During my young adult and career years, my writing opportunities ebbed and flowed, but I kept my hand in “reporting” through school year books and newspapers, and employee newsletters, with the occasional article in a community publication. When my husband and I relocated to NH to open a B&B, I once again found myself involved in journalism by freelancing for several regional, travel, and lifestyle magazines.
As much as I enjoyed writing articles, my first love is crafting stories, so I decided it was time for me to write “the great American novel.” And I knew exactly what my protagonist would do for a living. She’d be a plucky, tenacious reporter who does whatever it takes to get the story.
Because Under Fire is set during WWII, I used a 1947 yearbook to name my character Ruth Brown. Then I scoured every autobiography and memoir I could get my hands on that had been written by one of the 127 accredited women WWII war correspondents. I also read their articles and watched them in action on YouTube videos.
Despite receiving accreditation (a lengthy bureaucratic-laden process), these women had to fight for the same rights and privileges as their male colleagues. In the face of condescension, derision, and outright hostility, they forged careers as investigative journalists in a field dominated by men. Their stories about surviving European bombing raids, insect-infested Pacific islands, and scorching North African deserts are the stuff of today’s action-packed movies.
In 2015 I had an opportunity to visit England and walk in the shoes of these stalwart correspondents as I toured numerous WWII sites. The trip gave me pause as I realized how hard they worked to blaze the trail for women of future generations who can choose to be or do anything they desire. It is my hope that Under Fire honors their achievements in some small way.
Linda Shenton Matchett is a journalist, blogger, and author. 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 as a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Active in her church Linda serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader. She is author of several romance novellas. Under Fire, the first in her trilogy about amateur sleuth/war correspondent Ruth Brown, has just been released by eLectio Publishing . Click here to receive Linda’s monthly newsletter that includes book reviews, links to free book sites, historical tidbits, and more.
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. During her investigation, Ruth becomes suspicious about Jane’s job. Eventually Ruth 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.