All, Interview

Author Interview: Donna Schlachter

Happy Tuesday, Reader Friends!!

Thanks for stopping by Soulfully Romantic blog today! I’m interviewing the lovely Donna Schlachter as she discusses her novella, Echoes of the Heart, in the Pony Express Romance Collection.

Let’s get started!

About the Book


About Echoes of the Heart: Catherine Malloy, an orphan girl running from a compromising situation in Boston, answers a personal ad in a magazine, on behalf of her illiterate friend. Through his letters, she finds herself falling in love with this stranger. Benjamin Troudt is crippled and illiterate, and knows nothing of this ad. His route supervisor, Warton, who was helping Benjamin with the paperwork, has been given only a short time to live, and knows Benjamin needs help, so he places the ad. Can Catherine overcome her belief that the God of her parents has abandoned her? And can Benjamin allow God to open his eyes and his heart to love?”

About the Pony Express Romance Collection: “Join the race from Missouri, across the plains and mountains to California and back again as brave Pony Express riders and their supporters along the route work to get mail across country in just ten days. It is an outstanding task in the years 1860 to 1861, and only a few are up to the job. Faced with challenges of terrain, weather, hostile natives, sickness, and more, can these adventurous pioneers hold fast, and can they also find lasting love in the midst of daily trials?”

Purchase: Amazon                       Add to shelf: Goodreads


Thank you so much for joining me today! I’m excited to talk about your novella, Echoes of the Heart. What inspired you to handicap your hero?

We all have a lie (or two or three) that we believe about ourselves. Sometimes the lie is visible, like we’re old, or overweight, or we wear glasses, or we have scars. Sometimes the lie is invisible, like our past, or our family. Whatever that lie is keeps us from experiencing a close relationship with God. I wanted my hero to believe a lie that not only would keep him from falling in love or believing that a woman could love him, but would also threaten his job and destroy his dreams. The handicap served a triple purpose.

Oh, lies, why do we fall for them?
Mail-order Brides! They’re so popular with readers, why do you think that is?

I think that Mail-order Brides harken back to a simpler time. While many feminists would probably argue that the tradition is antiquated and demeaning, the truth is that there were few options for single women during those times. Matching a man with a bride based on her background and abilities is far more affirming than choosing a mate because of their looks. I think readers long for the simpler times, and they also long for true love not based on sexual chemistry.

Such a great point! It is nice to not add looks into the equation, but the person’s heart. What was the most difficult thing you had to research for Echoes of the Heart?  

I had already done a lot of research on the Pony Express for other projects, so knew a fair bit about this station and the lifestyle. I guess the research on the Pinkerton Agent was the trickiest as I wove my way through the facts and the legends.

How do you weave your faith into your writing?

I tend to take my characters through a similar journey that I experienced: I was raised by a non-Christian father (who happily accepted Christ just 3 weeks before he died, praise the Lord!), and a Christian mother, so I always knew about God. But like Job, I didn’t really know Him, even though I experienced salvation at age 13. However, I went my own way, convinced God wasn’t really interested in me, until I was about 36, when I came to end of myself. That said, my characters know about God, but I take them on a journey where they can’t do it on their own any longer and must turn to Him.

I love how you use your faith journey in your stories! And I’m praising the Lord with you that your father accepted Christ!
If you could write in any genre, that you haven’t, what would you choose and why?

I’d like to write some true westerns. I think readers still love them, they’re still about that simpler time, but they show the grittier side of history.

Oh, I think a lot of readers still love westerns. That would be a great genre to delve into! Last but not least, what’s next for you in your writing journey?

I am under contract with Barbour for my third novella in a collection, which I just started writing, and will edit my second novella for them later this month. Then I am working on a historical romance set in 1876 Boston about a hero and heroine who fall in love but are kept apart by their social class. Under my pen name, Leeann Betts, I will independently publish the 6th installment in a contemporary cozy mystery in June, and then I will work with an author as I ghostwrite his novel. In between, I am judging in various writing contests, and I’m really excited to be attending the Writer’s Police Academy in Wisconsin in August.

Wow! Sounds like you have your plate full. Praying blessings for you on your writing journey!

About the Author


​Donna lives in Denver with her husband Patrick, who is her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She has published four cozy mysteries and a devotional for accountants under her pen name, and a collection of short stories, a book on writing tips, and several devotionals under her own name. Her current release, Echoes of the Heart, a 9-in-1 novella collection titled “Pony Express Romance Collection” released April 1. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. She will be teaching an online course for American Christian Fiction Writers in June 2017, “Don’t let your subplots sink your story”. Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both.

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