Anne Mateer is with us today. Hi Anne, tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.
I was born in Detroit, MI, but my parents moved us back to Texas, their home state when I was 4. I was raised in Ft. Worth and am the oldest of four children—three girls and a boy. My mom and dad were both trained as teachers, but for most of my growing up years my dad owned his own business and my mom ran the office for him out of our house. My parents taught us the value of hard work and education but they also exemplified the joy of knowing Jesus.
What’s your favorite genre to read and write? Who’s your favorite author?
My favorite genre to read and write is historical fiction, although I do enjoy reading and writing a good contemporary story as well. Favorite author is always a hard one, partly because it could be the last best book I read and partly because there are so many authors who influenced me in my younger years. A few at the top of my list are: L.M. Montgomery, Eugenia Price, Jane Austen, and Frances Hodgson Burnett. I’ve left out many, many others!
What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?
I loved both reading and writing from the moment I understood that letters made words and words made stories. I was constantly in the library for something new to read. I scribbled small stories even in elementary school, but the moment that truly set me on a path toward writing happened in jr high. I remember the evening so clearly. Mom was calling me to the dinner table, but I refused to go because I needed to finish the book I was reading—yet another Eugenia Price novel. With tears streaming down my face, I finally reached the end, shut the book, and thought I want to write that kind of story when I grow up. (Eugenia Price wrote historical novels with a very clear faith element.)
Tell us about this book. What did you learn about yourself through writing it?
No Small Storm is a novella set during the Great Gale of 1815. Remembrance and Simon are both determined to make a success of their life all on their own, but when the gale hits the town of Providence, Rhode Island, they both discover that rebuilding what the storm destroyed requires help. I have a huge independent streak in me as well, so writing this book reminded me that I need other people and that asking for help is not a weakness.
Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?
I’ve tried to be an outliner, but it never works for me. I usually have a character in mind as well as a general situation or event and do a lot of research and daydreaming. Then I start writing. It’s not the most efficient way to do things—my revisions are usually extensive and often the finished product looks nothing like the first draft!—but it’s the way I work best.
Is there a special place you like to write?
We have recently moved into a teeny, tiny high-rise condo, so I’m still experimenting with different writing places at the moment. There is a beautiful new public library two blocks away, which is a great place to write. But then there’s the French bakery down the street, too. (Not to mention at least 4 other coffee shops within a 5-minute walk!) Coffee and pastry while I write? Yes, please!
What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?
I was surprised by Simon’s backstory. When I began writing, I really had no idea why he had left Ireland to come to America. Then suddenly, during his conflict with another character, his history spilled onto the page. I have so many favorite characters in this book! I love both Simon and Remembrance and also was surprised how much I enjoyed Simon’s son, Timothy.
What advice would you give a new author?
Be patient. Writing takes practice, which means time. Writing requires revision, which takes time. Even publication of a contracted book can take many months. We all want the project in our head to reach the page and the reader ASAP, but it’s important to slow down, hone your craft, get feedback, and revise so that your finished project is more likely to have the end results you desire—connection with the reader.
What project are you working on now and how do we find your books?
I am working on another historical novella, this one set in 1835 Toledo, Ohio when Michigan and Ohio were both claiming Toledo belonged in their boundary. It is a Romeo and Juliet story, of sorts. My full-length novels are available from Amazon as well as other booksellers. My novellas are exclusively on Amazon.
You can also find links to my books on my website: www.annemateer.com