Mimi Matthews: The Beauty and Challenges of Victorian Life, Exquisitely Written

Have you ever met a person you admire, then once you actually visit with them, are absolutely blown away?  Well, that is what happened to me with Mimi Matthews.  I’ve loved her writing from the very moment I picked up that first book, but upon sitting down and actually visiting with her, I realized she is even more amazing than her stories!  Her life is one of extreme tragedy turned into overwhelming success.  I was delighted, awed and forever changed from having gotten to know her. Read on and I think you will agree.  Mimi is truly an author to cherish!

InD:  Let’s talk Mimi Matthews as a child! Where were you born, where were you raised, what were you like?
I was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and I still live here. I had dreams of moving away when I was in my teens. When I was 17 or 18, I applied for colleges that were far away. One of the places was in Alaska. I had this idea that it was all white and glittery and snowy and I was like, “Oh my gosh, that is so beautiful!” So, my mom actually took me. It was very picturesque, but it was cold! I ended up not going. It always seemed like there was a better state to live in than California, but I eventually decided there isn’t. I love it here.
InD: [laughing] I was thinking, “A California girl moving to Alaska? Now that would be a culture shock!” What were you like growing up?
I read a lot and I was really into horses. My mom used to read “The Black Stallion” books to me. I also had a lot of little children’s picture books where you could learn the breeds of horses so I really, intensely wanted a horse. I got my very first horse when I was six and I rode a lot.
InD: Were your parents into horses?
My mom had ridden horses growing up and my biological dad (he and my mom divorced long ago) had also grown up riding, so they knew about horses. My mom had a friend whose family owned racehorses and she helped guide us before I got my first horse. It is the best thing ever.
Taking care of a horse is a real responsibility. They are so big. You have to respect them and develop a relationship with them. I started riding and competing when I was in my teens. I got my Andalusian competition horse, who I still have, back in 2001. I loved animals and swimming and writing. I started writing at a very young age.
InD: Because you loved to read, you loved to write?
I think it was because I liked to make up stories. My mom was really encouraging. She never said, “You can't do that.” Whenever I had a story, she would just be like, “Well, write it down.” So, I would write things in a binder. By the time I was 13, I was writing a book! My mom had a friend who was a published author and she would sometimes come and mentor me with my writing. She showed me how to make my first packet to send out to agents.
InD: When you were 13?
Yes. I remember I got a request from one agent, but I honestly don't think she would've sold it. If I looked back at that manuscript now, I would probably cringe!
InD: Did you keep the binders with your stories in?
I did. They are in my parents’ attic. Sometimes, I find my early manuscripts when I'm sorting through boxes and I am like, “Oh my gosh, I wrote this?”
InD: I think it is incredible, as a 13-year-old, you were writing enough that you were sending query letters.
We literally had to mail them out because there was no Internet back then. I didn’t really follow through at that age, but I continued writing. Then one really, really hot summer, when I was 17, my younger brother and I decided we really needed a built-in pool, so I said, “Let me get out my manuscript and I’ll sell it and we can buy a pool!”

Read the entire interview in the September 2020 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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