Anne Mateer and I have been critique partners, along with Leslie Wilson, since 2002. We all started off as unpublished writers, and now we’re all published. Which goes to show that willingness to be critiqued along with a hefty dose of tenacity bodes will in this publishing biz. I am tickled pink to share with you Anne’s first novel, Wings of a Dream. It’s a beautiful story, and I’m just so thankful that I got to be a small part of seeing it birthed.
I asked Anne a few questions. I know you’ll find her answers inspirational and insightful.
Tell me about the journey of seeing this book published? Was it an easy road?
I’d been chewing on the idea for this book since my grandmother passed away in January of 2000. But it didn’t get written until 2009! What had to happen in those 9 years?
First, I had to wait for some scholarly research to be published about the influenza epidemic of 1918 so that I would have correct information for my story.
Second, I had to learn to write. Not that I didn’t already have a spark of talent that had been recognized and encouraged by teachers along the way, but it was very raw. Not that I knew that when I started, of course!
So that brings me to the second question. No, not an easy road. One of try and fail and try again. One of discipline that sometimes felt fruitless. One of practice, practice, practice and still not perfect. But one that pushed me closer to the One who created me to love words and story. Hard roads produce deeper faith. I can say that is definitely true of the journey to see this book published.
What do you love most about this book?
I love that it is connected to my family. The kernel of this story is based on my great-grandparents’ lives.
What encouragement do you have to share with other novelists working on their books?
Don’t look for the easy road with the least work. Dig in. Learn everything you can. Seek out others who can help you see your work clearly. Press into Jesus and listen for HIs direction. And don’t quit. (Unless, of course, He tells you to!)
What have you learned about God in the process of publishing?
I’ve learned that He is more concerned about the state of my heart than about me seeing my dream of publication realized. I’ve learned I can trust Him, even in rejection, to do what will bring Him the most glory. And if that is my desire, too, then rejection doesn’t sting as much, because it isn’t about me. And I’ve learned that He sometimes gives amazing gifts when you least expect them.
About Wings of a Dream:
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.
My Review of Wings of a Dream:
I had the privilege of seeing this book move through the stages of editing, and each time the book grew stronger and more beautiful. If you’re a lover of historical fiction and you enjoy a good, honest love story, you won’t be disappointed in this sweet, coming of age novel about spunky Rebekah Handricks and her dream to soar above the circumstances of her life. She, like many of us, experiences a strange rearrangement of her circumstances and expectations, and must learn how to grow up in the midst of those obstacles. Mateer’s characterization made me rejoice and cry alongside Rebekah. Her grasp of history enhanced the story in just the right way. This is a perfectly enjoyable read!