Friday, July 18, 2008

Author Interview: Sariah S. Wilson

Sariah S. Wilson says she doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up, but in the meantime, she's a busy wife and mother who writes intriguing novels for the LDS market. Her newest one, just coming out, is entitled Servant to a King. It's available in LDS bookstores and online at

Welcome, Sariah! What made you start writing?

Equal parts desperation and inspiration. We needed to find a way to fund my oldest son’s therapies. I spent a lot of time on my knees asking what we should do to find the help we needed. I kept feeling like I should try writing – which was crazy because I’d never imagined myself to be a writer or grew up wanting to be one (although I’d always been an avid reader). But little things kept happening that pushed me along the path and now here I am.

When did you sell your first book?
I sold my first book in December 2005.

What type of writer are you? Do you plan ahead/plot or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants?
I think I’m a combination of both. I have enough written down so that I know where I’m going, but characters do things that surprise me all the time. I don’t really outline, but I do find that when I have my story constantly in my head, dialogue and scenes occur to me that I must jot down immediately and from there I organize them into where I think they should go in the book.

How do you choose your characters' names?
For my last three novels, I’ve picked names that sound like Nephite/Lamanite names. I’ve tried to follow the naming conventions and patterned the names after real ones (or else I’ve done some sort of combination). With my latest, it was pretty easy to pick out the names of Ammon (since that actually was his name) and Princess Isabel, with Isabel being one of only five female names mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Other than that I typically just pick names I like that usually have some sort of Hebrew base (like the name of Sam’s sisters in "Desire of Our Hearts" – Kelila and Lael).

What is your daily schedule like?
Ha-ha, that would imply I actually have a schedule. I have no schedule. My daughter and sons have a schedule that I simply revolve around. My day consists of playing with them and taking care of them. I should probably say I clean the house, but that only happens sporadically. Then I’m supposed to write in the evening after they’ve gone to bed, but by that point I’m typically exhausted and just wanting to climb into bed myself.

How do you handle life interruptions?
Not well.

Do you write to music? If so, with lyrics or only instrumentals?
I do write to music. With lyrics. I get a set of songs for each book – sometimes the song matches some of the emotions I’m trying to convey in the song (for "Desire" Nick Lachey’s "What’s Left of Me" really matched up with how Alma felt about himself, that he had little to offer the heroine after he realized his mistakes, for "Servant to a King" I loved Doris Day’s "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" because of the hero’s inability to admit that he loves the heroine). Lots of times there just happens to be a song I like on the radio and I add that to my song list.

What food or snack keeps the words flowing?
I don’t think I could eat and write at the same time. Both food and writing require my complete attention, so the two should never meet, in my opinion.

What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?
What I like most about writing: being done.
What I like least about writing: starting a new book.

Tell us about your new book, Servant to a King.
Here’s the awesome back cover copy, which I love:

When Isabel’s father offers her hand to a Nephite, she’s shocked and angry—and when the offer is refused, she’s utterly furious. How dare this Ammon refuse to marry the beautiful eldest daughter of King Lamoni! There could only be one explanation for this unforgivable dishonor: Ammon must be a spy.

Isabel closely watches her enemy, expecting to find evidence of treachery, but instead she finds evidence of loyalty, bravery, and kindness. Afraid to admit her growing affection for Ammon, Isabel hides her true feelings behind a headstrong fa├žade. Yet when the vile Lamanite prince Mahlon threatens to take her as a bride and wrest the kingdom from Lamoni, Isabel must choose between her pride and her life. Meanwhile, the risks of love test Ammon’s faith and courage as never before.

Will Ammon thwart the marriage of Isabel and Mahlon before it’s too late? And could a Lamanite princess and a Nephite prince really live happily ever after?

When I was reading the Book of Mormon the last week of December in 2005 and I got to the story of Ammon, I started thinking, What happened to that princess? How did she feel when Ammon said no? Then I thought about how long the sons of Mosiah lived in the land of the Lamanites, and how it was more likely than not they had families and wives while they were there. So one thing led to another, which is where this book came from.

I love, love, love the cover! What is your next project?
I have two that I’m working on simultaneously. One is for the national market, a paranormal contemporary romance that shows magic doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to, and the second is historical romance for the LDS market, but it won’t be another Book of Mormon fiction (I have more of those coming in the future, but I hope to be able to write all different kinds of romantic fiction for the LDS market set in different time periods, so we’re going to try and switch it up a little next time).

What is your advice for other writers?
Persevere. If you want it bad enough, never give up. Read. Read, read, read. I don’t think there’s any class or how-to book or degree that will teach you to write the same way reading will.

What other work of yours has been published?
Secrets in Zarahemla – 2007 – Covenant Communications
Desire of Our Hearts – 2007 – Covenant Communications

Thank you for the Interview.

Thanks for asking me such great questions!

Sariah blogs at Six LDS Writers and a Frog every Saturday.


  1. What an intriguing story idea! I love how Sariah let her imagination take her on a journey of "what if" and came up with a whole book because of it.

  2. Now, who would have thought to tell a story from the jilted maiden's point of view? Very creative, and the cover is captivating!

  3. Michael8:14 AM

    I am so confused. Why would both of you (Marsha and Shirley) think the cover is so wonderful? It shows a picture of two northern european descendants that obviously are from Utah. The young woman is wearing modern cosmetics and the outfits looks spotless and just made. How the heck does that correspond to a story about a Lamanite princess and a Nephite missionary? Are we that far removed from reality that we now want our cover art to be white anglo faces even when the story has nothing to do with white anglos from Utah? I don't mean to be obnoxious or rude but you both have me totally perplexed. The cover art has absolutely nothing to do with the book!


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