Meet author Linda Shenton Matchett

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. She was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Now located in central New Hampshire, she enjoys exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

Tell us about your newest book.

After the death of her father, Daria Burke is thrust into the role of a servant by her stepmother. Locked in her room one night, Daria watches as the woman and her daughters sashay from the house wearing her mother’s gowns and jewelry. Realizing she’ll never be accepted as family, she flees the house and applies to be a mail-order bride. Then the sheriff arrives on the eve of her wedding with an arrest warrant. Can she prove her innocence or will she go to jail and lose her one chance at happiness?

Ewan McKay’s father was stripped of his title, property, and wealth, and sent to prison for crimes he didn’t commit. The stain of his father’s incarceration prevents Ewan from finding a woman willing to be his wife, so he uses a matrimonial agency to secure a mail-order bride. But when she’s accused of stealing, he wonders if he is destined to go through life alone.

What inspired you to write Daria’s Duke?

I get my ideas from lots of places including overheard conversations and intriguing personal-interest stories. When I was considering the plotline for Daria’s Duke, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were in the news about their decision to step away from royalty duties. I wondered what it would be like to have to/want to make that vs. having the choice made for you. So Daria’s groom is a former Scottish Duke whose title is unjustly stripped. On top of that Daria is from the privileged area of Newport, Rhode Island, so Daria must learn to live in the rustic West. I love a “fish out of water” theme. But there is also Cinderella aspect to her life because her father has died and her stepmother and stepsisters are making her life miserable.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Will a stolen inheritance and false accusations thwart the chance for happily-ever-after?

What genre do you focus on?

I love Christian historical fiction. Truth be told, I might have been born a few decades too late. Whether mystery or romance, all my books have a happily ever after. I love learning about the people and events that shaped our history, and I enjoy passing along that knowledge through stories rather than textbooks. History is often more palatable when it comes alive through the characters. I also enjoy showing how God is part of our everyday lives, and how He is there during the good and the bad times.

Why do you write?

I can’t remember when I wasn’t writing. My parents gave me a notebook and package of pens when I was around 7 or 8 years old, and I’ve been scribbling ever since. Writing feeds me. It’s my happy place. I’m an extrovert, but I can spend hours at the keyboard with my imaginary friends. I would write even if I couldn’t/didn’t publish. The process of putting together a story makes my heart sing.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Daria Burke was chosen by looking at registers of people who lived in Rhode Island during the 1840s when she was born. I combined a couple of names to come up with hers. For Ewan I went to Scottish sites to find him.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I have a full-time job, so most days I’m at my writing desk by 6:00 AM, having showered and done my devotions. I write for about ninety minutes, then head to work. I’m an outliner, which helps me get writing as soon as I sit down. I don’t have to spend time thinking about what to write. One day a week I work a late shift, so I’m able to write until almost noon that day. My research and social media are done over the weekends.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Balancing all of the administrative parts of being a writer is challenging, from book production to marketing and everything in between. I’m not as good at those sorts of things, so they take longer. I have help from editors and cover designers, but there are lots of decisions that must get made and sometimes I feel ill-prepared to make them.

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

The writing community, both authors and readers, is the best part. As mentioned, I’m an extrovert, so I love the fact that social media has allowed me to meet like-minded (booky) people from all over the world. I have friends whom I may never meet in person, but we are incredibly close. I love interacting with readers, because I’m also a reader (probably first and foremost), so I get to discover new-to-me authors. FB parties are one of my favorite activities. We play games, talk about everything and nothing. True fellowship without agenda. Readers are encouraging and supportive and a blessing to me.

What’s one thing your readers should know about you?

I moved several times while growing up and attended three high schools, meeting my future husband at the last one.

What is your favorite pastime?

Doing just about anything outside, but my favorite activities are kayaking in the summer and snow shoeing in the winter.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Daria’s Duke is my twenty-fifth book. My twenty-sixth, A Family for Hazel is coming out in October 2021. Fifteen of my novels are set during WWII, one of my favorite eras to set a story. The others are primarily set in the 1870s in the western territories, some mail-order brides, some marriage of convenience, and a couple in a series about female gold prospectors.

What are you working on now?

I finished my last manuscript for 2021, so I’m preparing my 2022 books. Early in the year I have two Mail-Order Bride books coming out, then toward the end I’m in two multi-author projects, one of which features runaway brides, and the other is Thanksgiving through the ages. I’ve only just started planning, so I have lots of snippets of ideas floating around in my head and on paper. I’d like to corral at least one of the stories by October so I can begin writing.


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