Character Interview: Mattie Colby from Mattie’s Choice by Gay N. Lewis
Today’s guest is Mattie Colby from Gay N. Lewis’s novel, Mattie’s Choice. Welcome to Inner Source, Mattie. Would you mind telling us a little about yourself, about your life, and anything else you feel is important for us to know?
Thanks for asking me to introduce myself to your readers. I’m a little shy, but I’ll try. My name is Mattie Colby. I grew up in a loving home in rural Oklahoma. My father is English and my mother is Cherokee. My dad is a builder, and he patterned our home after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Most of Osage Country admires and envies it. My father acquired land in Oklahoma Territory during the land rush of 1893. My mother’s ancestors endured the Trail of Tears. I have a twin brother, Maury, and three sisters. Maury and I are the first born. By intuition, we know what the other thinks and feels. Maury is my best friend. We were looking forward to graduating high school together, but I eloped with Jesse Colby and quit school. Maury is grieved over it.
I love my family and I love my husband. I’ve wanted to be is a wife and mother for as long as I can remember. Maury tells me I shouldn’t have quit school to elope with Jesse, and thinks I should have waited to marry. He even wanted me to go to college with him, but in my day and time, women didn’t have many opportunities. Careers? Those were unheard of. Heavens to Betsy! In 1925, our goal was to become wives and mothers, and that suited me just fine. What about you in your modern day? Have times changed much? Do women have careers in your day?
Yes, women have many more opportunities in this age to become anything they want to be. We even have women serving beside men in the battlefields. Not all charges are good, though. For a while, a stay-at-home mother was considered inferior to those who were out in the work force. Along the way, especially in America, we have lost our way. Our children are sometimes not the most important commodity for parents. Slowly, though, some are beginning to realize that raising children is an important task.
Your author placed you into the center of a very controversial and difficult subject for an author to tackle. You’re a stubborn lass, Mattie Colby, and you’re made of stronger stuff than I am. You were offered choices to make, but you stayed the course. Tell us why that was important to you.
My father taught his children to keep our word. I made a vow to God and Jesse that nothing but death would separate us from our marriage. I was a naïve, seventeen-year-old when I married. My parents had a good marriage and I thought I would too. I didn’t believe anyone’s tales that Jesse had a temper. Looking back on it, I should have investigated more about him. Courted him longer, too. I might have chosen differently if I had, but what was done was done. I gave my word, and that was that.
Your sister-in-law, Ella, made a different choice. I got to know you well, and I know that the two of you stayed friends, but I want to know what you were thinking about her choice deep down inside?
Now that’s an interesting question. Ella and I are lifelong friends, and we’re opposite in personality. She chose a nursing career while she lived in Galveston, and she continued to work in a hospital after she married Jesse’s brother and moved to Oklahoma. She’s outspoken and opinionated. You always know where you stand with Ella. When she left Oklahoma to move back to Galveston, I admired her. Truth be told, I wished I could escape my life and move far away., too. We had different ideas on commitments, and to this day, I can’t say which one of us was right. In some ways, we both were.
I agree with your assessment. You were clearly a victim of historical precepts and interpretation of Scripture. This is something your author, Gay, and I spoke of quite a bit. Shh, don’t tell her, but I agree that there was a time in history where the theological thinking concerning the protection of women, especially in a marital relationship was skewed. In the end, though, I think that your choice took a lot of courage, but if you had to do it over again, would you make the same choice?
Your comment about Gay makes me giggle, and I won’t tell her you asked this question. I’m pretty good at keeping secrets. As you know, I kept many over the years. Thank you for saying I have courage. That means a lot to me. Early on in marriage, I was stubborn to a fault. I think my pig-headedness was what kept me going. I didn’t believe my dad would help me, and I learned too late that he would have. I had too much pride to ask for help. Courage? I think I developed it as I grew older. Courage comes with self-confidence, and as I became confident, I became courageous. Does that make sense? If I could do it over, I’d have chosen to become assertive much sooner than I did. Keeping my beliefs and standing up for myself turned out to be the best choice in the long run.
Mattie, everyone who reads this blog understands that the verse I stand upon, even when it hurts to grasp hold of it, is Romans 8:28. That does not mean that I approach others who are hurting and declare this truth. I feel that, for the hurting, this verse’s truths can be very hard to grasp, but that very God declared the depth of it when He sent His Son to the cross. That verse tells us that all things work to good to those who know God … So, as a woman who has had a life of extreme hardship I’d like to ask two difficult questions: what good do you see coming from the choice you made, and 2) what good do you believe came from the choice Ella made?
Heavens to Betsy! I have to ponder that one. Yes, I had hardship. My husband was not easy to live with. In fact, he was downright awful at times. Life circumstances were difficult, too. The Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, all the world events made life unbearable at times, but my faith grew stronger through the trials. That was a good thing. Some, like Jesse, grew angry with God. I chose to stay close to Him and trust. Another good thing. My marriage with Jesse brought me eight children. Eight blessings. And guess what? Every one of them are productive, successful, God-fearing adults. Four are in the ministry. Like a rock thrown into water, the circle grows bigger, and in my case, a lot of good is in the circle.
Good came from Ella’s choice too. After seeing the way most of us women lived in our day, she started women’s shelters in Texas and became a crusader for women’s rights. I think all contemporary women owe Ella and women like her a debt of gratitude. Their lives are easier, thanks to Ella and others like her.
You are so right about Romans 8:28. I can look back on my life now and see the good God brought about with Ella’s and my choices. I believe I won’t see all the good until heaven. Scripture tells us our works follow us. Revelation 14:13 says, “…Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works follow them.” KJV To me, this means that what we do here continues to influence, bad or good, to those who come after us—like that rock thrown into water, impact lasts, good and bad. What I began with my children carries on to future generations, and most of it was good. Same with Ella. Women will continue to be helped with better lives as a result of her influence. I believe we both did more good to follow us than we did bad.
Mattie, thank you for being with us today. On Wednesday, your author, Gay, will be sharing a little more behind the inspiration for your novel.
A native Texan, Gay lives in Fulshear, a small town west of Houston. She loves to travel and engage in artistic ventures. Two videos she produced —The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, sold well in international markets. Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.
As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country. Gay is also a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.
All of the Sarah books have appeared on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List. The Sarah series is available in eBook format as well as print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pelican Book Group, and other book sellers. Some additions are available in Amazon Audible. Each book in the series is a standalone novel.
Her latest books, Mattie’s Choice, and Clue into Kindness are not fantasy and romance. These books are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.
The books are available in print, eBook, and audio.
For more information, please go to http ://gaynlewis.com/
Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog.
Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand
More About Mattie’s Choice:
It’s 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse’s abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.
When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife–the vivacious Ella–Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens.
Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.
Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?