The story is set in Madison during Christmas time.
Four writers from different backgrounds seek to better their craft with the help of a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who longs for purpose.
Titled “Write in Time,” it’s a love letter to the city she’s been lucky enough to call home for 17 years, says author and former Stoughton resident Meg Matenaer.
“I wanted to shine a light on all my favorite places in Madison,” Matenaer wrote in a news release to the Hub.
In the book, four writers who sign up for a fiction workshop bring all their writing challenges and personal troubles to the table, and must decide if they will champion each others stories or write one another off. One character is a young stay at home mom, while another is a 30-something lawyer; the other two an 87 year old widow and a middle-aged landscaper with marital issues.
The book features Madison’s downtown restaurants, Capitol and campus buildings. Matenaer said the novel also doubles as a travel guide to the city’s food and landmarks. She said the book’s Christmas theme and celebration of community make it a perfect gift for the holiday season.
Matenaer said she has always been interested in writing and grew up with a family that entertained one another with “great stories” around the dinner table.
“My family … they are great storytellers and they are really funny,” she said.
Matenaer earned an English degree at UW-Madison, graduating in 2006 and was a high school teacher for a year after.
But when she had her first child, she left teaching to pursue other ventures like blogging.
Matenaer and her husband lived in Stoughton for four years. They have since moved to Madison, where they now live with their children.
In 2017, the author said she felt the urge to write a book.
Matenaer sought the help of UW-Madison continuing education courses, which she said were a “lifeline” – a second chance to get back into writing.
The author said her novel is easily relatable to readers because of its uplifting message about the concept of “togetherness.”
“A lot of us feel alone … community is so important,” Matenear said. “I wanted to show (through the novel) how important it is to be connected to others.”
The book is available at Madison’s independent bookstore Mystery to Me and on Amazon.