Donna Schlachter is a hybrid author. She writes squeaky clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than fifty times in books, is a member of several writers groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both, and is an avid oil painter.

Do you write in more than one genre? Yes, in historical and contemporary. All contain some romance, some mystery, and are squeaky clean.

Where do you write? What, if any, distractions do you allow? I like to write at home, in my office. Distractions include two large cats, a husband who shares my office, and a basket of laundry that seems to grow exponentially with my lack of time to address it. I also like to write at a local coffee shop once a week so that I can say I do get out from time to time. Oh, yes, and so I can eavesdrop.

What are you currently working on? I am working on a contemporary Christmas romance to be released in November. Set in a mountain town called Christmas Ridge, I feature a woman who leads the local food ministry and a widowed veterinarian with a seven-year-old son.

Who’s your favorite author? Agatha Christie.

How long did it take you to write your first book? About two years, including edits and re-writing, although the first 50,000 words came together in 20 days (NaNoWriMo)

How long to get it published? Twelve years.

How do you come up with character names? For historical, gravestones in cemeteries. Or a contest in one of my newsletters, as with this book. Her name is Edith. A strong name for a strong woman.

What’s the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? I want my men to sound like men, not like masculine women. Tricky until I took a course at a writer’s conference that explained how men talk to each other and how they talk to women. Eye-opening.

Do you have subplots? If so, how do you weave them into the novel’s arc? I always have subplots, most of which come from one of my main character’s interests or job. I weave them in like spaghetti, and most often, they culminate at the end and are part of the main plot.

Looking to the future, what’s in store for you? I am committed to several multi-author projects for books in 2023 and still have a couple of my own series I want to continue, as well as noodling around ideas for a brand new series.

Do you have any advice for new writers? Never. Quit.

Hollow Hearts: Middle-aged widow Edith Cooper walks away from the cemetery along the Green River near Simpson’s Hollow, Utah Territory. Away from the husband buried there this morning. Away from their plans and dreams for their future. Along the way, two men offer their hand in marriage. For her protection, one says. For his children’s sake, says the second. Were any of these reasons enough to marry? She must choose one. But which?

Albert Whitt, the stationmaster of the Pony Express Station, loves his independent life. Twice stood up by women, he takes the only course that ensures no more rejection: stay clear of them. But when he learns that the stoic Widow Cooper is considering two proposals from men not worthy of lacing her boots, he must do something. But what?

Can Edith and Albert find a new beginning in the midst of tragedy, or will they choose the most convenient path—alone?

You can find out more about the story or pre-order the eBook here:

Leave a comment, and Donna will draw randomly for a print copy (US only) or an eBook of Hollow Hearts. Don’t forget to cleverly disguise your email address like this: Donna AT livebytheword DOT com.

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