I met Anne Mateer when we were both in Gayle Roper's mentoring class at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference in 2005. We've been friends since then, although connecting mainly via the Internet and at meetings. Now I'd like you to have the opportunity to meet Anne, whose debut novel, Wings Of A Dream, is slated for release on September 1.
I’m not sure, exactly, what event to peg as the beginning of my writing journey. Was it my first creative writing class during my senior year of high school? Or the encouragement from my sophomore English teacher after a short story writing assignment? Perhaps it goes back to middle school, when I sat on my bed bawling over a work of historical fiction and wishing one day I could write one. Or the two-week summer enrichment class on poetry before my 5th grade year. Maybe it began in kindergarten, when I learned to read and began to devour books.
The starting place really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I have been on this journey for a very long time. But the funny thing about long journeys: sometimes you forget the milestone memories along the way. The children of Israel did that on their forty year trudge through the wilderness. I didn’t want to follow in their footsteps. So several years ago I sat down, opened a new document on my computer, and titled it My Writing Journey. Beneath that I wrote: How God Managed to Orchestrate My Writing Career.
Talk about faith! At the moment of that document’s creation, I had no guarantees this writing thing would ever be more than a frustrating hobby! But that day I sat down and began to comb through my history, working from memory and from a submissions spreadsheet I’d started in 2003. It was as fascinating as placing pins on a map of a cross-country journey, full of interesting twists and turns and out of the way places. Places I knew I had no way of finding on my own. I had to be led there, by invisible fingers of Sovereignty.
I’ve learned so much along that serpentine highway. First from local writers groups, then a critique group. Through two stints at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ conference (during one of which I met my illustrious host!) and four ACFW conferences. Through publications and rejections of articles and short stories, to contest successes and editor and agent rejections of entire novels.
With the release of my debut novel on September 1, I now stand at what was originally my destination: publication. Yet now I see that this pinnacle doesn’t mark the end of the journey. Instead the road climbs a bit steeper, runs a little narrower. It’s more important than ever that I fill in My Writing Journey document and review it on occasion. Seven pages in chronological order so I can see the journey I’ve walked. A map of remembrance instead of a map of direction. But it’s okay that I don’t get to see where I’m headed. Throughout my travels of this long and winding road, I’ve come to more fully trust the One leading the way.
Anne Mateer loves delving into the history of ordinary people and imagining out their stories. Her debut novel, Wings of a Dream, releases Sept. 1. She and her husband live in the Dallas area and are the proud parents of three young adult children.