Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Monday, June 28, 2010

What is Your Nineveh?

First of all, and totally off-topic, can any of you sing “Who’s on the Lord’s Side” without feeling a little bit like a pirate? Every time I hear that song, I keep waiting for the Yo Ho part. In fact I was a little bit surprised to see that the tune didn’t come from an Irish drinking song. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming.


Sometime between 780 B.C and 760 B.C., Jonah, a prophet from Galilee, was commanded by God to go to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, and preach to the Ninevites. At this time, Assyria was a powerful, evil nation and Israel’s most dreaded enemy. Jonah was told to warn the Ninevites to repent or they would suffer the consequences of their wickedness.

Instead of going to Nineveh, Jonah for Tarshish, Spain. It is unclear whether his motives were fear or revenge or both. The people of Israel hated the Assyrians who had committed terrible atrocities against them. Jonah was probably frightened of the Assyrians and might have liked to see God punish them.

You know the rest of the story. While sailing to Tarshish, Jonah’s boat was caught in a terrible storm. Realizing the storm was his fault, Jonah told the sailors to toss him overboard. While in the ocean, he was swallowed by a large fish, or whale. Ultimately he ended up in Nineveh, where he preached repentance. The people listened to him, and he was successful in his mission.

Almost exactly a year ago, I faced one of my Ninevehs. In meeting with Chris Schoebinger, from Shadow Mountain, I asked what book he would ask for if he could have any book placed on his desk. I was hoping for something along the lines of my other middle grade fantasies. What he asked for was a young adult fantasy with excitement and adventure that was clearly LDS from the title, to the cover, to the story.

To be completely honest, this was just about the last thing I wanted to hear. I had no idea how to write such a book, and the idea didn’t appeal to me. I returned home and told my wife that was the last thing I wanted to write. Even when I came up with an idea—a story of a boy returning to the time of Joseph Smith with special powers—I didn’t want to write it. I wasn’t sure I could do justice to one of the most incredible events and people of all time.

Like Jonah, I went out of my way to avoid writing the book. I found other things to work on. I didn’t do the research I knew I needed. It wasn’t until Chris began to put real pressure on me that I finally gave in and began writing. But a funny thing happened. I started enjoying the book. Instead of being intimidated by writing about people like Joseph and Hyrum Smith, I loved it. It was both inspiring and motivating to find great quotes I’d never read before—to introduce a man that could teach eternal concepts one moment and play stickball with the kids the next.

The story I didn’t want to write became one of my favorite projects. It’s funny how the things we dread the most can become the things that benefit us the most. So, what are your personal Ninevehs? What did you you dread the most, only to be glad you did?

And speaking of The Fourth Nephite, the book doesn’t come out until August. But I’ve been given a box of Advance Reader Copies for review. If you have a blog and would like to get a review copy, just post a comment and e-mail me your mailing address. I’ll give away twenty review copies to the first twenty people who ask for a copy.

I’ll also give away two copies to people who don’t do reviews. Again, just comment, letting me know that you’d like a copy but don’t do reviews and I’ll draw two names.


18 Comments:

At 6/29/2010 12:22 AM, Blogger Heather said...

tendermercies1.blogspot.com
Heather Spencer

I would enjoy reviewing your book. I will email my snail mail address to scott@jscottsavage.com (is that where you would like it?).

 
At 6/29/2010 12:26 AM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Can other frog bloggers apply to do a review? If so, I'd love to. If not, I'll just have to be content with A Time to Die. :)

 
At 6/29/2010 3:10 AM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

I now have my very own blog, but I also do reviews on LDS readers. I'd like a copy, though I should point out that I won't review it if I don't like it. If you want to take the chance, I'll send you my U.S. address and pick the book up when we arrive there later in July.

Can't wait to see what kind of special powers the boy has. I once had an idea of a girl with at least a blue belt in tae-kwon-do going back in time to protect the prophet from the bad guys, and having him mistake her for an angel because of her white dobok. But once she'd kicked the mob into submission and refused to wear a dress around the Smith home, I couldn't think of anywhere else to take the story. I'm sure yours will be much more interesting, though.

My Nineveh in real life is missionary work -- going out and talking to strangers without my son, Sir Gab-a-Lot, to back me up. The Nineveh in my writing life would be some kind of sickeningly sweet paranormal romance, with the emphasis on the R-word. *gag*

 
At 6/29/2010 8:39 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I'll review it - either on LDS Readers (if Melanie doesn't or my personal blog). Of course, like Melanie, if I don't like it you will never see a review. Snail mail address coming to your email.

 
At 6/29/2010 9:56 AM, Blogger Gamila said...

ooo, it sounds pretty cool actually. I'm always a sucker for LDS time travel stories. I would love to review it on my blog at gamilareview.blogspot.com.

 
At 6/29/2010 12:07 PM, Blogger Andy Lemmon said...

I'd love to review it on storyengineer.wordpress.com

 
At 6/29/2010 12:46 PM, Blogger Janice said...

I'd love to review your book. I guest blog on my sisters review site so I get to have all the reviewing fun but none of the responsibility of doing my own blog and showing up regularly. :)http://shermereem94.blogspot.com/

 
At 6/29/2010 1:16 PM, Blogger Gerald Jones said...

I'll review it - and have my two teenagers read it too.

 
At 6/29/2010 1:34 PM, Blogger Stephanie Humphreys said...

My teenagers and I would love to review it.

 
At 6/29/2010 1:37 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Thanks for all the great feedback. Fellow Froggers are definitely included. And all I ask for is honest reviews. if there are things you don't like, feel 100% free to say so. It's a series, so I want to improve with every book.

 
At 6/29/2010 1:39 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

And just in case you don't have my e-mail address, you can send your mailing addresses to jsavage@jeffreysavage.com or scott@jscottsavage.com

 
At 6/29/2010 4:39 PM, Blogger brendajean said...

I don't have a blog, *sigh* but I'd love to read it and I'll post my review on Goodreads and Amazon.

bchild5@aol.com

 
At 6/29/2010 8:19 PM, Blogger Karlene said...

I'd love to read and review it.

 
At 6/30/2010 1:31 PM, Blogger Nancy Campbell Allen said...

I'd love to read and review it too, Jeff. And what an interesting blog! I love hearing the behind-the-scenes stories about how books come to be.

I had a Nineveh book once, too. To my shame, I stayed on the ship to Tarshish. But you know, I've seen another book released on the topic I was encouraged to do, and I think it's done better justice in the other author's hands.

I'm glad you found excitement in this project of yours! The cover is fantastic, and I look forward to reading it. :-)

 
At 6/30/2010 1:44 PM, Blogger Marta O. Smith said...

I would love to review your book! I'll send my snail mail address. I like the cover. I'd probably pick it up in the bookstore, even if I didn't know the author.

 
At 7/03/2010 11:23 AM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Jeff, I'd be happy to review your book for GoodReads and Amazon.

Also: my reading of Jonah 4 suggests that the reason he initially fled was because he knew God would be merciful towards its inhabitants. ;)

 
At 7/26/2010 11:38 AM, Blogger Chanelle said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/24/2010 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on your blog, and I love the comment about a 'Who's on the Lord's side....'. No kidding! You would expect a song of that nature to be more of a dirge.

I don't blog, I'm Debbie from Poway, CA.

 

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