career. I know our readers would love to hear a little about your novel, Under Fire.

Under Fire was the result of a lot of different experiences. I was an HR professional for many years, and I’m fascinated by the history of women in the workplace and their taking roles traditionally held by men which began en masse with WWII. I was enrolled in Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writer’s Guild at the same time I was reading a biography of Margaret Bourke-White (WWII photojournalist). As part of my assignments, I devised the plot about a female war correspondent/amateur sleuth. In addition to being a mystery, Under Fire follows Ruth’s crisis of faith.

What drew you to write a World War II historical?

I have always loved all history, but because of the incredible Wright Museum of WWII which is located in my town, about fifteen years ago I began to focus my interest on the WWII era. I’m impressed by the stories of ordinary folks doing extraordinary things because their country asked it of them. I wanted to explore issues that people were experiencing because of the war: deprivation, women entering the workforce in droves (whether they wanted to or not), choices they were forced to make, etc. I also wanted to explore the concept whether it a valid assumption to believe that crime, especially murder, would diminish during wartime. Or does violence begat violence?

Your heroine, Ruth, is truly on an epic journey, both dangerous and one of self-discovery. Did you model her after a person you know or an historical figure?

Ruth is a composite of my great-aunt Dorothy Holland Hatter, my paternal grandmother Margaret Nagel Shenton, and my imagination. Aunt Dot lost her husband, Norman, a few years after he returned from WWI. He had been exposed to mustard gas and spent his last two years in a sanatorium. She lived her life with a quiet strength yet had an independent streak. She did a lot of international traveling by herself which was unusual for a single woman of her generation. She had a delightful sense of humor that often caught us unawares. My grandmother lost her father when she was five years old, but adored her step-father and would often talk about how grateful she was for him. She and my grandfather struggled through the Great Depression, and as a result, she was highly resilient and self-sufficient. I hope that I have captured some of their essence in Ruth.

I usually don’t get political in my interviews, but because Ruth has faced so much in her quest for justice, and she has seen war as a civilian, what do you believe someone like her would say in regard to what is going on in our football stadiums today?

Considering that in Under Fire Ruth covers union negotiations at a manufacturing plant and the issue of rights is a large part of the discussion, this is a very pertinent question for her. I think she would be conflicted about the situation. As a journalist, Ruth would defend the players’ rights to freedom of speech, and her own willingness to “go against the grain” by taking what was perceived as a man’s job would give her empathy for the men. But as product of her era, Ruth would disagree with their actions. In the 1940s (and before) there was a hierarchy and a definite “chain of command,” so for the players to go against the grain (and against owners) to protest, especially something as sacred as the flag, Ruth would say they have a right to their opinion, but not a right to display it on the job. And then she’d dig around until she got the full story!

Ruth, like so many Americans of that time, was etched with the scars of war. For her, those scars came in different ways. Do you believe that Ruth’s generation faced a greater threat then than we do today?

Perhaps because I didn’t live through the war, it feels as if we are facing a greater, multi-pronged threat today. Terrorism is attacking from without, but disagreement and leaders who seem intent on their own agendas rather than the greater good of the country are dividing (attacking) us from within. Ruth’s generation seemed to only have one common, obvious enemy that threatened.

Please tell our readers about your writing career. I’ll share your growing list of works in this post, but I’m excited to hear what’s coming next.

I have been writing since I was in elementary school, but I didn’t get serious about publication until about ten years ago. I stumbled into several freelance opportunities which awakened my desire to create stories again. I submitted a manuscript to Barbour and received an encouraging rejection letter from Senior Fiction Editor, Rebecca Germany. She took time to give me specific feedback on what worked and didn’t work with the story and also suggested that attending conferences or classes, reading books on the craft, and securing a critique group would help me improve my skills. She then indicated I was welcome to resubmit. That was the glimmer of hope I needed. Those words told me she thought I had what it took to get published. I spent the next few years studying. I enrolled in Jerry Jenkins’s Christian Writer’s Guild, attended ACFW and SinCNE writing conferences, subscribed to a couple of writer’s magazine, and devoured books about writing. After having Under Fire professionally edited, I researched publishers and began to submit. After almost three years of submitting, eLectio picked it up, and the book came out this summer. Prior to that I had a mix of experiences. A small publisher put out my contemporary novella, but closed the business a couple of months later, so I got the rights back. I independently published that novella and two historical novellas. Another small publisher published a historical novelette with a second on the way in November 2017. As far as what’s coming next, Under Fire is the first in a trilogy, and I’d love to see books two and three get picked up. Meanwhile I keep writing, and I’m now working on another mystery, tentatively titled Murder of Convenience about a young woman who joins the USO to get out from under an arranged marriage. When her fiancé is found murdered, she must prove her innocence.

