It’s my pleasure to welcome author Kathi Oram Peterson as today’s special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress.
Kathi is also a fellow blogger who can be found at Kathi’s Writing Nook. Kathi’s latest book, THE STONE TRAVELER, has just been released. Kathi stopped by today to talk about her book. She’ll be dropping back by during the day to answer any questions you might have as well.
I need your help to figure out something. So hang on a minute and let me explain.
At the first signing of my new novel, THE STONE TRAVELER, I was asked the question that is always posed to authors: what inspired this book? I’ve been asked that question many times with my other novels, and I’ve always had a ready answer. But this time I didn’t.
My mind raced through several incidents, scenes, and reasons, but I couldn’t come up with one answer. I hummed and hawed and finally said something that satisfied the woman who had asked. But that question has haunted me since.
I need your help to figure this out. Let’s examine factors in my life before and after I started to write THE STONE TRAVELER. These are the facts:
1) I read a ton of young adult novels.
2) My son was struggling, and I was a concerned.
3) My mother passed away. She’d been an artist.
4) My parents had owned a cabin near Palisades Lake in Idaho.
5) My parents served a mission to Cali, Columbia in South America.
Now let’s see if we can put this together and find an answer to the question of what inspired this book.
So after reading all those YA novels, I decided to try and write one. This was the first time I’d written in first person, and I found I loved it. I also enjoyed the freedom in writing YA novels because anything was possible, so I let my imagination run wild.
I made the main character a young man named Tag. He was trying to find himself. I wanted him to have an adventure that would help him realize he was loved, not only by his parents, but by his Heavenly Father. I put Tag in a place he didn’t want to be: sentenced to spend the summer at his grandfather’s cabin. Of course, he’s going to do what any teenage boy would, he runs away. Not only that, but he meets some strange men who have an even stranger object—a beautiful stone. He decides to take the stone, but he didn’t expect it to send him through space and time to the ancient land of the Book of Mormon.
So you probably see several tie-ins to what was going on in my life and the story. And did you notice how I used the freedom of the YA genre to take Tag’s situation from difficult to impossible? Talk about fun!
I gave Tag wonderful memories of his grandmother who had passed away. I also made Tag an artist, another tribute to my mother. I added that Tag’s father had served a mission to South America, and that his father had been a great influence in his life. Did I preach? No. Tag didn’t discover the true influence of his father until toward the end of the book. His realization gradually happened as he traveled.
Okay, after reading what led me to write this book and the factors going on in my life at the time that I wrote THE STONE TRAVELER, do you see the single event that inspired me to write this novel? If you do, please let me know. I feel as though a collection of many things inspired this book, but I just don’t know how to break it down to one sentence. And maybe I don’t have to. What do you think? Maybe the lesson to be learned here is that if you’re a writer and you’re waiting to be inspired, look around at what’s going on in your life. There might be several incidences, people, or reasons to write a particular novel. Find the genre you’re comfortable in, create characters that mean something to you and then enjoy the journey. You can figure out what inspired you later.
Kathi, thanks so much for guest blogging here today. As a reader it’s always interesting to me to find out the story behind the story. I also have to say, I love the cover of your book. Definitely grabs your attention.
Now for a little story (background) about Kathi. She is the mother of three, grandmother of two and wife of one. She has always loved books, but it wasn't until after her first child was born that she started to write novels. Her writing career was interrupted with raising her family, working, and finishing her degree. But finally after many years her writing became front and center in her life.
Her first published novel was THE FORGOTTEN WARRIOR (2009) followed by AN ANGEL ON MAIN STREET (2009). Her new novel, THE STONE TRAVELER is now in stores. Her next novel, RIVER WHISPERS, will be released in the spring of 2011. You can purchase her books at all Deseret Book and Seagull Book Stores.