It's not uncommon for me to get asked whether I've always wanted to write for the LDS market or if I have plans to publish nationally some day.
The answers to the two questions are a bit convoluted.
To the first part, no, I didn't always plan to write for the LDS market. But that's largely because it didn't really exist as a significant force when I was younger. As it matured, I also matured as a woman and as a writer. So did my interest in it.
Writing about my own people—and in recent years, my people's history—somehow feels like coming home, in writing terms.
In a strange way, it's also made me feel more connected to the roots of the Church, because with my mother and paternal grandparents all being immigrants, I personally have no pioneer blood in me. I have no ancestors who pulled handcarts or who knew Joseph Smith.
Don't get me wrong; I absolutely adore my heritage. I'm proud of being half Finnish, belonging in large part to a country with such an amazing, and powerful history, a place that is prettier than almost any other land on Earth. It's no accident that I wrote an entire book set there.
And when I got to visit Ellis Island a few years ago, I drank it in, imagining what it must have been like for my paternal grandmother to come over from Germany as a baby, for her future husband to arrive in America years later from Switzerland with his first wife.
For that matter, I have plans for a book about that era, featuring Ellis Island. (That may be years away, but it's niggling in the back of my brain somewhere.)
But writing about Church history has brought me a closer connection to those who came before me. That alone has been a huge reward for this journey I'm on.
To answer the second part (do I want to write for the national market?), well, maybe.
Here's where it gets confusing.
I've been toying with an idea for a contemporary novel (for a change) that's very timely and (to me, at least) very powerful emotionally. While I began research on my next temple, I started playing around with scenes for this other book.
I had no intention of making the characters or plot line LDS. I had no plans for what I'd do with the story if and when I ever finished it. It was just something I wanted to get out of my head and through my fingers on the keyboard. Something different, something fun.
And yet . . . the very first scene I ended up writing takes place inside an LDS church building during a Relief Society Enrichment night.
Uh, what just happened?
I tried to figure out a way to write that scene in another context so the story didn't necessarily have to be viewed through an LDS lens. And then lo and behold, I'm realizing that future scenes will deal with home teachers and priesthood blessings.
While it's very likely that I'll write stories that have no LDS content at some point, I have no plans to stop writing for the LDS market. But right now, it seems that no matter what writing comes out of me, it's LDS-related anyway.
Being a Latter-day Saint is a huge part of who I am, so it's hard to find a story where my world view, my beliefs, the things most dear to my heart, my ways of dealing with problems, don't come into play in some fashion.
At one point when working on that other project, I almost laughed and said, "Help! I'm LDS and I can't write anything else!"
But in the end, I supposed that's a good thing. It's who I am, as a person, as a writer.
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