Loralee, thank you for taking the time to talk with us again today. I’m curious — will all of your novels be based on the Book of Mormon, or will you be writing in other areas as well?
I would like to branch away from writing about The Book of Mormon eventually. Fantasy is a favorite genre of mine, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Right now, I’m finishing up a story that is the sequel to “The Birthright,” exploring the lives of some of the characters that were children in “The Birthright,” and are now young adults.
Is it hard to take events from the scriptures and dramatize them?
Well, for me, I have to be careful to keep things historically accurate. I also need to be respectful of the characters I depict who were actual people, and not my own fictional creations. I need to understand as much about these real people as I possibly can before I give them personalities and characteristics.
After that, as long as I’ve made absolutely sure that I’m accurate historically, it’s fun to create situations that might have been!
How do you keep all the people and geographical locations and timelines straight when writing a book like this?
Well, having a map is very important. John L. Sorenson’s book that I mentioned earlier has two very helpful maps, one based solely on the text of the Book of Mormon without referencing the actual geography of Central America, which is slightly rough, but nevertheless was exactly what I needed as far as showing me where cities would be, and approximately how far apart they would be, and another map that is more accurate to the shoreline of Central America.
Also, reading the Book of Mormon itself, and keeping notes on what is happening in which year is vital. Fortunately of course, we have footnotes at the bottom of the each page in the Book of Mormon that help us see what year we’re in when different things are happening.
Do you have any special tricks for keeping yourself immersed in Book of Mormon times while writing?
This might sound silly, but I have to be able to connect emotionally with my characters to stay immersed. They have to become real people in my mind whose struggles I need to become terribly concerned about. Their lives, the way they live, what they do for a living needs to become important to me. When I do that, I can put myself right into the scene, right there next to the characters, and can then write them through whatever difficulties they’re enduring, and ultimately overcoming.
What will you be working on next?
Well, as I mentioned earlier, I am now working on a sequel to “The Birthright” that explores the lives of some of the characters from that book, who are older now. Rachel and Jacob the Younger, who were children in “The Birthright,” are now young adults and facing their own personal challenges. Pacumeni, who is mentioned only briefly in the scriptures, and whom we met for just a moment in “The Birthright,” becomes a major, and hopefully very likeable character in this new story which I am quite excited about!
I can’t wait to read it, Loralee. Best of luck in all you do!
Be sure to visit Loralee’s website to learn more about her and her exciting Book of Mormon novels.