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Playing By Heart
Playing By Heart
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I recently attended one of the fun Facebook parties for new book releases. Anne was at the party. I learned so fun stuff about her, but when I asked Anne to share with us how God has led her on her writing journey, I was so extra moved. This is a story you will enjoy. Here is what she said:
God Used Grandma's Story
How has God led me on my writing journey? That is a question I began asking myself very early on in my serious quest for publication, so I created a file titled “My Writing Journey” to record my various ups and downs in hopes of seeing God’s hand in it all.
You see, I’d known I wanted to write fiction since middle school, but I didn’t begin a serious pursuit of both the craft and the business until 2000. That year one of my grandmothers passed away and I began to wonder if I could write a piece of her story as a novel. I took an online writing class through UCLA, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make my idea work. I finally set it aside and wrote a different story, but the original idea never left my head.
Through the years I researched various aspects of that story, but I also worked on other things, even finding a bit of success in short story publications and reaching contest finals. In fact, by the time I finished my fourth novel—a contemporary women’s fiction story—I’d almost completely left my love of historical fiction behind, believing the Lord meant me to travel a different path.
But even as I put finishing touches on that contemporary novel, readying it to submit to another contest, I received a brochure in the mail. A history symposium, several of the workshops centered around history in my city during the years of WWI. With my grandmother’s story, which took place during the influenza epidemic of 1918 still hovering at the back of my mind, I signed up to attend. I learned amazing things that day—facts I wrote down and filed away before I got back to my “real” work.
That workshop happened in January of 2008. A few months later, I received word that I’d reached the finals in ACFW’s Genesis Contest with my women’s fiction. Little did I know the devastation that awaited me. Not only did I not win that category, but my friend and roommate at the conference did! As soon as the awards banquet ended, I raced to the prayer room. In the empty darkness of that place I poured out my heart to God. He sent an amazing author to minister to me that evening, an author who told me her story of publication in historical fiction. So very clearly the Lord whispered to my heart, “It’s time.”
I returned home and pulled out the notes from the symposium I’d attended nine months earlier and suddenly I knew how to frame my grandmother’s story! A few weeks and several thousand words later, I hit send to enter my historical story in the Genesis contest. As before, I received news that I’d reached the finals. (This was actually my 3rd time to final—each one in a different category!) But this time something new occurred soon after: an email from an editor at Bethany House asking to see the full manuscript!
Two years later, that book became my first published novel, Wings of a Dream. I love how the Lord led me from learning how much I didn’t know about writing in 2000 to receiving a contract for that very book in 2010. It wasn’t a straight road. It took lots of curves and apparent changes of direction. But I believed then and I certainly know now that God was leading every step of the way.
He will take you where He wants you to go, even if the path doesn’t look like it will arrive at that destination. But in the meantime, besides learning more about writing I also learned that the only destination I wanted to arrive at was the one He had planned. Looking back, I see that the Lord led my writing, yes. But He also led me closer to Him. And that’s the only journey with a truly worthwhile destination.
Anne Mateer has a passion for bringing history to life through fiction. She is the author of 4 historical novels, a 2013 Carol Award finalist and also has a contemporary Christmas short story in the upcoming release A Cup of Christmas Cheer II. Anne and her husband live in Dallas and are the parents of three young adult children.
Learn more about and contact Anne at:
Anne's Website: www.annemateer.com
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What a great post.
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