I'm happy to introduce your readers to another debut author, my friend, Anne Mateer. Welcome, Anne. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
When I first started writing, my main characters were very like me. They seem to have become less so over the course of many books. (I wrote 4 unpublished novels before Wings of a Dream.) Now I think I often bleed into my characters without my realizing it. One of my friends noticed that Rebekah, the heroine of Wings of a Dream sometimes bites her fingernails, as I do. I hadn’t consciously paid attention to that!
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
That’s a hard one! I’m really a very predictable, boring person who rarely does anything out of the ordinary. Maybe the quirkiest thing I’ve ever done is stand up in front of the entire ACFW Conference in 2007 wearing a blonde wig on and acting like Deb Raney!
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’d always been a reader, but the summer before 5th grade I went to an enrichment course at my school. Half the time we did science. The other half we studied and wrote poetry. I discovered that I hated science and I loved writing words. I think my desire to be a writer was born that summer.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Like my taste in music, my taste in books runs over a wide range. I love, love, love the classics. I try to read at least one or two a year that I haven’t read before, although sometimes my favorites call me back. I read a lot of Christian fiction--women’s fiction and historical fiction. An occasional NYTimes bestseller (but usually years after everyone else has read them!). I enjoy mysteries (especially historical ones) and some fantasy (but not sci-fi). I still love YA and children’s literature, too! On occasion I will read suspense, but I can only handle the stress of those once or twice a year!
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Not very well! I keep thinking my world will slow as each child leaves for college, but it never seems to happen. I guess my main sanity comes in the form of a weekly lunch with my best friend of 20 years. My world literally stops for three hours as we rehash our week, laugh and cry with each other, and encourage each other in the Lord.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
My characters’ names come from various sources. Some are names connected with my family history. Others are pulled from the names in my current circle of acquaintances. Sometimes a name will just pop in my head. Many times I find them in newspaper articles of the time period I’m writing about. But I always check to make sure the name is time period appropriate.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My marriage. My husband and I married at 20 and 21, each with a lot of growing up to do. But we persevered through some difficult years and I’m proud of the relationship we have today. It’s not perfect, but we’ve learned to love each other in spite of our imperfections.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’m not particularly fond of animals, but if I had to be one, I think I’d be a cat. Cats seem to live life on their own terms, not caring what anyone else thinks. I don’t always do that very well.
What is your favorite food?
Definitely chocolate. All kinds. I’m not picky in that respect!
I've never met a chocolate I didn't like, except fudge with peanut butter in it. Tell us a little about your journey to publication.
After learning I loved words in elementary school and writing, writing, writing through high school and college, I suddenly found myself married and having babies, with little time to concentrate on that dream. During those years I simply read--and dreamed of writing. When my youngest child went to kindergarten in 2000, I took some creative writing classes to get back in the groove. I found a local writers group. I entered contests and submitted articles and stories to magazines. I received tons of rejections and a few acceptances. I finished 4 novels. In 2009, I reached the final round of the historical fiction category of the ACFW Genesis contest. A Bethany House editor read my entry and asked for the manuscript. Eleven months and two rewrites later, I had a contract!
That is exciting. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest problem has been story--that is, plot and structure. I seemed to have a knack for dialogue and creating character from the beginning, but having something happen was an issue for me. Overcoming it took reading lots of books on plot and story and also lots of practice crafting story. I think it helped me learn this when I wasn’t trying to write in the genre of my heart--historical fiction. Of my 4 unpublished novels, 3 are contemporary women’s fiction. Once I returned to historical fiction after those three experiments in contemporary, where I really wrestled with plot, I found that story flowed more easily, though it is the still the point on which I concentrate my efforts.
What advice would you give to others who are trying to get their first book published?
Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Realize that even innate talent requires discipline and learning. (I always compare it to an athlete. The physical abilities are born in them, but they must still work to shape their muscles and hone their skills for their particular sport.)
Tell us about the featured book.
Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family's farm in
, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promises adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he's the man she's meant to marry. While she waits for the Great War to end and Arthur to return to her so they can pursue all their plans, her mother's sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Oklahoma to care for Aunt Adabelle, seeing this chance to be closer to Arthur's training camp as God's approval of her plans. But the Spanish flu epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt's death, Arthur's indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebekah is torn between the desire to escape the type of life she's always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart. Texas
Please give us the first page of the book.
“Rebekah Grace, if you don’t hurry we’ll be late for the lecture.” Mama refrained from shouting, though her voice carried easily up the stairs and into my bedroom. Ladies didn’t raise their voices, after all.
“Coming, Mama.” I pinned my wide-brimmed hat over my light brown hair before turning my head from side to side, trying to get the whole view in the small looking glass mounted on the wall. The hat wasn’t the latest style, but it would do. At least for
. Downington, Oklahoma
Thankful that Mama had relented to skirts above my ankles, I raced down the stairs, hopping over the final step, then stopped to catch my breath before heading outside to meet Mama and Daddy. In spite of my excitement, I forced my feet to carry me with the slow dignity Mama expected of a young woman just turned nineteen.
My copy arrived this week. Can't wait to read it. How can the readers find you on the Internet?
You can read my blog and find out other things at www.annemateer.com, I have an author page on facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorAnneMateer, and you can follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/AnneMateer. I’d love to connect with you through any of those venues!
Thank you, Anne, for spending this time with us.
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