LDS authors Nancy Anderson, Lael Littke and Carroll Morris recently released the third book in their “The Company of Good Women” series. This much-anticipated volume, “Surprise Packages,” wraps up the stories of Erin, Willadene and Juneau as we see them solve some of the problems that have been afflicting them through the series, encounter new ones, and learn how to trust the Lord for all they need.
I had the opportunity to interview these three authors about their writing. In a world where it seems that success is all that matters and money is king, I wondered how these ladies incorporate their faith into their careers.
Ladies, thank you so much for joining me today. Tell me, how does your faith play into your writing?
Nancy: My faith in God and my desire to please him set the parameters of what I will or won’t put down on paper. It defines who I am. It’s no wonder that it defines what I write.
Lael: I look at my writing through LDS eyes, which is the only kind I’ve ever had, so I’m constantly judging my characters by the standards I’ve learned all my life. If they start out off my charts, then the story usually deals with the consequences or some realization they make which brings them back to where I think they should be.
Carroll: I don’t think I could start a writing project–and keep going until it’s completed–if I didn’t have faith and hope. And the characters in all my books deal with issues that lead to a reaffirmation of their faith. Faith in God, in the potential of mankind for good, and in a better future.
How did you incorporate elements of the Church into your book without being preachy?
Nancy: Deenie reveals her faith through her actions. Her Mormon-ness is so much a part of her, it doesn’t have to be preached to be evident. Often setting can convey just as much as characters about the gospel. Having Deenie grow up in and interact in a predominately LDS community revealed a great deal about her faith, making long involved doctrinal conversations unneccessary.
Lael: I try not to wag my finger and say, “Now, dear reader, this is the lesson you should learn from this.” I do this by showing, not telling, how a character’s life changes.
Carroll: By focusing on the human story of our characters rather than trying to make a point. However, as their stories unfold over the three books of The Company of Good Women, readers see the way the characters’ testimony of the Gospel and commitment to home and family inform their decisions in both good times and bad.
How does knowing you are daughters of God help you accomplish your writing goals?
Nancy: Knowing I am daughter of God and trying to live that concept informs every facet of my life, including writing. We began our serious work on the “Good Women” series with a desire to help others and please God as well as entertain. We started each day with prayers that included having the spirit with us as we worked. That made a major difference for me. It kept me focused on what needed to be said, and how to say it in a language that would not offend other women who had that same understanding of their identity.
Lael: I want him to look favorably on me, so I try not to create situations or unredeemable characters which would offend him.
Carroll: I think I speak for all of us when I say we felt called to write The Company of Good Women. Knowing that, and feeling supported by a loving Heavenly Father, helped us get through some difficult times. Hearing readers tell us how much hope the books have given them makes us feel we’ve fulfilled that calling.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us!
You can learn more about these authors by visiting their website here.