Welcome Guest – Anne Mateer!

Oklahoma! Oklahoma 1

Admit it, you’re singing the song in your head right now, aren’t you?

O—klahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain

The Rogers and Hammerstein musical forever seared the state of Oklahoma into our brains. But besides a few stories of the Oklahoma land rush here and there, it isn’t a usual setting for many novels. It’s not quite as romantic as Texas. Not quite as prairie as Kansas.

My granOklahoma 2dfather was born in Oklahoma. He met my grandmother there. They lived in Oklahoma until my mother’s girlhood, when they moved to Ft. Worth, Texas. (Thus, I am a Texas girl.) So with all that family history just a few hundred miles north of where I’ve spent my life, I found myself wanting to write a story with an Oklahoma setting.

It seemed natural to include academics in such a story, for my grandparents both received their bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) in the 1930s, and my grandmother’s uncle was president of Northeastern State Teacher’s College (now Northeastern State University) from the mid-1930s to the early 1950s.

Okalhoma 3

Unlike my family history in Oklahoma, I chose set my story firmly in the years of the Great War. An interesting time period, not only in America, but also for Oklahoma. They’d only achieved statehood ten years earlier, only been legally settled a couple of decades before that. So while theFort Sillir population now boasted an influx of cultured and educated people from more eastern regions, the hard-bitten homesteader and his decedents remained, either farmers or cowmen, such as those we find in Oklahoma! And with over 50,000 soldiers coming through Ft. Sill, near Lawton, Oklahoma, for training between 1917 and 1918, the Great War truly came to their doorstep in the form of soldiers.

Then, of course, there are the tornadoes that often ravage the state. And a rich history of high school and college sporting events. I discovered that, like any other place, it has a rich and varied history, which, of course, can’t all fit into one novel. And so I picked a little here, a little there. A bit of family lore, a bit of state history. And Playing by Heart was born.

  • Do you have any favorite books set in Oklahoma? Please share!
  • Anne will be giving away a copy of Playing By Heart, so be sure to leave a comment to enter!


Playing by HeartFrom the back cover of Playing by Heart:

Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.

With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn’t even consider those real subjects!

Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys’ coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She’s returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends around Jewel’s family, the girls’ basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she’s given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she’d expected.

Ann Mateer.

Anne Mateer has a passion for bringing history to life through fiction. She is the author of 4 historical novels as well as a contemporary short story, which can be found in this season’s Cup of Christmas Cheer II. Anne and her husband live in Texas and are the parents of three young adults.

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33 thoughts on “Welcome Guest – Anne Mateer!”

  1. I think I’ve read some Heartsong Presents novellas set in Oklahoma, and the hero of Regina Jennings’ novella in A Match Made in Texas was headed to Oklahoma for the land run, but he never quite made it . . . So not much for books with an OK setting. But I’ve watched the movie over and over!

  2. Hi Anne! Welcome to P&P. We’re so happy to have you. Since I live in the Texas Panhandle, I go to Oklahoma a lot. It’s a very interesting state. I can see why you’d want to set a story there. I love the time period you chose for your story. The Great War era has been long been overlooked.

    Love the cover of your book. It’s really pretty. Wishing you lots of success!

  3. I believe Linda Lael Miller set some of her Creed books in Oklahoma.

    The movie Far & Away was set partially in Oklahoma with the land rush race.

    I know I’ve read other books featuring The Trail Of Tears and the Cherokee Indians but the author isn’t coming to mind. One was about their alphabet, Sequoyah: Cherokee Hero by Joanne Oppenheim

  4. The only book I can think of right off that takes place in Oklahoma is Reason and Romance. It’s a contemporary I really enjoy re-reading by Debra White Smith. Reason and Romance is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

    I have enjoyed reading all of Anne’s books so far and am looking forward to reading this one.


  5. I don’t see my comment but if this is a repeat I’m sorry. Cimarron by Edna Ferber. The made a movie of this book with Glen Ford.

  6. Hello everyone! I think most of you bear out what seems to be the case–the fiction set in Oklahoma is minimal. One of my author friends who was mentioned, Regina Jennings, if from Oklahoma but most of her books have Texas settings and she was thrilled when I told her this Texas girl was writing an Oklahoma set book! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by today!

  7. I read a lot and I am sure some were in Oklahoma, but nothing specific is coming to mind. Thank you for sharing with us today!

  8. Aw shucks, ladies! As readers, I know you have read one of the famous books set in Oklahoma that displayed our Nation’s woes during the Depression
    THE GRAPES OF WRATH (John Steinbeck)
    If this one skipped by you, go fast and get a copy to read. You will like the Joads.

  9. Hi Anne!
    I was thrilled to see your post, because I’m a dyed in the wool Oklahoman, and every book I write is set in Oklahoma or Texas. My first book, Fire Eyes, was set in Indian Territory. After that, I decided every book needed to be set here or in Texas–even my contemporary stories are!

    You are so right when you talk about the rich history we enjoy here in Oklahoma. My family has been here too long to count, and some of them were already here (the Cherokee and Choctaw/Chickasaw part) when the Anglos arrived. I write about all of them, and I love my home state with a passion. I’m so glad to see that your book takes place here, and that you have some Oklahoma roots!


  10. I can’t think of any books set in OK right now so I can’t say I have a favorite. Your book sounds fantastic and I would love to read it.

  11. I can’t think of any book I’ve read that takes place in Oklahoma other than one of the Little House on the Prairie books and it was still just Indian Territory when she lived here. However, as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to play Ado Annie, from the musical, on stage but never got the opportunity! I can’t wait to read Playing by Heart!
    kam110476 at gmail dot com

  12. Off hand, I can’t think of a book I have read that was set in Oklahoma. I am sure there must have been at least one.
    We did visit the NE corner of the state in 2009. We visited the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill. Nicely done. We also went to the Har-Ber Village Museum in Grove which was not too far from where we were staying. They have quite a collection. We visited my aunt who was in a nursing home in Oklahoma City on our way south to Dallas- Ft. Worth for an A. F. reunion. There is so much more in both states we would like to see.
    Lula’s story sounds interesting. Sometimes we need to take a break from what we are doing to get a different perspective and evaluate our lives, plans, and goals.

  13. I can’t think of any books set in Oklahoma but I imagine I have read some. We lived there for 2 1/2 years and then traveled through it later when we lived in Texas and traveled back to Kansas to visit family. It’s always fun to learn the story behind your books, especially when they are based on your own family history. I’d love to win your book.

  14. Nope can’t think of one book that I have read that was set in Oklahoma but several traveled through!
    My father was at Fort Sill early in his military career and my mother and I lived there when I was very young.

  15. I have read several books set in Oklahoma but I can’t recall the name I read too much. Carol Finch has written several set in Oklahoma and I have read all of her books.

    I have wanted to visit Oklahoma for sometime and I am going one up these days.

    Can’t wait to ready this book sounds great.

  16. Thanks for dropping by and adding to the conversation, everyone! I’ve loved visiting P&P. If you don’t win the copy of Playing by Heart, I hope you’ll still find a way to read Lula’s story. If your library doesn’t have it, request it! 🙂

  17. I can’t think of any books set in OK right now but I am excited your book is set there and during the Great War. I haven’t read as many books set in that time period!

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