Today I have an author interview and giveaway with Heather B. Moore, who specializes in writing fiction based on the Book of Mormon. Heather is an award winning author who has graciously agreed to offer a copy of her most recent title, Ammon, to one lucky reader of JDP NEWS. Come learn a little about Heather and her books, and then I'll tell you how you can enter for a chance to win Ammon!
JDP: Thank you for joining us today, Heather. Please tell us a little about your Book of Mormon Prophets series.
Heather: My current series is the second historical series I’ve written (Out of Jerusalem was the first). I’ve selected a group of prophets who lived in the same era and were inter-connected, starting with Abinadi, and continuing through Ammon.
JDP: Ammon is your most recent title. What did you find most fascinating about the time period in which Ammon is set?
Heather: One of the most interesting things about this time period was freedom of religion, or actually, the lack of it. Religion was a social organization as well as a religious one. This means that if you decided to rebel against the religion, you would become an outcast among your own family people of the city. There was no “pray about the gospel to know if it is true.” Choosing a religion was choosing to live in society.
JDP: I’m always interested in how authors research their historical novels. Ammon is set between 99-77 BC on the American continent. How did you research such an early time period?
Heather: I read works written by archaeologists and historians who have shed light on what is called the Preclassic era. The Maya people were populating Mesoamerica long before any Nephites arrived. So texts written about the Mayans have been extremely helpful.
JDP: That’s interesting. I’d never thought about a Mayan/Nephite crossover. Can you share with us your top three favorite research books or other resources for researching Book of Mormon era fiction?
Heather: Only three? The Maya (Seventh Edition) by Michael D. Coe; Images of Ancient America by John Sorenson; Lehi in the Desert by Hugh Nibley. I list selected bibliographies, along with chapter notes, at the back of my books.
JDP: Are there any historical figures from the era of Ammon who particularly intrigue you? (Let’s make it hard. Besides Ammon himself! ;-) )
Heather: Well, Abish is certainly intriguing, but she is discussed plenty. And King Lamoni is another interesting man. His conversion is really the turning point of the Lamanite conversion to the gospel, which marks the eventual change of the Lamanites becoming a righteous people, while back in Zarahemla, the Nephites descend into wickedness. The pendulum shifts. King Lamoni really puts his life on the line when he refuses to kill Ammon when Lamoni’s father, the High King, demands it. Lamoni is sincerely converted and would rather go to the grave instead of denying his new religion. There’s a fiery testimony in the making.
JDP: One thing I’ve always loved about the Ammon/Lamoni story is the friendship that developed between these two men. (Implied in Alma 20:26) I’ve only recently realized that I’m emotionally drawn to books about friendship almost as strongly as I am to a good romance. Ammon and Lamoni have always been one of those stories for me. What inspired you to write Ammon?
Heather: Ammon was a natural progression after my previous novel, Alma the Younger. Ammon was a minor character in Alma the Younger, and so it was just a matter of deciding how many books I wanted in the series, and which direction to take. Writing Alma the Younger was such an intense experience since I focused on his fall from grace, that writing Ammon was like a breath of fresh air. I was finally writing about a good guy.
JDP: Tell us a little about Ammon.
Heather: Ammon is the heir to the throne of Zarahemla, until an angel changes his life. Ammon gives up his throne, his country, and his family to serve the Lord. He travels to the land of his enemies to bring them the truth. Captured, beaten, and brought before King Lamoni, Ammon pledges to serve, even unto death. But when Ammon is finally able to teach King Lamoni about the Savior, not everyone in the land of Ishmael believes that Ammon is a prophet. In fact, his greatest enemy is the brother of the woman he’s fallen in love with. Even with the king on his side, Ammon faces a greater challenge than he ever thought possible—to save Elena from a terrible fate.
I put together a fun book trailer that says it all (with music!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmWzGtF7xp4
JDP: (Just zipped over to take a peek.) Very cool! Are you working on any new projects?
Heather: My most recent completed project is Christ’s Gifts to Women, co-authored with Angela Eschler; it’s a full-colored gift book that will be out March 2012. I’m currently in edits with my next Book of Mormon novel, Daughters of Jared, which will be out in the spring as well. Next on the docket is my first “non-LDS” book/series, The Newport Ladies Book Club series, co-written with Josi Kilpack, Julie Wright, and Annette Lyon—all will be out in 2012. Right now, I’m drafting my next historical novel, Adam & Eve.
JDP: Wow, you have a lot of writing on your plate! Where can readers obtain copies of your books?
Heather: My books are sold on-line through Deseretbook.com, Seagullbook.com, Amazon.com, or can be found in bookstores that carry LDS fiction.
If readers are interested in updates, they can join my Facebook page: Fans of H.B. Moore or Twitter: heatherbmoore or Blog: http://mywriterslair.blogspot.com.
JDP: Thank you so much for joining us today, Heather!
Author Bio: Heather B. Moore is the award-winning author of several historical novels which are set in Ancient Arabia and Mesoamerica. She is not old and doesn’t remember the time period, so google.com has become a great friend. Although she has spent several years living in the Middle East, she prefers to forget the smells. Heather writes under the pen name H.B. Moore so that men will buy her books. She is also the author of one non-fiction book, which took her much too long to research and write, so she is back to novel writing.Visit Heather’s website here: www.hbmoore.com Or if you’re an aspiring writer, she also manages the editing company: www.precisioneditinggroup.com
Okay, now for the giveaway! For a chance to win a print copy of Ammon, by H.B. (Heather) Moore, do one, two, or all three of the following:
(1) Leave a comment on this interview, then send me your NAME AND MAILNG ADRESS to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "#1 - "I've got Mayan Mania!" typed in the subject line.
(2) Visit Heather's blog and tell me the name of the award Ammon won in 2011. (Look in the right hand sidebar.) Send the answer WITH YOUR NAME AND MAILNG ADDRESS, to email@example.com, with "#2 - I've got Mayan Mania!" typed in the subject line.
(3) Visit Heather's website, click on the Works in Progress tab, scroll down to "Other Published Works", and tell me the name of any one of the three unpublished novels Heather is working on. (Careful: don't send me the one that's non-fiction!) Then send the title WITH YOUR NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "#3 - I've got Mayan Mania!" typed in the subject line.
Deadline for entries is November 4, midnight PST. The winner will be drawn by Random.org. All mailing addresses will be deleted once the winner is announced.
(If you have trouble with any of the links, email me at email@example.com)