Hello fellow word-nerds! I am excited to introduce you to my writing friend Linda Matchett.
Linda describes herself as an author who writes about “ordinary women who do extraordinary things.” Sounds like my kind of writer! In addition to writing this novel Linda is an avid blogger on the site Stitches Thru Time, works at a high school boarding school, is a docent at a WWII museum and leads a bible study! Sounds like she is doing some pretty extraordinary things herself!
I hope you are able to pick up some amazing writing tips, or find your next read as we discuss Linda’s second book: Love Found in Sherwood Forest.
Award-winning Broadway actress Leighanne Webster has it all until an on-stage panic attack brings her career crashing to the ground. Then her sister throws her a lifeline: Come home and help produce the annual Robin Hood Festival play. Returning to England could be the salve Leighanne needs to heal her bruised feelings, except for the fact that ex-fiance, Jamison Blake, is the play’s director. But she’s a professional, able to do the job without letting old relationships get in the way. Then why does she find it so hard to focus on her work?
Five years ago, Jamison Blake broke off his engagement to Leighanne, so she could travel to New York and become the brilliant, sought-after actress she deserved to be. But he didn’t count on his heart’s refusal to stop loving her, and life has been empty since she left. Her return to Nottingham is temporary, and she is still angry about their breakup, avoiding him at all cost during rehearsals. Can he convince her to give their relationship another try despite careers that span an ocean, or will he have to let her go again? This time for good?
Can two people entangled in their own hurts and misconceptions, find their way clear to discover God’s plan for their lives-plans that may include a future together?
AZ: How did the idea for this novel develop? What was your inspiration?
LM: The idea for this story came from a writing prompt. A major publisher put out a call for submissions. And listed prompts based on the type of stories they were looking for. The prompts were a list of three items (such as an arrow, a hidden space, and a book) and also a location. I love history, but the submission request was for contemporary stories, so I had to come up with a way to incorporate history. When I saw the lists that included Nottingham, I immediately thought of the Robin Hood legend and then came up with the idea to wrap the story around a Robin Hood play.
AZ: Writing prompts are the best! Anyone out there on the lookout for some great writing prompts? Click here for a free prompt gift from yours truly. :)
AZ: Do you have any connections to theater productions or Robin Hood? Were you able to use any of your real life experiences while you wrote the on stage scenes?
LM: Over the years I have attended a lot of stage productions, but last year I performed in our school's production of Fidder on the Roof. I even had three lines! LOL. That experience helped quite a bit in writing the scenes.
AZ: Taking a research vacation is high on my writing bucket list. Did you travel to England to write gather info for this book? What was your research process for this book and do you enjoy this part of the writing?
LM: I was blessed to be able to go to England in March 2015. Until then I did research from my desk. The internet helped a lot, but I also have friends and acquaintances from England and often talked to them. The interviews were a huge help and I highly recommend interviews for any writer while in their research phase. For this particular story I had to research the Robin Hood legend and all the people associated with it. There are myriad opinions on who Maid Marian actually was, and I also stumbled on the Major Oak, a massive oak tree in Sherwood Forest thought to be 1,000 years old that was the shelter for Robin and his men. I love research and had a wonderful time during this project. And I would got back to England tomorrow if I had the chance. It was a fascinating trip, and I only scratched the surface of an amazing country.
AZ: What are you working on next?
LM: I am currently working on a novella for Celebrate Lit Publishing that will be part of a collection. The story is about a young woman on the eve of her wedding who finds out the fiance she thinks died during the war is alive. The manuscript is due to the publisher in early January, and the book will be published sometime in the Spring.
AZ: How does your faith impact your writing?
LM: My faith is an integral part of my writing. I hope to encourage and edify readers through my stories without banging them over the head or being preachy. The themes in my books are usually issues I'm dealing with personally. It helps me to work them out through writing the story.
AZ: Do you have any productivity tips for other writers?
LM: I try to pick a regular place to write. I have found myself to be more productive because it's almost like "muscle memory." When I sit down at my desk, my brain knows I'm in my writing space and it's time to work. Also you have to make time to write (vs. finding time). Schedule writing time in your calendar and stick to the appointment. Also, find a critique group. I am a much better writer thanks to the critique group I'm part of. It's an online group, and I've never personally met any of the women, but we are very close nonetheless. We came together through the ACFW main critique loop.
AZ: Thank you so much for sharing your time and words with us Linda!
LM: Thanks for hosting me!