I recently did a Q&A at A Motley Vision: Mormon Arts and Culture about my new Zarahemla Books venture. Following are a few highlights, then the URL to the whole interview, if you're interested:
I believe there’s a Mormon readership lurking between Deseret Book and Signature Books that hasn’t yet been galvanized. My goal is to publish entertaining books that reflect a recognizably faithful Mormon perspective but depict flawed characters caught in real messes, dilemmas that come from within as well as outside the characters. I’m not interested in celebrating sin, but I like stories that responsibly, organically include earthy, realistic details, including sexuality and a sprinkling of authentic language. I like stories that explore our unresolved issues and cultural foibles without an agenda to undermine faith. I hope I can find enough readers like me to make Zarahemla Books work.
To start out this fall, my three titles include the following:
Brother Brigham, a novel by D. Michael Martindale: This is one of the wildest rides I’ve ever enjoyed in a novel, Mormon or otherwise. It’s about a guy whose imaginary childhood friend suddenly reappears in his adult life with some alarming news—and this friend is Brigham Young. Martindale’s approach reminds me of Stephen King. The story is gutsy and outrageous, yet also chillingly plausible. It breaks new ground in Mormon entertainment.
Long After Dark, stories and a novella by Todd Robert Petersen: This highly satisfying collection includes some award-winning stories and some excellent new material. Richard Cracroft blurbs, “Petersen’s stories imply a faithful universe even if his characters are mired in mortality. I think it is a wonderful book! It’s a triumph for Mormon literature: Mormonism with neither sneer nor message.”
Kindred Spirits, a novel by Christopher Kimball Bigelow: This is my own story about an expatriate Utah Mormon who carves out a new life for herself in Boston, including converting and marrying a local native. However, he brings baggage into the marriage that exacerbates some of her own baggage, and a puzzling Wiccan character further complicates the dynamics.
I’m aiming to make Zarahemla Books a key destination within Mormonism for some unprecedented adventurous entertainment that’s off the Deseret grid but not apostate.
Click here for the whole interview. To visit Zarahemla Books, click here.