INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  • What was your motivation for writing the book?
  • What is the book about?
  • What is significant about the historical period?
  • The book was inspired by your great-great-grandmother. How closely does it follow the path of her life?
  • Which characters and events in the novel are real, and which are fictional? 
  • You are related to Mormon prophets Joseph Smith and Brigham Young through plural marriage. Can you tell us about your polygamous ancestors, including your great-great-great-grandmother, who was romanced by and wed to Joseph Smith?
  • How was the novel researched?
  • What were the most poignant moments in your research?
  • Religious history is often “sanitized” by leaders. Is it more advantageous for religious leaders to be upfront about human failings in their historical past, or attempt to suppress information?
  • The Gates of Eden was set more than 160 years ago, but many issues remain the same — evolving sexual mores, the status of females, “us vs. them” rhetoric, whether to work for change from within one’s religion — or leave, and how the Mormon Church tries to shape the story about troublesome historical events. How can historical fiction offer a deeper understanding of how we got here?
  • Why are the themes of this book relevant now?