Thursday, April 29, 2010

Meet Dianne Neal Matthews

Meet Dianne Neal Matthews—wife, mother, grandmother, and Christian writer:

Dianne grew up in west Tennessee and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English from the University of Tennessee at Martin, where she met her husband, Richard, then went on to earn her master’s degree in education from the University of Memphis.

Since 1982 Dianne and Richard have made east central Illinois their home. They have three grown children, a five-year-old granddaughter, and are looking forward to their first grandson joining the family in early June.

After attending the Write-to-Publish conference in 1999, Dianne began writing professionally. Her publishing credits include newspaper features and op-ed columns, magazine articles, and devotionals for websites, church bulletins, and publications such as The Quiet Hour.

Tyndale House published her first book, The One Year on This Day, in 2005 and her second book, The One Year Women of the Bible, in 2007. She also contributed a story to the bestselling anthology, Classic Christmas: True Stories of Holiday Cheer and Goodwill (Adams Media, 2006).

Her awards include recognition by the Illinois Press Association and a Roaring Lambs Award from the Amy Foundation, and the Writer of the Year Award at the 2006 Write-to-Publish Conference for The One Year On This Day.

Besides writing, she speaks and teaches at conferences, is a 2006 CLASS graduate (Christian Leaders, Authors, and Speakers Services), a member of AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), Christian Authors Network, Toastmasters International, and the online group, The Writers’ View.

Dianne tells us about her book, The One Year Women of the Bible (Tyndale House Publishers, 2007)

What is it about?
The daily devotionals blend scenarios of contemporary women (mostly based on real women) with stories of biblical women, looking for life lessons that we can learn from them and apply to our own life. Even though our lifestyles may be different, women today face the same basic needs, desires, struggles, and problems that biblical women faced. We can learn a lot from these kindred spirits and their relationships with the God who never changes.

What inspired it?
Because there are so many more stories about men in the Bible, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the important roles that women played. God entrusted women with key assignments to carry out His work. In the New Testament, Jesus elevated women in ways that shocked a culture where the men thanked God in prayer that they were not born as women.

What do you hope readers will get out of it?
I hope that readers will gain a new appreciation for how highly God values women and how He shapes us in unique ways to carry out His purposes. God’s creation wasn’t complete until He created the first woman—the finishing touch. Now He longs to be intimately involved in the details of our life and looks forward to the day when he will claim us as his beloved bride.

Any special, memorable stories associated with it?
The reader feedback I’ve received is priceless. One of my favorite emails came from a woman who had changed churches and had been feeling spiritually alone and unable to serve the Lord. She didn’t intend to buy a daily devotional but came across my book. This woman related to the biblical women’s stories and began to journal, something she had given up. Now she plans to pass on the journal to her two daughters when they’re older. Another reminder of how many kindred spirits are out there in the world today—and in the Bible—waiting to be discovered.

Thank you, Dianne, for sharing with us. Click here to visit Dianne's website.

For a chance to receive a copy of Dianne's book, The One Year Women of the Bible, email with "Dianne's book" in the subject line. The recipient's name will be posted May 13.

For an in-depth look at Dianne as a writer, visit my writers blog, Christian Writers Page.

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