Monday, November 17, 2014

{I could write a book}

Introducing Halee Matthews....
If I had a dollar for every time someone said when learning I've written a book, they've "always wanted to write one..."

But the thing is...every one has a story...but few write them...

So I  asked my friend Halee how she got started.

I've always been a writer. From the moment I first wrapped my little fingers around a pencil, I've been scribbling thoughts and ideas. But I haven't always written fiction. In fact, if you told me seven years ago that I would write a novel, I would've smiled politely while thinking, Okay, crazy person.

I tried writing fiction when I was a kid. It wasn't very good. I was smart enough to realize that. And when you grow up in a competitive family, you either get good at whatever it is you attempt or you find something you are good at. I didn't know how to get better. And the one writing workshop I went to actually made it harder for me to write.

I figured it just wasn't for me. So at the age of ten, I dumped fiction and focused on poetry. Poetry was good to me. People liked my poetry. It came easily, flowed effortlessly.
And then, as with all great personal stories, things happened that changed everything.
In 2008, I found myself in a period of my life when I wasn't sure who I was or what career goal I should be pursuing. I was lost. And writing was tugging at my soul, calling me back.
At the same time, I was reading a lot. Because, well, I wasn't working toward anything, so I had the time. I kept thinking about Jane Austen, wishing I knew more about her and her life. {anne sighs at halee's answer...}

One particular day, I found myself wandering around the library, browsing the shelves for something new. A book at the bottom of the shelf caught me eye. Just Jane whispered the spine.
Curious, I slipped it out from the other books. Could it be?
It was. Penned by Nancy Moser, it was a fictional account of the life of Jane Austen. I took it home and drank in each page. Everything about this interpretation of Jane resonated with me—the way she described her characters, the way she couldn't wait to escape big social gatherings so she could return to the friends who existed only in her mind. {yes! introverts unite!}

It's the characters. The thought smacked me in the face. They're why I read books. Could they be how I actually write a book?
So I tried it. Why not? I had nothing to lose. I created a character; I gave her a personality, ideas, values. Based on those, I gave her a career. I gave her family. Next I asked, "Based on her personality, what can I do to completely shake up her world?"
So I did it.
I wasn't writing with the goal of publication. I didn't really have any plans for the book at all.

I was writing for me, just to see if I could.
I didn't draw connecting bubbles to chart out the action like that writing workshop said I should. I didn't follow the 1-2-3s or the A-B-Cs of plotting. I created a character. And everything flowed from her.

I'm not claiming my book is incredible. I still have a lot to learn, and I like that. I hope I never feel like I've reached the point where I've got it all figured out.
But Just Jane got me started. It took me from believing I couldn't write fiction to writing two novels, elbows-deep in a third. It opened me up to a whole world of story I didn’t even realize was locked away in my soul.

It's funny, how the moments that change our entire lives often feel so inconsequential at the time. I had no idea finding that book would change who I was. But it started this journey for me.

And on this journey, I've met my family. We may not share genes, but Anne, Jaime, Kara, Laurie, and Sarah have become my sisters in every way that matters. We share life--the good, the bad, and the what-in-the-world-is-happening. They support me and challenge me and help me figure out the best way to kill people. {anne explains: halee writes murder mysteries!} They understand my slightly murderous soul in a way no one else ever has. I am both a better person and a better writer because of them, and because I risked a venture I'd once doubted.


Halee Matthews started writing the moment she figured out how to hold a pencil, though her spelling has improved a bit since then. She has been a staff writer for several newspapers and magazines, and ventured into the freelance editing world in 2009. When she's not plotting murder, savoring a cup of coffee, or taking her purple chucks out into the real world, you can find her hanging out at her blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

What about you? 
What journey has caused you to take a first step?
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Find me on: Twitter


  1. I'm intrigued. So Halee, do you have a book published yet?

    1. Hi Gail! No books published yet. It's a slow process, but there's nothing else I'd rather do.

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  3. I'm glad you're my sister and I'm glad you started writing fiction! Your characters are amazing! <3

    1. Aww, thanks Laurie! I'm so glad you found/stalked me. ;)

  4. Thanks for this post, Halee and Anne - I really enjoyed learning more about your writing journey, Halee!!

    I've had a lot of journeys and first steps in my 70 years!! One of the latest is my decision a year or so ago - to start an encouragement/support ministry of Christian fiction writers/authors.

    I had reached the point of not being as socially active outside my home as in previous years - due to health issues. Because my 3 best friends were also experiencing family/health/work issues the opportunity for social contact had become less frequent also. I also began to feel that I needed to do more for God and perhaps in a different way.

    I felt His leading into my ministry and also found that I was uplifted and encouraged as much as my writer/author friends, in addition to forming an even closer relationship with Him. The many writers/authors/reviewers/reader friends have added so much joy to my life and have been such a blessing - I was so grateful for their prayers during a cancer diagnosis, surgery and recovery, a few months ago. Proof that God had more than one purpose in His plans for me.

    1. Amen, bonton! Isn't it incredible how God uses the strange and confusing times in our lives to produce something beautiful? Never in a million years would I have wanted to end up in a place outside a specific career path and yet, I don't think I'd have started writing fiction if I hadn't been desperate to find myself again.

  5. Love you to pieces!!! (and not the murderous kind)

    1. You mean you're NOT gonna chop me to pieces? So sweet of you! Well then, I love you to puree. ;)

  6. So much love! Right back at you - I'd be lost if it wasn't for you (and your beloved CMoS!).

    1. I love that you encourage my obsessive love of all things punctuation and grammar! You can have my CMoS OCD any time you need it. :)


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