Character Spotlight: Anne Mateer’s Lula & Chet with a giveaway

Playing by HeartMeet at teacher and a coach in

Anne Mateer’s

historical romance

Playing by Heart

Bethany House


The Story

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.

Introducing Lula & Chet

Brief physical description

Lula Bowman has a sunny smile—when she chooses to let it bloom. She has dark hair and is fairly petite and somewhat dainty. She is 25 years old.

Chet Vaughn has blond hair and brown eyes. He is somewhat tall and athletically built. He is 27.

Resembles… AMcharacters

I love to work from old photos. These are the ones I used for Lula and Chet.

Strengths and weaknesses

Lula’s greatest strengths—her stubbornness and personal pride—are also her greatest weaknesses. Her granite-hard resolve helps her to pursue goals her elder siblings don’t think she can or should achieve as well and her personal pride urges her to excel at tasks she doesn’t necessarily deem worthwhile. But her persistence in seeking her father’s approval leads to discarding and disdaining areas of her life that she used to find fulfilling and her pride blinds her to new directions or opportunities and from recognizing when her tenacity crosses the line into obstinacy.

Like Lula, Chet has determined to follow the path set before him even if it means accepting criticism from those he loves. Yet his unwavering sense of duty blinds him to his sense of needing to atone for his father’s past. He sees this very weakness in his mother’s life but doesn’t recognize it in himself.

Quirk (if any)

Lula is a mathematician and often works math problems in her head when she is worried or stressed.

Chet often sings or whistles or hums popular tunes.

Your inspiration for the character

Lula is a real conglomeration of ideas formed into one character. I see in her a bit of my grandmother–a fun, smart lady whose situation as a schoolteacher and reluctant basketball coach from Oklahoma sparked the story idea. I also see so many of PBYHgiveawaythose I know who are the “baby” of their family, often spending a lifetime trying to prove to older siblings that they are truly grown ups. I see my sister who loves teaching math. And I see so many of my friends and family who have sacrificed their own dreams or desires in order to care for those they love.

Chet’s biggest inspiration has been my two college student sons. Both are extremely loyal, compassionate and kind. And, of course, they love their mom! One is a musician studying political science as well as literaution, religion, and philosophy. The other is pursing the opportunity to be a coach and teacher. They continue to grow as godly men and will make awesome husbands one day. Of course, much in their character came from their daddy, so Chet reflects my husband quite a bit, too. J

Background to the story 

As I mentioned earlier, my grandmother spent a year or so as a reluctant high school girls basketball coach in Oklahoma in the 1930s while waiting for my grandfather to finish his master’s degree (she already had hers!) so they could marry.  I backed up the time frame a bit to the World War I home front, added in knowledge gleaned from a family filled with teachers, past and present, as well the numerous teachers among my close friends, and called on my memories of many, many, many hours of sitting in the bleachers watching all three of my kids play basketball to provide the framework on which to hang this story.

Thanks Anne!

Relz Reviewz Extras
Enter Anne’s Playing by Heart giveaway
Character spotlight on Sadie & Blaine
Review of At Every Turn
Visit Anne’s website
Buy at Amazon: Playing by Heart or Koorong

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21 Responses to Character Spotlight: Anne Mateer’s Lula & Chet with a giveaway

  1. Mrs. Gentry. She taught 5th grade and she read Mark Twain. She used all the voices and accents of the characters. she was awesome!

  2. I loved my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Robey. She exuded love for her students and really inspired me to do my best. She also was a stickler for high standards, which wasn’t always my favorite, but I’m so thankful now!

  3. I love Anne’s books and Anne! What a great story this is looking to be. :)

  4. LOVE seeing these pictures!

  5. I’ve had many favorite teachers. Mr Linius in first grade who drew smiley faces with glasses on our papers, Mr Buckley in 4th grade who’d let me stay after class to clean the erasers and chalkboards and paid my in redhots because we had just moved into town and I had no friends to hang out with, Miss Bird in 3rd grade who I credit with half my love for reading as she used fun activities to make stories come alive.

  6. My favorite teacher was my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Shin. She was so sweet and she made going to school fun for me. She had patience with the kids and knew how to make class interesting.

  7. My first grade teacher was probably my favorite. I also had some awesome professors in college. My journalism and English classes were my favorite classes.

  8. Mr. Emerson was a teacher of mine in Jr. high. Fun loving but still strict and very loving.

    I have read Anne’s first book and loved it, but not of her others.

  9. Thanks for stopping by, y’all! I love your stories of favorite teachers–even the ones that weren’t your favorite at the time but are very much appreciated now! I have a few of my own: Mrs. Fischler (1st grade), Mrs. Bice (3rd grade), Mrs. Hotard (10th, 12th), Mrs. DeWitt (9th, 12th). They made me love learning.

  10. My high school band director was my favorite – he wasn’t always nice (he easily lost his temper and was known to make girls cry on occasion), but he knew what we were capable of and pushed us to be our best, and he cared that we did our best. And when he was in a good mood or did something completely stupid (like leave his car running on the curb all day at school, or fill it with diesel instead of gasoline), he was a ton of fun to tease.

  11. I had a favorite teacher and he taught Algebra. I’ve always enjoyed any type of math and this teacher made learning easy and enjoyable.

  12. Mr. Maness was my favorite teacher in grade school. I was not lucky enough to have him as my main teacher, but I was in his reading group and in his health class. I loved the way he interacted with the kids and was able to bring out the best in all of us.

  13. Probably my favorite teacher was my 3rd and 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Jones. I went to a small, rural elementary school so had the same teacher for both grades. She made learning fun. I remember her reading Nancy Drew and other books to us. Our classroom had a wall of large windows. In December, she let us paint Christmas scenes on the upper windows.

  14. My favorite teacher in school was Madame Karen White, my French teacher. She made class fun–every holiday we would play BINGO using holiday words, we watched several foreign films (mostly French) each year, and her room was always open during lunch periods to ask questions on French, Math and History (her other two areas of teaching expertise) or just hang out with friends.

  15. One of my favorite School teachers was Mr. Biggs, my 7th and 8th grades. He taught all of our classes. His bulldog was our class Mascot. She was always in our classroom. You see we had just moved to Texhoma, Texas on the state line with Okla. But the P O and main town was in OK. You see our school had 8 grades, two grades in each classroom. Because I always had my school work done and was good with the younger children, I got to teach the1st and 2nd classes.when the teacher wanted to go somewhere. Also the same for the 3rd and 4th classroom. I loved that and felt very special. I would love to win this contest. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  16. I loved my 2nd and 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Furnberg, I was so excited to get her when she moved up to the 4th grade. What I remember most is how she encouraged me in my dance lessons and life in general. She never missed a dance recital even when I was in high school!

  17. My favourite would have to be Mrs Miller – the librarian and our home room teacher one year. I loved books and she let me be in the library for hours at a time.

  18. My favorite teacher was my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Bay. She was a great teacher, made learning fun and had a huge heart of compassion…5th grade was a rough year being in a class without any of my friends & she made sure that I was placed in a class with some of my friends for 6th grade.

  19. Mr. Lipka was my favorite teacher because he made learning in his classroom fun. He taught 3rd grade and made going to school a delight.

  20. Having been homeschooled Kindergarten through 12th grade… My only option is my mom. Lol! ;P However, my sister was a great tutor in Algebra & Grammar (my least favorite subjects). 😉

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  21. My english teacher was so kind and charismatic :)

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