Thank you for sharing today on Inner Source, Linda, and congratulations on your fantastic writing career. 

More About Under Fire

Journalist Ruth Brown’s sister Jane is pronounced dead after a boating accident in April 1942. Because Jane’s body is missing, Ruth is convinced her sister is still alive and follows clues to war-torn London. By the time she uncovers the truth about Jane’s disappearance, she has stumbled on black marketers, resistance fighters and the IRA – all of whom may want her dead for what she has discovered.

As I noted, Linda has been a busy writer. Here are her other works:

Love’s Harvest, a Modern-Day Retelling of the Story of Ruth: Noreen Hirsch loses everything including her husband and two sons. Then her adopted country goes to war with her homeland. Has God abandoned her? Rosa Hirsch barely adjusts to being a bride before she is widowed. She gives up her citizenship to accompany her mother-in-law to her home country. Can Rosa find acceptance among strangers who hate her belligerent nation? Basil Quincey is rich beyond his wildest dreams, but loneliness stalks him. Can he find a woman who loves him and not his money? Three people. One God who can raise hope from the ashes of despair.

Love Found in Sherwood ForestAward-winning Broadway actress Leighanne Webster has it all until an on-stage panic attack brings her career crashing to the ground. Returning to England to help produce the annual Robin Hood Festival play, could be the diversion Leighanne needs. But with ex-fiance, Jamison Blake, as the play’s director, focusing on her new job won’t be easy. Breaking his engagement with Leighanne so she could pursue her dream of being a Broadway star was the hardest thing Jamison Blake ever did. When she returns to Nottingham, his heart insists he made a mistake. Can he convince her to give their love a second chance, or will he have to let her go again? This time, forever.

On the Rails: A Harvey Girl StoryWarren, Ohio, 1910: Katherine Newman loves being a teacher, but she loves Henry Jorgensen more, which is why she’s willing to give up her job to marry him. But instead of proposing, Henry breaks up with her. Devastated, Katherine seeks to escape the probing eyes and wagging tongues of her small town. A former Harvey Girl, Katherine’s mother arranges for Katherine to be hired at the Williams, Arizona Harvey House. Can she carve out a new life in the stark desert land unlike anything she’s ever known?

Henry Jorgensen loves Katherine with all his heart, but as the eldest son of a poor farmer can he provide for her as she deserves? The family’s lien holder calls in the mortgage, and Henry must set aside his own desires in order to help his parents meet their financial obligation. But when Katherine leaves town after their break up, he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Can he find her and convince her to give their love a second chance?

A Love Not Forgotten (part of The Hope of Spring collection): Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?
It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

WWII Word-Find: Enjoy hours of fun with 78 WWII-themed word-find puzzles. Descriptive paragraphs include facts and information about each topic.

To read Inner Source’s interview with Linda’s heroine, Ruth Brown, from Under Fire you can find it here.

Walking and Talking by Gay N. Lewis

My latest book, Mattie’s Choice is now available. Mattie’s story unfolds over several decades. Her marriage wasn’t a happy one to begin with, but as she made wiser, decisions, it grew better. Mattie had seen her parents in a satisfying marriage and assumed hers would be also.

Mattie’s relationship with her husband grew as a result of honoring her faith and commitment to the Lord. If she’d been wiser to begin with, she would have saved herself heartache. Before you marry, take time to know the guy. Does your family have reservations about him?

The choices we make in life bring consequences.

Let’s look at a lady from Scripture. Ruth is one of my favorite women in the Bible. She became a young widow and eventually remarried. Boaz, her second husband, was familiar to her mother-in-law and well-respected in the community. His actions proved him a good and Godly man. The consequences of Ruth’s choices led to the birth of King David, and later on, Jesus.

After the death of her husband and two sons, Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, decided to return from Moab to Bethlehem. Ruth, her daughter-in-law chose to go with her.

Here’s a devotional I recently posted on my blog.

As we think about Naomi and Ruth taking that forty-mile journey from Moab to Bethlehem, what did they walk and talk about?

Ruth must have asked, “What’s it like there? Will your people accept me? Any idea where we will live? What will we eat? Does my clothes look okay?”

Ruth was walking into the unknown. Courage joined her faith for the journey. She had no idea that one day she’d be King David’s grandmother.

She was clueless that she’d be an ancestor to Jesus.

