Author Interview: Linda Shenton Matchett

Author Interview: Linda Shenton Matchett

I had the honor of meeting Linda when she interviewed me for her blog last November, and I’m so glad for this opportunity to get to know her a little more. Let me introduce you to her officially: 

Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry (of Star-Spangled Banner fame) and has lived in historic places all her life. She is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII and a former trustee for her local public library. She now lives in central New Hampshire, where she explores the history of this great state and immerses herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

You can connect with her through:  Website Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  YouTube  |  BookBub  |  GoodReads

Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Linda with rapid-fire.


CC: Sweet or Salty?

LSM: Sweet

CC: Print, E-book, or Audiobook?

LSM: Ebook and print

CC: Coffee, Tea, or Other?

LSM: Tea

Morning Person or Night Owl?

LSM: Morning Person

CC: Favorite Holiday?

LSM: Thanksgiving

I’m right there with you on the tea, Linda! In fact, I’ve got a cup of Earl Grey in front of me right now.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

LSM: I’ve been writing stories since I was in elementary school after my parents gave me a package of pens and a notebook that featured a bouquet of pencils on the front! I loved creating characters, and for some reason, most of them when I first started out were animals who talked! I also published a family newspaper for a year when I was about 12.

CC: Oh that is fun! My friends and I created a school newspaper for the last two years of elementary school. In fact, I think I still have a few hanging around. I was in charge of the joke section. Imagine that. LOL I haven’t thought of that in YEARS. 

What does your writing process look like from beginning to end?

LSM: My writing process is very regimented. Probably because of my career as a Human Resources professional, I come up with my protagonists’ jobs/avocations first, then I name and describe them. I have a spreadsheet that includes everything from their physical attributes to what irritates them or makes them especially happy. Then I come up with the premise of the story, and using another spreadsheet, I outline the story from start to finish. The other columns are texture (weather and location), date and time of day of the scene, the end of chapter hook, and any anticipated research necessary. That takes a couple of weeks. After that, I conduct the research, which is dangerous because I can do that forever! I love research. The final step is to begin writing. I have a full-time job but have a short commute, so I write for about an hour before work, then until lunchtime on Saturdays. It takes about 60 days to finish the first draft.

CC: Wow! That is incredible. I usually takes me about 6 months to complete my first draft.

What has been the biggest challenge for you on your writing journey?

LSM: Balancing my full-time job and other responsibilities with my writing career is definitely my biggest challenge. Writing “feeds me,” so I sometimes resent the interruptions that pull me away. A close second is juggling the non-writing tasks with writing.

CC: It is such a struggle not to get upset when interrupted. There really just is so much to balance in life, isn’t there?

Now I’m excited to talk about your newest release, Maeve’s Pledge (Suffrage Spinsters, Book 11).

Pledges can’t be broken, can they?

Finally, out from under her father’s tyrannical thumb, Maeve Wycliffe can live life on her terms. So what if everyone sees her as a spinster to be pitied. She’ll funnel her energies into what matters most: helping the less fortunate and getting women the right to vote. When she’s forced to team up with the local newspaper editor to further the cause, will her pledge to remain single get cropped?

Widower Gus Deighton sees no reason to tempt fate that he can find happiness a second time around. Well past his prime, who would want him anyway? He’ll continue to run his newspaper and cover Philadelphia’s upcoming centennial celebration. But when the local women’s suffrage group agrees that the wealthy, attractive, and very single Maeve Wycliffe acts as their liaison, he finds it difficult to remain objective.

Purchase your copy at  Amazon 

CC: Where did you get the idea for Maeve’s Pledge?

LSM: To come up with the idea, I researched pivotal events during the women’s suffrage movement and discovered that Susan B. Anthony and a group of women presented the “Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States” during the July 4th celebration of the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Further research unearthed the fact that the Centennial exposition committee reneged on giving women space in the main exhibit hall. So a group of women fundraised thousands of dollars in only four months to build their own exhibit space. These incidents struck a chord with me, and having attended the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, I had an inkling of what it was like to be at the exposition.
CC: I had no idea about it, but I’m not surprised. There were a lot of obstacles women faced on the road to equality and the ability to vote.
What about this story drew you to it?

LSM: As someone whose career started in the 1980s and who struggled to be taken seriously as a professional businesswoman, I could relate to these women’s desire to be taken as intellectual equals, to be able to hold office, and to vote in their representatives. Throughout a large portion of my career, women with identical experience and knowledge were paid a fraction of a man’s salary for the same job. I was hired into a large aerospace company with an undergraduate degree and was put into a non-exempt clerical position. A man my same age with the same degree was hired into a management position. No one seemed to think this was odd or out of line. I didn’t agree with the illegal activities the suffragists resorted to, but I could understand their feelings of desperation and willingness to do whatever it took to get the attention of legislators. 

CC: Then that definitely makes this an intensely personal story. I’ve not had to deal with it to the same degree, but I have experienced situations where I am taken advantage of because I am a woman, even in this “modern” age. I definitely look forward to heaven when that is not a problem.
What was some of your favorite research while you prepared for Maeve’s Pledge?
LSM: I loved digging into the Exposition, especially the woman’s pavilion. Because it was the country’s centennial, there was a lot of press coverage and photographs, so there was lots of primary source material. Ben Franklin’s great-granddaughter was the major fund raiser for the women’s pavilion, and she didn’t hesitate to use his name to get her audience with people to ask for money. By all reports, she didn’t suffer fools either! The numbers differ, but somewhere between 75 and 85 women had exhibits in the pavilion, many of them patented. Female engineer Emma Allison of Iowa operated the portable engine supplying steam power to the pavilion’s machinery, which included a printing press churning out a daily news sheet.
CC: That is really fascinating. It definitely makes me want to go look into it and research it more myself! And now as we wrap up, it’s time for one final fun question.
If you could be any superhero, who would it be?
LSM: Wonder Woman. Theoretically, she never gets tired. 
CC: Never get tired. . . Yep. I could definitely do with that one!
Readers, I hope you’ll check out Maeve’s Pledge and then leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or BookBub. You wouldn’t believe how important that is to an author.  

Reader, what do you know about the suffragist movement? Do you have any experiences were someone treated you differently because of who you were?

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