Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Guest Post by Anne Mateer!

Giveaway runs October 2-8

Today we are so happy to welcome Anne Mateer! I have had the pleasure of getting to know Anne a little better over this last year. She has a wonderfully sweet spirit and has definitely been an encouragement to me in my writing journey. Her success as a writer/author is inspirational, particularly to those of us who hope to follow in her footsteps with our own works of historical-fiction! Be sure to enter the giveaway for her new book at the end!


Some of you may recognize her as the author of three published novels: 

A Home For My Heart (Just Released!)

 


I hope you enjoy reading Anne's account of her journey of writing
A Home For My Heart as much as I did!
I thought it would get easier, wielding a situation and characters into an entire book, crafting a story that would capture the reader’s attention and imagination. It hasn’t. If anything, it’s become harder.

The release of A Home for My Heart marks my seventh novel--four unpublished, three published. (The eighth is turned in, being prepared for a 2014 release.) And while, yes, I’ve learned so much along the way that have made me more confident in the writing process, I’ve also come to see my weaknesses more clearly, and the desire to strengthen these is what has made the writing of each book more difficult.

A Home for My Heart was particularly grueling in this respect. First, the research was elusive. A scrap of information about a home for orphan and friendless children in a small central Pennsylvania town captured my imagination. But details were not readily available. It took digging and searching, even then coming up with only pebbles of information when I sought boulders, or at least rocks of some heft. Being a stickler for historical accuracy, it galled me to “make up” too much, even within the confines of a novel. This became a weakness to be overcome.

In my previously published novels, subplots were minimal, most characters contributing to the main character’s story. This was fairly understandable, given that each is told in first person point of view, which makes story lines about other characters harder to develop in depth. But I felt A Home for My Heart needed to tell the story of some of the children in the orphan home as well as the matron’s story. I thought I had done a fair job of this in my first draft, but my editor helped me see that my effort had fallen short. A very glaring weakness. One that required many hours of anguished work and yes, even tears.

Finally, I knew that in A Home for My Heart I wanted to explore an established romantic relationship with the main characters rather than a budding one. Much more difficult to portray. Much more difficult to keep a level of conflict and anticipation. Another place where I knew I didn’t excel but felt the pull to attempt. Another source of agony in the writing and rewriting.

A Home for My Heart turned out to be by far the hardest book I’ve written. In the process, I rediscovered that pushing yourself to do new things, better things in your work is difficult, sometimes overwhelming. That climbing to new writing heights requires perseverance and commitment and tenacity. That perfecting your craft requires an eye of reality to assess you work, tear it apart again, remake it. But I learned something more than how to create a better story. I learned that the end of a difficult project is so much more rewarding, so much more satisfying than one that doesn’t require as much effort.

Are you in comfortable, content place in your writing? Don’t stall there, shying away from recognizing or strengthening the weak places in your writing. Reach farther. Stretch higher. Attempt something you don’t know if you can do. Whether that book becomes published or remains one of your practice pieces isn’t what matters. The goal is to grow as a writer and as a person. When that happens, you will always come away with something to be proud of. 


Anne Mateer:
While I have been writing for what feels like my whole life, I began seriously studying the craft in 2000. Since then I have completed five novels, had several pieces published in local periodicals, attended six writing conferences and managed to final in ACFW’s Genesis contest in 2006, 2008, and 2009. My first historical novel, Wings of a Dream, released in September 2011. My second, At Every Turn, is currently available. But writing is only a piece of my life.   

I am mostly just a woman trying to live her life in a manner pleasing to the Lord. That involves being a wife to Jeff and a mother to my three teenagers–neither role coming easily but both roles stretching me, requiring me to press in closer to Jesus. And because of this, Jesus has taken an insecure, fearful, sometimes angry girl and is turning her into a more trusting, peaceful, grace-filled woman. At least some of the time. There is still such a long way to go! - See more at: http://www.annemateer.com/about/#sthash.7yK3SbFS.dpuf





    Anne is graciously giving away a copy of her new book, A Home For My Heart! To enter, leave a comment. You can double your entries by adding the book to your Goodreads shelf and leaving a second comment saying you have done so. 

17 comments:

  1. Anne, I know exactly what you mean. For my Roman research, I too was turning up little pebbles! I had to contact some historians in England and jump through various hoops to get the information I needed. Thanks for being dedicated to getting the information you need and for encouraging us all to stretch farther.

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  2. I'm not a writer, but as a reader I certainly appreciate the efforts you go through in your research! One of the things I like about historical fiction is that I feel I am learning something in the process of reading.

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  3. I added A Home for My Heart to my Goodreads shelf!

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  4. Yes, those historical details can be so frustrating to track down, but they add so much to the story. And like Patty said, they add that extra element of learning something new for the reader. I love that!

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  5. Thank you for sharing your journey. I'd love to be in the drawing for your book!

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  6. It's so good to hear from writers like you, Miss Anne! That's why I really appreciate this blog. : ) I know what you mean about subsequent novels being harder to write ... it seems like at the end of a novel I have trouble being motivated to get the next one off the ground! And then it is hard to make it different and try new things. But I appreciate the encouragement ... now I know the difficulty is not just mine! And then the research bit is hard. I have a project going where I'm only finding "pebbles" and I have yet to figure out how to find more. You are inspiring, and I love the sound of "A Home for My Heart."

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  7. I'm a reader and cannot imagine how much research and time goes into writing one book. I'm very thankful we have writers like you, so that we can read awesome books. Thank you for sharing your talent and giving the opportunity to enter this giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  8. I added A Home For My Heart to my Goodreads shelf.

    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  9. I can't wait to read this! It's on my to read list.
    bookwormgal2011(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  10. Y'all are so sweet! Thanks for stopping by Word Painters today. And thank you for your interest in A Home for My Heart and the writing process.

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  11. I was very excited to see your blog on here today and it encouraged me a lot. Thank you for being open and honest, because I am just a wife and mother like you. Your new book sounds like it is going to be an awesome read and I cannot wait to read it. Orphans are so close to my heart and the topic hits home with me. Not that I was an orphan, but my heart has always been drawn to their need for love and a home. Please add me to your drawing and I am going to add you to my Goodreads list right now. God bless!

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  12. The covers are gorgeous!!! :) This is going on my want-to-read list in my head--I don't have a Goodreads shelf! :(

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  13. I'm so glad you were encouraged, Cara! And yes, Anna, Bethany House does AMAZING covers! I am so blessed!

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  14. I really loved what you said about "aiming higher in your writing" and not just staying where you are comfortable. And I really agree with you when you said the goal is to grow as a writer and as a better person. I think that for Christian writers, our writing should be an outflow of our walk with Christ. :) Anyways, thanks for sharing.

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  15. I agree, Taylor! And since my writing is my offering, my worship, I want it to be the best it can possibly be, so I keep trying to move forward. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

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