Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Author Interview with Kathi Oram Peterson

From time to time I will post author interviews and book reviews of other LDS authors. Here is an interview with Kathi Oram Peterson, author of "The Forgotten Warrior" and she has a new book in the works, due out in September 2009.

1) Kathi, Take us into your office. What is your daily writing routine? Oooh I hate to give away my secrets, but since you asked. First I meditate in the lotus position for an hour to get in the mood, then I converse with my writing muse, next when the voices start speaking I begin work. J Oh if it were only that simple. My real routine… I usually eat a bowl of oatmeal while I check email. Once that’s taken care of I can concentrate on my current book. I’ll write until noon, than I try to go for a walk. A good friend mine, who is also a writer, walks with me a couple of times a week. We’ll sometimes discuss plot issues and such. After lunch, I’m back at the computer.

2) How does your family feel about your writing? They are very supportive. My husband, Bruce, fills in on the household chores when I forget. (Can’t tell you how many times he’s finished the laundry.) My children are grown now, but they all support me in many ways. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

3) Have you ever had writer’s block? And if so, how did you deal with it? If I have writer’s block it’s usually because I’m trying to make a character do something they don’t want to, or the storyline has drifted off course. On the book I recently finished, a secondary character had taken over the storyline and I was having a tough time moving the book forward. I finally realized what the problem was, deleted many scenes, put the secondary character in her place and all was well.

4) No one knows the actual location of events in the Book of Mormon, so how did you decide where to put the cities and what the landscape looked like in The Forgotten Warrior? This was a problem. But it was also very freeing. I found several books with different theories, looked at many maps people had drawn and blended them together. For the landscape, again, I relied on books and pictures that have other people’s theories and made my own.

5) The protagonist in your book has a black belt in karate. Have you had training in martial arts? Several people have asked me this. My son has a black belt. He helped me act out the scenes. Many times we looked like we were playing Twister as we went through the motions. So alas, the only training I have had is from my son.

6) Many people do not like the cliffhanger ending of your story. Why did you stop The Forgotten Warrior where you did? I ended the book after the battle for Cumeni because it was a very climatic scene and there was still so much story to tell. You’ve heard of the old adage “get into to a scene late and get out early” well I applied that a little too literally. If I could do it over, I probably would have included the first chapter of book two at the end of The Forgotten Warrior.

7) Why did you choose to have Sydney hide her gender from many of the characters in the book? It wasn’t intentional at first. But after I’d written several chapters I realized at that time woman’s work was very defined. Since Sydney wore a black gi, she didn’t dress like other women, but more like a man…so I let assumptions drawn by the characters remain. Plus, I rather doubt the warriors would have listened to fighting instructions from a young woman. And so the charade continued.

8) The cover of your book is quite eye-catching with a warrior holding a sword, yet no one can plainly see who holds the weapon. Why the mystery? The mystery really started with the title, The Forgotten Warrior. Who is it? Tarik, Abraham, Dagan, Baram, Syd. I’m sure as my readers have read the book, they sort of have an idea, but it’s not definitive until book two. The hand holding the sword could be that of a young man or young woman.

9) Your story has a mysterious harlequin Great Dane. Is he symbolic in some way? Yes. But I didn’t plan it that way at first. As I collected pictures of my characters I came across one of this beautiful black and white speckled Great Dane sleeping on a couch. I knew he had to be part of my story. As the story grew, so did his importance. I knew I needed to use him in a very special way. I’m not going to tell what he is symbolic of, for I’d rather my readers come to their own conclusion.

10) Promoting LDS fiction can be an uphill battle because your audience is limited. Why did you choose to write in this genre? I think it chose me. I’ve tried to write in many genres with a little success, but not much. A few years back I was put in Young Women’s so, of course, my writing drifted towards them. Yes, LDS fiction is hard to promote, but wow have I met some wonderful people and heard faith-promoting stories from our youth. It makes it all worth while.

Kathi Oram PetersonAuthor of: The Forgotten Warrior-1/2009

An Angel on Main Street- 10/2009 http://www.kathiswritingnook.com/


Marie' said...

Thanks for sharing that. I really enjoyed it.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Thanks for the interview, Kersten. It was fun! I hope your blog followers will go to www.kathiswritingnook.com to see my interview with you!

Michele Ashman Bell said...

I love finding out how other author's create and what the "story" behind the story is. Loved the interview!