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 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 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 and troublesome events 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 plight of immigrants, “us vs. them” rhetoric, and whether to work for change from within one’s religion — or leave. How can historical fiction offer a deeper understanding of how we got here?
  • Why are the themes of this book relevant now?