Donna Schlachter writes historical suspense under her own name and contemporary suspense under her Leeann Betts alter ego. Donna also teaches writing classes and courses and is a ghostwriter and editor of both fiction and nonfiction. Learn more about her and her books at her website where you can receive a free book by signing up for her newsletter. Today Donna joins us to discuss how she came up with the idea for Train Ride to Heartbreak, the novella she contributed to The Mail-Order Brides Collection.
The idea for this story came from a love of a movie and a friend with a great story to share.
The movie was The Fugitive, both the original series pilot and the more recent remake. I loved the idea of a train ride leading to a second chance.
My friend had recently taken a train ride from Denver to San Francisco, and she shared several delightful stories. I wondered if a train ride might be like a cruise in that it would provide an insulated environment where the travelers might do something they’d never done before. If so, this was perfect fodder for a romance, much like the old TV show, The Love Boat.
And then I saw Murder on the Orient Express, and as a lover of anything Agatha Christie, decided to incorporate a few of the details in my story.
The result? A chance meeting, two characters with integrity, and a way for God to reach both of them.
The Mail-Order Brides Collection
What kind of woman would answer an advertisement and marry a stranger?
Escape into the history of the American West along with nine couples whose relationships begin with advertisements for mail-order brides. Placing their dreams for new beginnings in the hands of a stranger, will each bride be disappointed, or will some find true love?
Train Ride to Heartbreak
1895, Train to California
John Stewart needs a wife. Mary Johannson needs a home. On her way west, Mary falls in love with another. Now both must choose between commitment and true love.
Mary Johannson has scars on her body that can’t compare with the scars on her heart. She is alone in the world, with no family, no prospects, and no home.
John Stewart is at his wit’s end. His wife of three years died in childbirth, leaving him with a toddler and an infant, both girls. Theirs was the love of fairy tales, and while he has no illusions about finding another like her, his children need a mother.
Though separated by thousands of miles, John and Mary commit to a mail-order marriage. But on their journey to Heartbreak, they meet another and realize the life they’d planned would be a lie. Can they find their way back from the precipice and into the love of God and each other, or are they destined to keep their word and deny their heart?