Thursday, April 26, 2012

Defenders of the Covenant by Angie Lofthouse

I did an interview with the author, Angie Lofthouse and here are the questions and answers.

C = How old were you when you started writing?

A = I started writing with the intent to become a published author when I was 22 years old. Before that, I loved reading and thought I'd like to try my hand at writing, but I lacked the confidence. Fortunately, a supportive hubby helped push me in the right direction.

 C = When did this book start to form in your mind? Did it come quickly or did you have struggles?

 A = The idea came to me way back in 1997-98 when I was expecting my third child. I was excited about it, but as with everything I've written, it took a lot of work to get from shiny idea to finished product. I did tons of research for it, too. I really enjoyed that process.

 C = What was the inspiration for this book?

 A = The idea first started when I sat in the temple and asked myself how far I would go to keep those covenants. What might I have to sacrifice? My mind came up with a most extreme case of a woman having to actually give up her baby to the church because of an alien invasion. How would the church respond to an alien invasion? I wrote a short story about it that wasn't very good, but then I found I wanted to write about those children and how they might save the earth when they got older. Defenders of the Covenant was born. Recently, I turned the bad short story into a novella prequel to the novel called "Consecrated." I personally feel it's some of the best writing I've done. I hope I get to share it with the world soon.

 C = What other books do you have published?

 A = This is my first novel, but I have published a dozen short stories in print and online magazines. You can read most of them for free on my website: I also have a Christmas story in the anthology, Stolen Christmas and another Christmas story will be published in a collection due out this fall.

 C = What other books are you in the process of writing?

 A = At the moment, I am revising a sequel to Defenders of the Covenant called The Ransomed Returning. Though Defenders stands alone, I liked the idea of continuing the adventures of the characters as they work to build Zion. I am also nearly finished with the first draft of a third book in the series, Shattered Skies.

C = Any suggestions for someone who is trying to write a book?

A = Instead of "write what you know," I recommend "write what you love!" You can always find out the stuff you don't know. I believe you should follow your passion and have fun! Keep writing all the time and never, ever give up!

 C = When is your next book going to be available?

 A = Not sure on that. I hope to finish revising it and get it submitted within the month. It should be available a few months after that!

 C = Why do you like writing?

 A = I love creating characters and sending them on adventures, putting them through trials and giving them happy endings. I love being able to share my work with others and having them respond to it. I love to let my imagination run wild, and I love that I can be sitting around daydreaming and legitimately be able to claim that I am working.

 Now for a little about the book and the review:

Hannah and her friends have been warned about the danger lurking outside of their secret refuge from the alien invaders who devastated Earth years before. The teenagers’ leaders have raised them in the Latter-day Saint faith, teaching them to trust God, but when McKenzie and her rebellious boyfriend Jeremy decide to run away, Hannah and Derek follow, determined to bring their friends home.

 Once outside, the four teens soon realize they cannot return to the refuge without endangering everyone there. Captured, enslaved, and separated, Hannah, Derek, and McKenzie each learn the unique role they must play in liberating the earth. The friends must battle with android soldiers and attack vessels, and face their own inner struggles to overcome the invaders., After all, not even an alien invasion can stop the work of God.

 One of my favorite chapters was six. I could actually see the scene as the author described Derek sifting through the rubble, looking for anything of value. His main focus was getting back home to safety, but his heart nearly stopped beating when he discovered among all the wreckage a building that he recognized. I cheered as he made his escape.

 I was impressed that among all the fighting scenes the author still had Brother Ancient remind Hannah that, “You have a gift to reach out to our hearts with music. You must use this gift.”

 There was plenty of action and also some romance scenes, and most LDS people would really enjoy this book. It gave me a lot to think and wonder about.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mother Had A Secret by Tiffany Fletcher

Last Saturday I attended our Stakes Relief Society Conference. The closing speaker at that conference was Tiffany Fletcher author of a true story, Mother Had A Secret.

This is a story of her learning to love her mother and her multiple personalities. The true story of this complicated mother-daughter relationship unfolds in a weave of memory and emotion as Tiffany recounts the challenges of growing up in the care of a woman held hostage by her own shattered mind; a woman who inadvertently hurt the children she only wanted to love and protect; a woman whose premature death brought deep waves of loss but also much-needed healing. Poetic, poignant, and heart-wrenchingly honest, this riveting narrative offers hope to victims of mental illness and their families and provides insight to readers unacquainted with the struggle. It invites compassion and inspires positive action in our most reassured relationships.

The book teaches about compassion and gives many examples of positive action. I can honestly not even imagine living in the horror these children daily endured. Without the teachings of the church I can only imagine where each of the children would be now. Tiffany told us that as a teenager, she knew that her mother, Vickie had been brutally and sexually abused as a child. She also knew that the abuse caused her mother’s severe mental and emotional instability, which brought painful complications for the entire family. Still the things she had to endure as a teenager should not have to happen to anyone. My heart totally aches for her. Tiffany didn’t know that there was a name for what plagued her family every day until her mother was in a car wreck which landed Vickie in the hospital. While there they found a name for the multiple personalities that each child saw in their mother. They were told that she had dissociative identity disorder. Most teenagers have a hard time getting along with their mother who usually has only one personality, but Vicky had fifteen, include one that was her own.

I am so glad that I read this book. This beautiful young mother of five has gone through more in her short life than I can ever imagine, and through all the trials she came out with a deep love for her mother and her many personalities.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Promises by Carolyn Frank

The back cover tells us a little about the story. Hattie is barely twelve when her pa’s business adventures move her family to the new town of Tropic, Utah. Her pa views the town an opportunity. Hattie is hopelessly shy and views it with apprehension. More than anything else, Hattie wants to be like her father-not afraid of meeting new people, talking to strangers, and standing up for herself. So it is with trepidation that she accepts he pa’s challenge and promises to make new friends.

Hattie forms more promises as she struggles to make friends, finding companionship in places she wouldn’t have expected and learning that there is a difference between complaining and standing up for one’s self.

Promises is a heart warming story of friendship with a touch of mystery and adventure set in the days before Bryce Canyon became a national park. Drawn from the memoirs of Hattie Adair Jolley and her children, it is a realistic glimpse into the past and a delightful story for readers ages eight to eighty.

I’m sure it is no secret that I love historical fiction stories. I enjoyed the beautiful scenery picture that Carolyn painted in this book. I honestly felt like I was right there as she described the scenes entering the valley during their move and the things she saw on her many adventures to Bryce Canyon and Mossy Cave.

Since I was shy when I was younger I could feel the struggles Hattie had as she learned to speak up for herself and those she loved. I felt her disappointment and excitement when her family moved to Beaver so she could attend the academy. My family moved a lot when I was a young child. I hated finding new friends.

Hattie was a brave girl and helped her friend Mae even when it meant her life was in danger. I enjoyed this book and was disappointed when the story ended. To me Hattie had an exciting life and I enjoyed the telling of her young life. Hattie really did find out that PROMISES are hard to keep if you’re timid. They are even hard to keep when you get older and aren't so afraid to speak up. Circumstances change and it's not always convenient to keep a promise.