Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
I was born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1952. In 1965 my family moved to Atlanta, Georgia where I attended Therrell High School. After graduating from Therrell, I attended West Georgia College in Carrollton, Georgia. Currently I reside in Richardson, Texas with my husband, David. I have three daughters and four grandchildren.
I have always had a very vivid imagination, which ultimately led to my love for writing and telling stories. My writing began when my children were little. I wrote my first book, well over thirty years ago as a gift to my girls. Now, years later, I’m happy to say I have been submerged in the life of an author and it’s been quite a journey. I've written three chapter books, one picture book, and one e-book, Words and Actions.
I had an amazing teacher my senior year of high school. She was my senior English Lit teacher. I've never forgotten her or her teachings. Amazingly I reconnected with her a few years back and we keep in contact with each other. She definitely had a hand in my thirst for literature and for writing.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?
I have an office in my home where I write. I have a lap top but don’t use it much. I actually have a home based computer that I use most all the time.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
My favorite part is simply the writing. Whenever I’m out and about and I see something that inspires a story, I’ll text my thought to my email or jot it down and then when I’m in my writing zone I’ll use those notes to develop my story. I love dialogue in a book and love to write dialogue. The process of developing characters is fun too. My least favorite part is when I don’t have time to sit and write. I miss it so much and then of course the thoughts don’t flow as easily as when I’m writing every day.
How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?
The characters from my chapter books are based on kids I went to elementary school and junior high with when I lived in SC. Of course I added a few different traits to them but they are basically based on my relationship with them. My characters are just like the kids we all knew and loved at one time…or maybe not.
Elizabeth Marie Hutchinson is my main character in my chapter books. Elizabeth is a bit of a tomboy, yet she has a girly side. She’s an only child so friends are very important to her. She’s kind and always tries to please her parents. She’s a really good friend. Her best friends, Noel and Ashlee, love Elizabeth and the three of them make a great team.
Margaret Callahan is the bully in my second book. She’s pretty, conceded, bratty and popular. However, deep down inside there’s a good side to Margaret, and it takes Elizabeth to discover it. In the end, Margaret has an awakening that readers will enjoy reading about.
My third book speaks to helping others. The characters in this book are faced with a problem that ends up involving Elizabeth’s entire neighborhood. The Hendrix family has a secret and Elizabeth and all her friends are determined to find out exactly what it is. Nancy Hendrix is a shy girl with a huge responsibility. You can’t help but feel sorry for her. However, she chooses the wrong path in an effort to help her family. I used Elizabeth’s bubbly character in my Words and Actions book as my guide through the world of words and actions.
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What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
I do a lot of social media marketing. I've done a local radio interview. Two of my books have won awards at the Christian Literary Awards in 2013 and 2014. I’m in the process of trying to build my Constant Contact list. VERY DIFFICULT!! I do a newsletter. Try to talk to as many people as I can.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
Since my life is very full of many things other than writing, I still try to write something every day. Not always possible, but that’s my goal. It’s impossible for me to set a specific time during the day to write. I found when I've done that, I really stress over it because sometimes it doesn't work out which makes me put way too much pressure on myself and that affects my writing. So I typically will just write when things around me are quiet. Sometimes that’s morning but most times it is late evening.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
Currently I’m working on an adult book. I also wrote a picture storybook and I’ll visit that every now and again to give it a little tweaking. Not ready to move on it yet as I’m a bit consumed with the adult book. My newest book is actually the e-book Words and Actions. I’m also working on a FB page entitled Kids Inspiring Kids. I’ll be announcing it in my next newsletter.
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
I do have a project on the back burner. It’s something I’d love to do that involves utilizing YouTube to encourage kids to read more. As a children’s book author, I find myself worrying about too many children not wanting to read books anymore. With electronics and telecommunications being what it is today; I fear actual book reading is falling by the wayside. Not in droves, but slowly and steadily. There’s no imagination involved in watching a movie, playing a game on one of those I-pad/pod things. Reading requires one to process the words of the author and turn them into a visual. In other words—imagine the character—imagine the place—imagine the scene. That’s about all I can say about this project at the moment. I developed a proposal for this, but had to put it on the back burner while I focused on my writing.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
The first thing I’d tell them is to join a writing group. I've been in a writing group for about four years now. It has helped me tremendously. Go to as many seminars as you can afford. Look for free offers of on-line seminars. Join FB groups to see how other writers are working. If they are a children’s book writer I’d say join the local Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. They do great things and are a wealth of information. Maybe even get involved with a storytelling group. I belong to one of those as well.
Here’s the link to my website* http://www.reginamatthews.com/
*My web designers are in the process of updating and reworking my site. All info regarding me and my books is there. We’re just making it look a little cuter!!)
See the book trailer here: http://idea-creations.blogspot.com/2015/04/friday-flicks-words-and-actions-guide.html.