For today’s Sunday Dinner, I invited Donna Schlachter to talk about her latest release, Rollie’s Riddle. She’s also offering the chance to receive a free e-book to one commenter (details below).
A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 60 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.
Sunday Dinner is a traditional (noon) meal served after church on Sundays. Whole families, including extended family, would gather over a large meal to celebrate a day of rest. Multiple cultures enjoy this Sunday Dinner tradition. In my experience, I know it from both my Midwestern farm family as well as my Italian-American family. Now, I’d like to bring Sunday Dinner virtually to you. So, pull up a chair as we invite various guests to join us each week!
Without further ado, please tell us something interesting readers would enjoy learning about you.
What is something interesting readers would enjoy learning about you? I am a Canadian by birth, an American by choice.
Can you tell us about your latest novel?
Rollie’s Riddle is the tale of a senate contender, a suffragette, and stolen money—which is more important? Can Rollie save her brother—and her heart—while remaining true to her suffrage movement participation?
Why did you choose to write a story about the suffragette movement in America?
The opportunity to participate in a multi-author group spurred me to research this topic, and I fell in love with the brave women—and men—who supported the right to vote for all citizens.
What is the difference/is there a difference between suffragette and suffragist?
Great question. A suffragette is a woman seeking the right for women to vote, using peaceful protest. A suffragist is a person advocating that the right to vote be extended to more people, especially to women.
What did the movement look like in 1895?
The suffragette movement began around 1850 and continued until 1920 or so, when women won the right to vote. However, in 1895, when Rollie’s Riddle is set, the women realized this was going to be an uphill battle. The women involved in the early years had either become disillusioned or died, so a new generation of suffragettes emerged. These women, with more than 40 years of history behind them, often took on less peaceful forms of protest. But, for the most part, women snuck into meetings, kept quiet about the issues, and tried to get along with the men in their lives, who often were not supportive.
How does this topic weave into your story?
My heroine, Rollie, is a journalist and business owner who believes strongly in the suffragist movement. When she meets Lucas, a state senate contender, and learns he doesn’t think the most important topic on many women’s minds—the right to vote—is important, she is outraged. She can’t vote against him, yet he fails to represent half the population. The story centers on solving the bank robbery so her brother doesn’t go to prison, but the love interest relationship is hinged on Lucas understanding why gaining the right to vote is so integral to who Rollie is.
Were resources easy or difficult to find on these topics? Do you have a favorite resource?
My first resource was a magazine in my reading rack, Smithsonian, from several years ago. Yes, I’m behind on my reading. But there it was – the 100 Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote. The magazine has published several articles over the years. Wikipedia is good, too, and there is a documentary on PBS about the 1913 arrest and forced feeding of several suffragettes.
What is one piece of your research that you couldn’t include in the book, but wish readers could know?
The horror of the forced feeding of suffragettes, and their bravery to continue in the movement after that experience.
Do you have another book in the works? What can you tell us about that book?
There is always another book. 🙂 I’m currently writing a book that’s part of the Rescue Me Mail-Order series which releases later this month. You can find the preorder here. And the rest of the Series here.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
The suffrage movement originally was founded because women had few rights. If they worked outside the home, the wages, by law, belonged to their husband. They couldn’t own property, have a bank account, or, of course, vote. They saw gaining the right to vote as a way to influence their ability to gain the same rights granted to men.
The afternoon is slipping away, so we have to draw the stories to an end. Donna, thank you for joining us today!
If readers would like to purchase a copy of Rollie’s Riddle where might they be able to do so?
If readers would like to learn about you or your other books, how might they find you online?
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Need a writing coach? donnaschlachter.com/Tapestry
Donna is offering the chance to receive a free e-book to one commenter. Comment below to be entered. Giveaway runs until 11:59 pm central time on 5/16/2023. Open to 18+, void where prohibited, see Policy Page for other details. Winner will be contacted by replying to the winning comment, so check back here on 5/17/2023 to see if that person is you!
We’re off next Sunday for Mother’s Day (US). In two weeks, author Louise Gouge will be joining us to talk about her latest book. See you then!