Researching and Writing “A Love Not Forgotten” — Linda Shenton Matchett
Today I’m happy to welcome author Linda Shenton Matchett as she shares about her new release, A Love Not Forgotten.
I must admit I’m a research geek. I absolutely adore digging through books, magazines, videos, and artifacts to discover the tidbits that make up history. When I was approached by CelebrateLit Publishing to be part of their Let Love Spring collection of romance novellas I was excited about the project, yet unsure what I wanted to write about.
Because WWII is my favorite era, I knew the story would take place sometime during the war, but that was all I knew. Then I saw a sitcom where one of the main characters got hit on the head and ended up with amnesia. That was my “aha” moment. I decided my story would revolve around a young man who sustained injuries that resulted in amnesia and the single clue to his identity would be a love letter that held his only first name. (I had him lose his dog tags in the accident.)
In order to ensure accuracy I researched amnesia and more importantly what doctors and medical professionals knew about amnesia in the early 1940s. The answer is not much, but more than I thought. I scoured medical journals, diaries, and newspaper reports from the era which sometimes supported each other, but often gave conflicting data.
Ultimately, I found there are 8-10 types of amnesia (it depends on whether similar types are combined), although not all had been discovered by WWII. Some amnesia is a result of injury, some due to psychological trauma, while others are related to malnutrition or long-term alcoholism. Treatments vary, but interestingly there were a lot of resources that discussed coping mechanisms suggesting that perhaps more often than not, amnesia is permanent and thus must be assimilated into one’s life.
I fully outline each book I write and did so for A Love Not Forgotten. However, the one element I let the characters determine for themselves was how much, if any, of Chaz’s memory would return by the end of the story. I enjoyed watching their relationship unfold. I hope you do too.
About her book:
A Love Not Forgotten:
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?
Here is the purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XVZB38Y
Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, SistersInCrime, and Romance Writers of America, she writes History, Mystery & Faith at www.LindaShentonMatchett.com.
England, Highlands Hospital, March 1946
Perspiration trickled down the sides of Chaz’s face as he gripped the letter and stared at the looping script on the page. Not that he had to read the words. He had memorized them months ago. The two-year-old paper crinkled in protest as he tightened his hold.
The moon is full and lights up my room with an eerie blue glow. It’s nearly three o’clock in the morning, and I’ve barely slept. I miss you desperately. What are you doing? Are you safe? Are you looking at the moon, too? Today’s casualty list included two more lads from the neighborhood. Giles and Vincent Thompson. Can you believe it? Two different battles, but they are both gone. Mrs. Thompson is beside herself with grief.
Mother says I should only send you cheerful, newsy letters, but our relationship is deeper than that. We’ve always been able to talk about everything, the good and the bad.
Food is dearer than ever, so even if one has points for an item, it’s impossible to find. But I shouldn’t complain, since you are probably eating tinned meat and haven’t seen a fresh vegetable since you went away.
Work is good. I enjoy what I do, although I can’t tell you anything about it. All very hush-hush. But as much as I love my job, I love you more, and I can’t wait to become your wife.
There. I’ve said it. I want to marry you. I know you didn’t propose before you left, because you didn’t want me to feel beholden, but that doesn’t change how I feel. I’ll wait for you forever. Hurry home, my darling.
Your best girl,
“Chaz! I’ve been looking for you. Are you going to sit out here all day?” The sound of boots crunching on the gravel grew louder as the owner of the voice approached. “You’ll be fried to a crisp.”
Shoving the missive into his pocket, Chaz turned toward the voice and squinted at the figure hurrying across the circular driveway.
“Come inside and have some tea.” Hospital orderly, Ian Kellogg, had to shout to be heard over the thundering surf. “The quack said sunshine would do you good, but you’re already red as a beet. Besides, you can’t avoid the lads forever.”
Chaz bit his lip. Forever. She said she’d wait forever. But who was she?
Ian’s shadow blocked the sun’s glare. Hands on his hips, he tilted his head, his usual mulish expression painting his face. “We’ll play chess. You like that.”
“Don’t coddle me. And I’m not avoiding the lads.”
“Sure, you’re not. And I’m Princess Elizabeth.”
Heaving himself to his feet, Chaz stiffened his spine. The scar tissue on his back pulled against the healthy skin and shot knife-like pain across his shoulders. He winced and swayed against the chair. He was lucky. At least he hadn’t lost a limb or damaged his face during the plane crash.
A crash he didn’t remember.