Hang tight. God blesses faith and courage.

Don’t you know Ruth was surprised and thrilled when God gave her a husband? Can’t you imagine amazement today as her good deeds continue to follow her?

We may not know how wide reaching our influence is until our earthly road takes us to heaven. Our deeds and actions will bring results far into the future that we’ll never see down here.

When Ruth began her journey with Naomi to a foreign country, she left her comfort zone. She couldn’t sense the bend around the road. So why did she leave the familiar and branch out into the unknown?

  1. Love for her mother-in-law.
    The obvious reason is love. Marches for women’s rights hadn’t begun back in those days. Such a thought would never cross a female’s mind. Social Security and Medicare didn’t exist either. Men in the family were to take care of the widows and orphans. Naomi had no husband and no sons. Naomi had a faithful, loving daughter-in-law who shouldered the responsibilities. Ruth was willing to take on duties that should have belonged to her husband. She loved Naomi.
    Hmmm. She sounds like a modern lady, right? Many women these days are assuming men’s responsibilities. Is that good or bad? Remember, Ruth wouldn’t have stepped in if she’d had a husband.
  2. Faith in her new God.

Ruth’s previous Moab god, Chemosh, was not real. Through the testimony of Ruth’s new family, Ruth came to believe in the One and Only God.  In Ruth 1:16, she tells Naomi, “Your people will be my people and your God my God.

Wow! What did Ruth see in this Jewish family that made her want what they had?

Would your lifestyle bring someone to your faith? Do you have someone willing to give up parents, country, and privilege to move away with you?

  1. The Commitment is Certain. The Decision made.

Ruth tells Naomi, “Where you die, I will die. Where you are buried, I will be buried”

In other words, Ruth says to Naomi,

“I’m not going back. I’m staying.”

FAITH MOVES FORWARD. NEVER BACKWARD.

Hebrews: 11:1 says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” KJV.

Ruth hoped and had faith in God that she and He could take care of Naomi. Even though Ruth couldn’t see around the bend in the road, or what was over the mountains, her faith kept her plodding forward. One step at a time. Doing what she needed to do.

Ruth set a good example for us, didn’t she?

Take heart dear woman or man of God. Even if you don’t know how to get across the hardship, God already knows.

We can see multiple lessons in this story, but the one I want to focus on today is this:  These two widows had no idea I’d be talking about them today. They’d be shocked to read their names in Scripture. And they’d be more amazed to how see Ruth is in the genealogy of King David and Jesus.

I don’t know if I’m touching lives as I go about my day daily existence, but God knows. Maybe one day from on high, I’ll be flabbergasted to see some of the choices I made down here helped to transform a life. I believe if my fictitious Mattie were real, it would be the same with her.

Choices, good and bad, make a difference.

You don’t know the influence you have either. But like Ruth and Naomi, make the journey. Even if you can’t see the road you’re on.

BUT USE A GPS IF YOU HAVE ONE!

Follow my blog for faith and humor insights. http://gaynlewis.blogspot.com/

About the Author:

A native Texan, Gay lives in Fulshear, a small town west of Houston.  She loves to travel and engage in artistic ventures. Two videos she produced —The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, sold well in international markets. Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.

As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country.  Gay is also a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.

All of the Sarah books have appeared on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List. The Sarah series is available in eBook format as well as print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pelican Book Group, and other book sellers. Some additions are available in Amazon Audible. Each book in the series is a standalone novel.

Her latest books, Mattie’s Choiceand Clue into Kindness are not fantasy and romance. These books are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.

The books are available in print, eBook, and audio.

For more information, please go to http ://gaynlewis.com/

Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog.

http://www.gaynlewis.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/gaynlewis
www.facebook.com/GayNLewis and also on Twitter @GayNLewis2.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

About Mattie’s Choice:

It’s 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse’s abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.

When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife–the vivacious Ella–Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens.

Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.

Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?

 

 

Author Interview: Jude Urbanski

judy_pic_2Today’s guest is Jude Urbanski, author of Joy Restored. Jude Urbanski, pen name for Judy Martin-Urban, is a multi-published, award-winning author who writes women’s fiction with inspirational romance elements. She weaves stories about strong characters spinning tragedy into triumph with God’s help. She is published in fiction and nonfiction. Jude was a columnist for Maximum Living, a Gannett magazine, for five years. She is a member of ACFW and National League of American Pen Women.

Jude, thank you for being our guest this week on Inner Source.

You are so welcome! I’m very glad to be here.

Would you mind sharing with us the message of Joy Restored?

