Interview with Dianne Matthews

» Posted on Oct 11, 2012 in Blog | 8 comments

This week I’m hosting  Terri Reed with The Doctor’s Defender, Marta Perry with Naomi’s Christmas, Dianne Matthews with Designed for Devotion (non fiction), and Amy Lillard with Saving Gideon. If you want to enter the drawings for the books, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawings end Sunday (October 14th) evening.

Interview with Dianne Matthews:

1.    When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I learned to use a pencil in first grade! (I didn’t attend kindergarten.) As a little girl, I loved to make up stories and share them. But as an adult, I didn’t have the courage to pursue creative writing. It was just a fantasy that I carried around until my mid-forties when I was asked to write articles for our church’s newsletter. That was enough to get me hooked.

2Who/what encouraged, motivated, inspired you?

Our pastor at the time, David Jankowski, encouraged me to think about writing professionally and urged me to attend a writing seminar. Shortly after that, a brochure for the Write-to-Publish conference appeared in my mailbox. Despite my fears and doubts, I attended—and a new, wonderful world opened up to me.

3.     Since then, you’ve published four daily devotional books. What do you find most rewarding about writing devotions?

I absolutely love finding creative ways to illustrate a Bible verse or spiritual principle, whether using elements of nature, historical events, pop culture trivia, news events, my own personal experiences, or any other source. I love drawing out practical application that demonstrates how relevant the Bible is to our lives today. I also enjoy trying to find a way to end with a statement that helps the content stick in the reader’s mind (especially when I come up with a pun). And feedback from readers motivates me to keep writing devotionals. It’s such a blessing when someone tells me that a devotional has spoken to their specific situation, or says that one of my books is a part of their regular quiet time. 

4.    What do you think is the hardest aspect of (freelance) writing? What is the biggest challenge you face as a writer?

It’s tough to juggle all the business aspects of the freelance life—marketing/promotion, maintaining contact with editors, staying educated on the publishing industry, record-keeping, managing a website and online presence, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to find time to write! My biggest challenge is probably staying focused and disciplined when I don’t have a contract or deadline. I also have a hard time choosing which ideas to pursue and which ones to put on the shelf.

5.    Tell us about your newest one-year devotional book.

Designed for Devotion gives an overview of the Bible from beginning to end. It explains the background and factual information for each book, including the author, theme, purpose for writing, and historical setting. It highlights the key stories and characters in the OT and gospels, and explores the basic teachings of the NT writers.

 In the part of the book that covers the Old Testament, I sprinkled occasional “Jesus Sightings” (in keeping with the theme of a trip or journey). These devotions focus on how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. I also included devotions about the 400-year period between the Testaments, the concept of “theophany”, the distinction between the Major and Minor Prophets, and other topics. Another goal was to show how the Old and New Testaments fit together to form a single story.

Since I’m not a Bible scholar, this book is not an “academic” book even though it shares a lot of historical information. Each day’s devotion ends with a practical application that encourages readers to apply that day’s spiritual lesson to their own journey with God. My hope is that this book will be enjoyed by seasoned students of the Scriptures as well as those new to Bible study.

 6.    What are your future writing goals?

I’m working on a proposal for a nonfiction book with chapters instead of short devotionals. I love to interview and tell other people’s stories, so I hope to do more of that. I also want to try my hand at fiction, but I’m struggling with a lot of fear and doubts. However, I do have certain characters and scenes stuck in my mind and I hear that’s often how a novel starts. The setting is at some point during the 1800s, so I suppose the first step would be to figure out the specific time period.

 7.    What do you do when you’re not writing?

Spend time with family and friends, participate in church-related activities and Bible studies, get out and enjoy nature, read for pleasure, and of course, think about writing.

 8.    Who are your favorite writers?

I love classic literature so I’d have to include Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, George Eliot. I also love Tolkien’s work. As for contemporary authors, two of my favorites are Frank Delaney and Stephen Lawhead.

9.    What is God teaching you right now?

That’s easy to answer: To trust Him implicitly and totally submit to His plans even when I don’t understand or like what is happening in my life.

10.  How can readers connect with you?

I love to meet readers in person or online, and also appreciate feedback about my books. I can be contacted through my website, www.DianneNealMatthews.com, or found on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

8 Comments

  1. thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book

    ABreading4fun [at] email [dot] com

  2. thanks for the chance to read/use this devotional 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting, Karen and Apple Blossom. I wish everyone could win in the drawing!

  3. I seriously think I would enjoy this devotional, and I think it will help me be more consistent with my time with God, and logical in what I choose to read.
    Right now, I kind of just pick and choose sections I open to. 🙂

    • I know what you mean, Deevena. I struggle with staying consistent with my devotion/quiet time, too. Having a devotional book or doing a Bible study helps me with that. Good luck in the drawing!

      • Thanks Ms. Matthews! 🙂

        Yeah, I wish I were more consistent especially because it is a lot more important than other things I spend my time on!

        At least…I have improved from before. 😉 But I need work!

  4. Nice inspiration.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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