Martha Mattingly Payne

I'm a writer, a wife, a mother of four and as of October, an orphan. No whining here--both my parents lived long full lives--but being alive without a parent changes your perspective. I feel more like a guest on earth, to steal a phrase from Lee Smith, one of my favorite authors. I'm a good guest, I suppose, because I now want to slow down and savor the life my parents gave me.

My father loved sports and my mother loved books, so it's no surprise that I write stories about family that often end up with sports as a backdrop or a theme. I love Georgia Tech football and UNC basketball, but I'm first off a baseball fan. In the 1990s I wrote for ChopTalk, the Atlanta Braves’ official magazine, and back in the Dark Ages I wrote and helped edit Augusta Magazine in Augusta, Georgia.

I did my undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill and earned an MA in English from Vanderbilt, after which I taught high school for several years. These days, I live in Atlanta with my husband and our youngest son (the other kids have flown the coop). Like my parents, I love to travel and often do my best work on the road or in the air. I enjoy attending writers' seminars and workshops (Key West, Sewanee, and Tinker Mountain are among my favorites), and writing fiction is my passion. I've had stories published in Snake Nation Review and the Scratch Anthology and a couple of poems in the Alabama Literary Review and The Reach of Song.

I'm currently polishing up a novel, Girl of Summer, set in a fictional town on the Gulf Coast of Florida. It tells the story of Tessa Girard, seamstress for a struggling baseball team, as she navigates an unplanned pregnancy amid the unraveling of a dark family secret, one that ultimately helps her make peace with her haunted past.

If you're a parent of an athlete, or if you did sports in younger days, or if you just plain like to laugh, check out my memoir, Put Him In, Coach! A Mother’s All-Star Memoir (iUniverse, 2007). It won a Moms' Choice Silver Award in 2008 (which means it's rated G :-)).