Q&A: Anne Mateer
Author and history lover, Anne Mateer, weaves an exciting tale of missionaries, money, and fast cars in her latest story, At Every Turn.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS WRITING AT EVERY TURN?
My goal in any story is first to create a compelling character, one that makes a reader want to know their story. But close on the heels of that goal is to explore a spiritual truth within the context of that character and story.
THE SETTING FOR THIS BOOK IS 1916 INDIANA. WHAT ABOUT THIS HISTORICAL PERIOD AND SETTING PIQUED YOUR INTEREST?
The setting for this book grew out of my discovery on an article about the Harvest Classic auto race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the fall of 1916.
DID YOU DO ANY SPECIAL RESEARCH FOR THIS NOVEL? HOW FAMILIAR WERE YOU WITH THIS PERIOD BEFORE YOU WROTE THE BOOK?
While I was somewhat familiar with the general time period (my first book was set in 1918-1919), I knew nothing about auto racing in these years. In fact, I had no idea there was such a thing or that it was so popular a sport! The most interesting research came when I made a trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum, which happened to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the speedway. In celebration of that upcoming event, every single car that had won an Indianapolis 500--from 1911 to 2010 was on display in the museum! I got to see the old racing cars, learn a bit how they worked, and even met a charming man whose grandfather was a mechanic on the 1922 winner. He shared his wealth of information from stories his grandfather had told him about racing before the Great War. I just love how God orchestrates things like that!
WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE BETWEEN HISTORICAL ACCURACY AND TAKING DRAMATIC LICENSE?
Having been a history major in college, this is a line that I take very seriously. My goal is always to have my characters experience a time period and events as would a person who actually lived then. But some events, such as the historic races mentioned in At Every Turn, require my fictional character to interact with a true event. I am comfortable making that happen as long as my fictional character is not responsible for the outcome or changes the outcome of the situation in a way that would become historically inaccurate.
WHAT ARE THE LESSONS OF THAT ERA THAT ARE STILL RELEVANT TO READERS TODAY?
In At Every Turn, the main character, Alyce Benson, is passionate about the Lord and especially about the gospel going forth into all the word. But as often happens when we are passionate about something, Alyce moves from accepting a God-given idea to taking it on herself to make it happen no matter what. I think we all have areas where we begin by trusting God then slowly take the matter completely into our own hands. Alyce's lessons learned in this area are more than relevant for today's readers.