Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer of My Utah Writers: THE CHOSEN ONE

I first met Carol Lynch Williams at a poetry slam. We were both judges. While this "slam" was the third one I had judged, the experience was new to Carol. Ann Dee Ellis was another judge, and little did I know how our paths would cross again and again.

When Amy introduced us to the student performers, this is kind of how it went down:
Students, let me introduce you to today's judges. Ann Dee Ellis is the author of two young adult novels: This is What I Did, which received 3 starred reviews. Her latest novel is Everything is Fine.

Our second judge is Carol Lynch Williams who has won many writing awards and published numerous books including The Chosen One, which is being praised in the world of book critics. Her most recent book Glimpse will come out in July.

Renae Salisbury works for our school district.
It was a little humbling, but also inspiring. As is The Chosen One. I love reading, but I can put a novel down to fix dinner, wash, run to the store, etc. So when I ignored all those daily necessities so I could get Kyra out of her terrible situation, I knew all the reviews were true:
  • "Unsettling and COURAGEOUS ... beautiful, COMPASSIONATE, full of hope."
  • "An important book."
If you haven't checked it out, Chosen One is about a 13-year-old girl, raised in a polygamist community. Her father and motherS are good and kind and loving, but when the misguided prophet receives revelations that designate the older men should have the young girls as wives, the polygamist situation is even more scary.

I heard Carol say this was a hard book to write. Heartbreaking doesn't really describe her research. I would love to interview her and find out more about that research because her daughter quoted author Ellen Hopkins as saying something like, "tell [your] mom not to be afraid to write the truth." Of course, this made me wonder if Carol has been hastled about being so blunt about this very complex and frightening topic.

Secondly, I like to know if she has any plans for a sequel. Once again, I have SO many questions I would love to have answered. Somehow, I don't think Carol will do that because she just has so many more stories to tell. And I can't wait to read them.

1 comment:

Renae said...

Just for the record, I attended the "Author Link" at the Provo Library and was able to ask Carol my burning questions:

1. Her research on polygamy revealed that all the incidents included in her book have occurred in polygamous communities.

2. She has not had ANY feedback from polygamous groups - either positive OR negative, and doesn't anticipate any. Why? Because these communities do NOT encourage reading other than the Bible.

3. No sequel on the horizon, but NEVER say NEVER. :)

The evening was wonderful!