Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Being a Bookworm

by Sariah S. Wilson

I have become a bookworm.

Some of you may not know what that means, but my publisher has a mailing list (go here to sign up if you'd like) and every month they spotlight a new release.

This month it was my turn with "Desire of Our Hearts."

So I thought I'd share the question and answer portion of that newsletter (regular readers of the blog will find much of it familiar, but by doing this I do not have to come up with a new blog idea today. Laziness will always win.) A special thank you to Annette Lyon for her great suggestions that helped to shape these Q&As.

Can you tell us a little bit about Desire of Our Hearts?

It is a speculative fiction/romance novel based on the life of Alma the Elder. Alma falls in love at first sight with a woman who despises all of the priests and King Noah, but the king forces this woman (Sam, the heroine) to marry Alma. You can imagine that things do not go well. The novel follows not only their relationship, but what is happening to Alma in the king’s court. Sam is a believer, which is forbidden by King Noah. She causes Alma to question his beliefs, setting the stage so that Alma is prepared to receive Abinadi’s message. And of course there is a power-hungry villain, the priest Amulon, who is desperate not only to ruin Alma’s marriage, but to remove Alma from power by any means necessary. There’s lots of action and adventure alongside romantic and tender moments. And there’s a very hot chili pepper involved. And the scent of vanilla. And a dog.

How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I know exactly when it happened—the last week of December, 2005. How do I know that’s when it was? Well, being the procrastinator that I am, I was trying to finish the Book of Mormon before the official end of the year (for President Hinckley’s challenge). I had just sold my first novel, Secrets in Zarahemla, and the publisher wanted me to, you know, write more books for them. I didn’t know how I would write another, as I didn’t have any ideas for any more books about the Book of Mormon. So, I would very much like to say that while I read my scriptures, I had a spiritual or inspirational moment as I went through the story of Alma the Elder. But the picture that appeared in my head was neither of those things. Instead I saw Alma’s wife throwing things at him on their wedding night. I built the story from there.

Speaking of Secrets in Zarahemla, how does this second book differ from it?

It differs in a few respects. My first book focused primarily on fictional characters that were related to the real ones from the Book of Mormon. The new book is about real people from the scriptures. I discovered I love writing about them because I realized that *I* had always put people like Alma on a pedestal. But he was a real man who had temptations and fears and worries and weaknesses just like the rest of us. He wasn’t perfect, even after he converted and repented. From the scriptures I found Alma to be a very determined, very passionate sort of person, and I enjoyed exploring the personality I made up for him. Desire of Our Hearts also differs from Secrets in that it is much more of a romance. I love romance, I love happy endings, and that is the direction I would like to take my writing in, so expect to see more of it from me.

How much research do you typically do?

For my first novel, I did over a year’s worth of research. For this novel, I didn’t have to spend quite so much time researching, because I had already covered all of the basics. I did spend a lot of time studying weddings and courtship rituals among the Maya in the highlands of Guatemala, which is where the city of Lehi-Nephi would likely have been located. All the things that you read in the book regarding the wedding and the engagement are true, but because each tribe/city had their own variation on the customs, I tried to combine several aspects together into one cohesive ceremony. I also did a lot of research on wine production and on dogs.

What are you planning to work on next?

My publisher has already purchased my third Book of Mormon romance (also inspired by the mad rush of December, 2005) based on Ammon, which is a much lighter tale, as Ammon informed me that he was very funny and very charming. I hope to be able to write a story for each of Ammon’s brothers as well. There are also at least three couples from Desire of Our Hearts that have been begging for their own books (yes, my characters talk to me, and yes, I realize this makes me semi-crazy). But because I don’t want to get pigeonholed into only writing Book of Mormon fiction, my next book will be a historical romance set in the Regency, or the time period of Jane Austen’s novels. I’m not sure when it will be done, because my 5-month-old daughter has very strong opinions on what her mommy should be doing while she’s awake, and not one of them entails me doing any writing.

How can readers contact you?

They can visit my Web site to find out more information about me and upcoming books at, read my blog at, or contact me via email at I love to hear from readers!


At 11/04/2007 1:23 AM, Blogger Josi said...

Sounds fascinating, what a great story Idea. I need to get it on my wish list.

At 11/04/2007 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that when you look at the side bar for the websites of the authors that post here on Six LDS Writers, and you click on Sariah S. Wilson's name, that you are taken to and not You might want to change that link.

At 11/04/2007 9:21 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Yeah, that's what happens when you pay your webmaster in kisses. He says he'll get to stuff but sometimes he just doesn't... I knew about the link, but thanks for the reminder. Fixed now.

And Josi, I hope you enjoy! :)

At 11/07/2007 12:28 AM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Glad something I said was helpful. Great self-interview!


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