A big welcome to one of the sweetest gals I know... debut author Anne Mateer!
A: I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember, but in 4th grade I was given the opportunity to attend a couple of summer honors camps—one for science, one for poetry. In the science class, we dissected a frog. Ew!! In the poetry class, we learned about poetry and then wrote our own. Bliss! From that moment on I knew I could make words work together and that I wanted to be a writer. In middle school I discovered historical fiction and fell in love. I wanted to weave together history and fiction but from a more overtly Christian perspective. (This was pre-Janette Oke!) Lo and behold, here I am!
Q: What was your inspiration for Wings of a Dream?
A: My grandmother was a born storyteller and often told us stories about her family. Long ago I heard about how her mother died while her father was fighting WWI in France and how her mother’s niece came to care for them. Only many years later, when piecing the story together by year, did I realize that my great-grandmother died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. After my grandmother passed away in January of 2000, I knew I wanted to spin this situation into a novel, but I couldn’t quite solidify a story and characters. Nine years later, after I’d learned much about writing and finished 4 other novels, the story fell into place. I’m still humbled and amazed that Bethany House liked it!
Q: Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A: I’ve always been a seat-of-the-pants writer, mostly because I enjoy being surprised by the story and the characters. However, my first book contract was for two books—the first completely finished and the second only a paragraph blurb! So this past year, in order to make my deadline, I have learned to be a bit more deliberate in my planning for the story, mostly so I could avoid all the rewrites I experienced with Wings of a Dream to address weak plot points! Several things have helped me to map things out a little more beforehand, including Snowflake software by Randy Ingermanson, How to Find your Story by Jeff Gerke, and the writing software Scriviner, though much still takes shape as I go.
Q: What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a fledgling writer?
A: Before you can move forward, you have to understand that talent alone is not enough. Just as an athlete who is naturally gifted must still work to hone his or her skill in a sport, a writer must work at craft—and be willing to learn! Read craft books. Attend conferences or listen to conference workshops on CD. Join a critique group. Write, write, write.
Q: What do you think about writing contests? Have you participated in any? What’s the benefit to an unpublished writer?
A: I entered several contests before I was published. They are a good way to get some feedback, to see where you are. However, my biggest caution is a person’s motivation. If it is all about the win, you’ll often be disappointed and discouraged. If it is about learning and growing as a writer, you’ll ALWAYS be a winner!
Wise words, Anne. Thanks so much for visiting with us today! And now I'd like to add my thoughts about Wings of a Dream...
THOUGHTS FROM JEN
How do I love this book? Let me count the ways.
- I love that it's a historical novel written in 1st person. Brilliant! It made me feel like I was right there with Rebekah, facing each trial and each triumph.
- I love how the story is as much about Rebekah's growth as a person as it is about romantic entanglements. The character arc is realistic and compelling.
- I love how the prose flowed so seamlessly that I never wanted to put it down. Have you ever stood in the kitchen and stirred pots on the stove with one hand while holding a book with the other? Yep, it's that kind of novel.
- I love that well-earned writing success has come to such a hard-working, lovely person as Anne. Yes, we are friends, but that's not why I'm recommending her book. It's just plain great!
- And last but not least, I love that I can add Anne Mateer to my list of must-read authors. I'm looking forward to the next one!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Mateer is a three-time Genesis Contest finalist who has long had a passion for history and historical fiction. She and her husband live near Dallas, Texas, and are the parents of three young adults.
ABOUT THE BOOK - Wings of a Dream
Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family's farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promised 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 Texas 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, Rebeka 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.
WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Wings of a Dream, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Thursday, September 15th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!