Thursday, February 19, 2009

Interview With Kathi Oram Peterson

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of reading The Forgotten Warrior, a neat young adult novel by Kathi Oram Peterson. Kathi was kind enough to tell us a little about herself and her debut YA novel.

Back Cover
Sydney Morgan is no wimp. A black belt in karate, her defensive moves help keep her tough, even when her mom is diagnosed with cancer and her long-lost dad shows up to play nice guy. But when an unexpected gift transports her through space and time to the land of Zarahemla, Syd just might be in over her head. Accused of being a spy, she has to prove she's no threat to the locals-including Captain Helaman himself! As war quickly approaches, Helaman calls on Syd to help his stripling warriors prepare to fight. Torn between concern for her family and for her new friends, Syd musters her wits, strength, and faith to face the coming battle-but her feelings for Chief Warrior Tarik put her heart on the line. Who will survive the Lamanites' fierce onslaught? And will Syd ever make it home

Me: Kathi, we appreciate you hanging out with us today. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Kathi: I have always enjoyed reading novels, but the writing bug didn’t bite until after I’d had my first child. My first book was dreadful. I’ve written many unpublished books and with each one I’ve learned more.

Me: Tell us a little bit about your book/s. Which ones are your favorites?

Kathi: The first few books I wrote were romantic suspense. I love the challenge of plotting a good suspense and I’ve always been partial to romance. When the time comes, I hope I can revisit those books and make them marketable. The Forgotten Warrior, which is my debut young-adult novel, was a pleasure to write. My son suggested I write about the stripling warriors. I wanted to have a young woman as my protagonist, and I wanted her to be from our time. So, of course, she had to travel through history. The story really took off from there. I loved imagining what Captain Helaman was like. I used Friberg’s famous painting of Captain Helaman with the stripling warriors for inspiration, but a picture really doesn’t tell a lot, so I did as much research as I could and from there I developed my version of Captain Helaman and his warrior sons. I also wanted to use actual events from the Book of Mormon and write the story around the battles and trials the warriors lived through.

Me: How long did it take you to write The Forgotten Warrior?

Kathi: I worked on The Forgotten Warrior a little over a year. Midway into writing I realized I had two books when it felt like the story climaxed just after the Battle for Cumeni, so I thought that would be a good place to stop book one. Book two could then climax with Syd fighting in the Battle for Zarahelma alongside Captain Moroni. I think it worked out for the best that way. And there’s the possibility for a third book that would follow Tarik coming to our time for a while then going back to help Moroni capture the City of Nephihah.

Me: Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Kathi: The working theme of The Forgotten Warrior was that faith builds courage and courage builds faith. That faith you can help you learn to forgive. A bonus for me would be if my readers could come away learning more about the stripling warriors, about their strong loyalty to family, faith, and country and apply some of those character traits in their lives.

Me: What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

Kathi: My deepest wish is to inspire young adults to believe in themselves, have faith in God, and to read, read, read!

Me: Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Kathi: I turned in a sequel of The Forgotten Warrior to my publisher. They really liked it but wanted to see how well the first book is accepted before committing to another book. However, they did accept a little Christmas story I sent them, An Angel on Main Street which will be out in the fall of 2009. This story, which takes place in 1953, is very near and dear to my heart. I created a small fictional town in Idaho. Eleven-year-old Micah Connors and his little family have recently moved to town. Micah’s father was killed in the Korean War. His mother works as a waitress and his little sister, Annie, is very sick. A few days before Christmas, a nativity begins to appear in the center of town. No one knows who is building it. Annie tells Micah that she believes when the baby Jesus arrives he’ll make her well. Her condition worsens and Micah doesn’t think she can wait until Christmas. He ‘s desperate to find the nativity builder and borrow the Jesus doll for Annie. I won’t spoil it and tell you how things turns out.

My most recent project is again a two book project titled Chasing the Star. It is another YA time-travel adventure. The story is told from three different points of view: Marcus, a Roman Centurian; Rachel, a 19 year-old girl, and Joshua, her 12 year-old brother. It’s Christmastime and Rachel has come home from college. She doesn’t know how she is going to tell her parents that she’s dropping out of school to pursue a singing career. Worse yet, she has kept an even more disturbing secret from her family. For years Rachel and her father tried to prove that there was a real star of Bethlehem. But Rachel’s astronomy professor has convinced her there was no such star. In fact, Rachel has lost her faith in God. Upon her arrival home, she finds that her parents were killed in a car accident and Josh was badly hurt. She goes to her brother, but when she is called to the nurses’ station to fill out paper work, Joshua disappears. As Rachel searches for her brother, she is given a stone which sends her back in time to the belly of pirate ship sailing on the Mediterranean. There will be more to come.

Me: Those sound like great books and I definitely look forward to reading them when they are published. Thanks so much, Kathi, for visiting with us today.

You can find The Forgotten Warrior at your local bookstore or

Experience The Journey!


Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Thanks for the interview! You made me feel completely at ease. :0)

Cheri J. Crane said...

Great blog post, Jewel. =)I really enjoyed Kathi's book.