Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Seekerville Welcomes Debut Bethany House Author, Anne Mateer + Giveaway
Cheryl here with Bethany House debut novelist, Anne Mateer. She's sharing her Genesis experiences and how they ended up leading to publication. Here's Anne!
I almost didn’t enter the Genesis contest in 2009. And if I hadn’t, I might not be writing this post today.
But the reason I almost didn’t enter might surprise you. No, I didn’t fear low scores or harsh critiques. I’d had lots of those in the 9 years I’d been seriously writing and had learned to work through them, to use them to improve my writing instead of to beat me down. I didn’t even fear the let down of doing well. I’d done that, too, and learned a good showing didn’t portend a contract right around the corner. The reason I almost didn’t enter Genesis came down to motivation. Was I entering with a desire for a pat on the back and a boost to my ego or was I entering in a sincere effort to make my work better, to learn, to grow in my craft?
After much soul-searching and prayer, I decided to enter. Though I had finaled in Genesis in 2006 and 2008, it had been in contemporary categories. This work was historical fiction, my dream genre. I can remember as far back as my early teens dreaming of someday having a work of historical fiction published. But I knew I couldn’t view the results of this contest as the “make or break” point for that dream. I knew I still had more to learn, and I wanted to learn it!
I sent off my entry and dove into preparations for my first child and only girl to graduate from high school. Just before graduation, I received the news that my entry had finaled. Ten days after that ceremony, just after putting relatives on the plane to go home, I received an email from one of the final round judges requesting the full manuscript. Which hadn’t been written. (That was my summer goal: to have it ready by the ACFW Conference in September!) I’d been around long enough to know not to get too excited. This kind of thing had happened before, only to end in a nice rejection letter. But I pushed ahead, committing to walk through every door that the Lord opened and to trust every closed door as His hand shaping my career. I finished the book, sent it off as we loaded the car to take our daughter to college.
Fast-forward eleven months and many revisions. On the day we arrived at our daughter’s dorm room to pack her up and bring her home for the summer, my cell phone rang. That sweet editor, my final round Genesis judge, offered me a two-book contract. And I cried.
Never in my wildest dreams (well, okay, but only in my wildest dreams) did I imagine this scenario. But because this wasn’t my goal when I entered the contest, it made the experience much sweeter when it came to pass. And more humbling, because it was so clearly the Lord’s doing and not mine.
My encouragement to you? Keep entering those contests, but before you hit send, make sure your motivation is one of learning and growing in your craft, not a desire to hear others lavish praise on you or to relish a spotlight of success. Go in with a teachable heart each time, determined to fairly evaluate the feedback even when it is hard. (Oftentimes there is merit in the comments that at first stagger us. This doesn’t change with a contract. In fact, it makes it more crucial to learn how to deal with those!) When growth in your skill as a writer motivates you to enter those contests, then no matter how your scores compare to the other entrants, you always come out the winner.
About Wings of a Dream:
Publication Date: September 1, 2011 (Bethany House Publishers)
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 flue 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.
Anne Mateer has long had a passion for history and historical fiction. A three-time Genesis finalist, her debut novel, WIngs of a Dream, releases in September 2011. Anne and her husband live in the Dallas area and have three young adult children.
Find her online:
Anne is giving away a copy of her debut novel, Wings of a Dream to one lucky commenter so chat away!
Cheryl Wyatt & Anne Mateer