The book speaks to several issues actually, but personal loss with its universal phenomenon of grief is one major focus. When going through dry patches, lapsed faith or loss, we tend to ask “Where is God?” The message I want to share is that God is always on the journey with us even when we feel He is not. And in ways that take our breath away. I also impart that sometimes love happens twice!

Jude, your message is close to the one that I try to relay in all of my novels: God is in all of the details of our lives.

The novel is set in small town America during or just after the Vietnam War. I remember a time when we would turn on the television in the afternoon, and it was filled with reports from Vietnam. I also remember the day it was announced that America would be withdrawing troops. I have only known one individual personally who fought in Vietnam, but I remember that I was not yet a teenager, but I sat outside and cried in relief when the announcement was made. Do you have a special connection to that era, or do you know anyone who fought in Vietnam or maybe a loved one who lost someone, like your heroine Kate, even before that person died?

My good friend lost her brother in Vietnam. I remember as a young mother watching the news and thinking that my husband or my brother could easily be there. My heart ached for this terrible tragic time. Now, I have seen how so many of those soldiers returned in body, but not in mind. This was the case with Clayton Davidson, husband of my heroine.

Kate is a single mother who must work to support her children. I admire her because my mother had to do much the same when I was growing up. What do you believe are the biggest problems facing single mothers during Kate’s era and today?

I admire your mother or any mother working to hold a family together. That is not an easy thing to do. I was a single mother after an unwanted divorce and yes, know what it means to do that. The problem in supporting a family in Kate’s era was that women definitely didn’t earn as much as their male counterpart. Hey, we’re still negotiating that! There were also stereotypes as to a woman’s role. Women were smart enough in that era, but may have not had the educational opportunities. Today an educated woman is more likely to be able to support her family, but it is still hard to do alone. I’m sure Kate experienced the same frustrations and joys as all mothers always have.

Both your hero, Seth, and Kate have suffered deep loss in regard to their loved ones. Is this loss something that you have dealt with?

Indeed, both Seth and Kate suffered deep loss in that they each lost a spouse and Seth also lost a child. He went through depression after the loss of his wife and child while Kate had unrelenting anger with God.

They each came through the parched desert in their lives in different ways. Seth helped Kate to restoration of faith.

I lost a husband to an accidental death and though we were divorced, the grief was acute. I also lost my first grandson in a car wreck for which his mother, my daughter, was responsible, due to driving under the influence. She was left with a forever traumatic brain injury. We all experienced great loss even though God was gracious and she is a miracle story today. My daughter and I wrote the story of this dark period for our family in our book, I Can’t Remember Me.

In Joy Restored, when I wrote the story of my characters’ losses, I knew how they felt. I wanted to show God is with each of us on our journeys, no matter where they take us, even in the darkest valleys.

I am truly sorry for all of the lost, but I am glad for the joy that the Lord has bestowed to you. He truly is in the details, and He never leaves us alone.

Do you have any future projects in the works? If so, please share with us what those are.

I’m excited about my fourth book for which I am seeking a home. My working title is Manna for the Morning. I think it is probably my best work.  Securing a publisher has been elusive so far, but I am hopeful. I know rejection is part of the business. I also write non-fiction articles and do free-lance editing.

Fay, it’s been a delight to talk with you. Thank you for having me. Anyone can contact me via my website, blog, Facebook or Twitter! You can also see my other releases by visiting Desert Breeze Publishing.

Thank you, Jude, for being with us and sharing your Inner Source.

JoyRestoredCoverArt72dpi_(1)About Joy Restored:

Waging War against God

Kate Davidson wears a mask since her husband’s life was snuffed out on a mountain curve. Outwardly, she continues to care for her children and home. Inwardly, she wages battle with God. Clayton may as well have died in the jungles of Vietnam as in a one-car accident on the Wolf River Bridge.

Living Life for God

Widower Seth Orbin well understands life and death in God. He wades through rain and lightning to rescue Kate and her kids from a mountain-top storm. The kids find great adventure in being stranded at Seth’s cabin, but the adults sidestep an unexpected attraction that fateful night.

Hard-won Faith

After sensing their wide spiritual gulf, Seth is conflicted by his growing love for Kate. He longs for her parched faith to heal, but she’s convinced he’s deluding himself with ideas of peace. Besides, Seth’s longtime girlfriend won’t exit the love triangle gracefully.

Will Kate refuse God’s healing and Seth’s love? Or will death steal Seth from her as well?

Be sure to meet, Jude’s heroine from Joy Restored, Kate Davidson.