We have a special treat today on Families.com – three LDS authors who have written a wonderful series together. Nancy Anderson, Lael J. Littke, and Carroll H. Morris graciously consented to this exclusive interview and I thank them for their time.
Ladies, how did the three of you meet?
Lael: Carroll and Nancy are sisters. I first became aware of Carroll when my editor at Deseret, Eleanor Knowles, told me she’d just put out a really fine book by her, titled “The Broken Covenant.” She gave me a copy. I read it and was really impressed. A year or so later I was visiting an old friend in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the friend said she’d invited another author and husband to dinner — Carroll and Gary Morris.
Carroll: Fast forward about five years when Nancy and I went to Provo to attend Women’s Conference in 1990. After the opening session, we got in a shuttle to ride to upper campus. In the seat in front of us was a woman wearing a dress in the colors I love. When I told her that, she turned around, read my nametag and said, “I’ve met you before!” It was Lael. Nancy and I invited her to come with us to our first class. Then the one after that. We had such a great rapport that we invited her to share our lunch—we had food for ten!
Nancy: We had such a good time together that day that we decided to meet the next year at a cabin up at Midway for a writers retreat and then go to Women’s Conference. We had a great time. I especially remember Lael reading aloud from the book she was working on, which was later published under the name “Lake of Secrets.”
Carroll: I remember us almost getting snowed in!
Lael: That was the year my husband died suddenly. The next year I asked them if they’d like to come to my timeshare in Carlsbad, California, for a week long writers retreat. They did, and we got in the habit of doing a writers retreat each year at timeshare resorts that I would trade for all over the country.
We’ve been vacationing together ever since then. We’ve had wonderful adventures, such as going down Shaeffer Trail in Canyonlands and climbing up to a cliff dwelling in Sedona, AZ. At each place we would learn things that were so meaningful, we’d say, “That ought to be in a book!”
How did you get the idea to write together?
Carroll: We were vacationing in Moab when Nancy said, “Why don’t we write a book together!” We began brainstorming, and we came up with the idea of each of us creating a character and writing from that viewpoint. We still have the notes I wrote as we talked—in sky blue ink!
Lael: We started writing while we were still in Moab. Each year after that, we would bring what we’d written to read while on vacation. For a long time it wasn’t much—we didn’t get serious right away. But the book expanded as the years went by — and expanded — and expanded!
Carroll: At some point, we realized that we were going to end up with a 1200 page novel—or a trilogy! But who would publish a trilogy? We decided we’d just have fun writing and then figure out what to do about publication.
Lael: In 2005 we were far enough along that I said it was time to find out if what we were doing was publishable. I contact Emily Watts at Deseret Book, with whom I’d worked before, and she said they’d just been talking about the need for something like a Mormon Ya Ya Sisterhood. She referred me on to Jana Erickson, and voila! We slid right into the spot!
Nancy: It was like it was meant to be. That’s been a comforting thought when we’re deep in the trenches and don’t know how we’re going to make a deadline!
How wonderful that you took a friendship and turned it into such a great business venture.
We’ll continue our chat with these wonderful ladies tomorrow. In the meantime, you can learn more about them at their website.