Meet Featured Author Jessica Mathisen!
Join us for a Meet the Author Event on Saturday, May 19 at 1:00pm.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a former elementary school teacher turned church administrative assistant. Athens has been my home for about 10 years now, and I love it! My husband Rory and I have been married for almost three years, have a sweet puppy, and are in the process of becoming foster parents.
2. What do you do when you are not writing?
I work full time. :) I love to read, obviously, and I also just enjoy being at home with my husband. As a social person it is also really fun for me to get to hang out with friends by getting lunch together and catching up.
3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Since I was a child, I have always known that I wanted to write. The dream got put on the backburner a little bit during my teen years, but I’ve always been an avid journaler. The written word is much more comfortable for me and I’ve always enjoyed being able to put my thoughts on paper.
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My husband might be a better person to ask this question to; I’m not sure I’m aware of my quirks! I don’t think there is anything too strange or out of the ordinary that I do while writing. :)
5. Do you have an upcoming book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yes! My book is called Already Chosen and was just released on May 1. It is about my journey to discovering true contentment and allowing God to teach me that He would always be enough for me. Growing up in the South and also as a Christian, I felt like those two subcultures valued marriage and made it an expectation and desire of my heart that would have to be fulfilled in order for me to be happy. When I didn’t receive that desire in a “timely manner,” it made it difficult for me to find happiness because I started to wonder if something was wrong with me. Even when the dream finally did come true, I found that all of my problems were not solved overnight. This book is my journey of learning that joy is a choice and contentment is possible even in the midst of deep longing.
6. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Well, since it is a memoir, it is all about my life!
7. What was your favorite part to write and why?
It was really fun for me to go back and write about our love story. It made me so grateful for him and was fun to relive.
8. Who is an author that you look up to today?
I absolutely love Beth Moore. Her writing and Bible studies have been deeply impactful for me.
9. What is your favorite genre of book to read?
Memoirs are my favorite these days! Reading someone else’s story brings me a sense of gratitude and helps me to understand how every person’s unique story has value.
10. What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It is a modern retelling of the biblical book of Hosea. I have probably read it about five times and own two copies, one of which is falling apart.
11. Who is an author that has inspired you or influenced you growing up?
I read and reread Ella Enchanted when I was younger. While I am not a fiction writer, I devoured historical fiction as a child. I also loved the Little House on the Prairie series and the American Girl series. It was always fun to imagine that I lived in another place or time period.
12. Who is an author that has inspired you more recently?
Annie F. Downs’ work has inspired me to take chances in my writing and to pursue it with all that I am. She is from the same town I grew up in and also went to UGA. Not only do I share some life experiences with her, I feel like she has been a trailblazer for younger authors who want to share their story in an honest way with others. Her writing has a “me, too” voice that helps you know that you are not alone.
13. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Just do it. I know it sounds trite and a bit terrifying, but it is worth it to take the leap and just put yourself out there. It’s ok to start something from nothing and just get your feet wet. The practice of writing does not have to be painful! For me, I journal a few times a week, and that counts as writing to me! It’s a way that I process everything before I process in front of others through my public writing. If you want to write, just write. Learn from other authors and take notes, but use your gifts and talents to inspire, encourage, and lead others.
14. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you! It is an honor to serve you and I don’t take it lightly. It was always my dream to write, and with the ease of technology, that dream became a reality. Learning from you and hearing your stories inspires me to keep going and become better at what I do in order to serve you better, too.