Archive for March, 2010

Writing Mormon Literature for a non-Mormon Audience

Friday, March 26th, 2010

It’s always interesting seeing what non-Mormon readers of No Going Back have to say about the book. For one thing, it includes an awful lot of Mormon detail. Since I never imagined that it might have a large non-Mormon audience, I didn’t go to any trouble to explain that detail. No real accommodations for any readers who don’t happen to be Mormon.

At a more basic level, I’ve wondered if non-Mormons would even be able to identify with the characters and their motivations. Sure, there’s a lot of universality to the basic conflicts in the book. Every teenager struggles with issues of identity and peer pressure. Every married couple struggles with issues of communication and priorities. But that doesn’t necessarily make the particulars of one person’s conflict easy to identify with on the part of readers whose lives are very different.

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Hometown Review

Friday, March 19th, 2010

A sad thing I’ve learned since No Going Back was published is just how few newspapers actually publish book reviews anymore. One reason I’m so spoiled in this regard is that my own hometown newspaper, the River Falls Journal (serving a city of about 15,000) has its own weekly book review column by Dave Wood—who also just happens to be the former book review editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and past vice president of the National Book Critics Circle. Our local library has a shelf specifically featuring books Dave has reviewed, many of which have a local or regional connection.

A few weeks ago, I gathered up my courage and gave Dave a call (you can tell it’s a small-town paper when they list the columnist’s home telephone number). He said to drop off a copy of No Going Back, dismissing my concerns that it might not be all that interesting for non-LDS readers. And this week, a positive review appeared in my local paper. (Sadly, the link to the online version that was working earlier today now takes one to a page where one must log in to see the review. Pout.)

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Interview Questions and Answers

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Here are some questions I recently answered for a journalist related to No Going Back and my experiences in writing it.

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Review of No Going Back in U of U Paper

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

A positive review of No Going Back was published in today’s issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle, the newspaper of the University of Utah.

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The Amateur Nature of Mormon Letters

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Cross-posted from the AML blog.

There’s a certain sense of validation, in our commercial culture, that comes with being paid for one’s work. This is at least as true in literature as elsewhere. Anyone (or so the thinking goes) can write a novel. The real test is whether you can get someone (not yourself) to pay money to publish it.

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