Friday, March 13, 2009

Blog Tour: Kathi Oram Peterson

Today it's my privilege to host a stop on Kathi Oram Peterson's Blog Tour for her inspirational LDS YA novel, The Forgotten Warrior.

Kathi was born in the small town of Rigby, Idaho. Since childhood, she has loved reading and writing stories. After winning the Heart of the West (1994) and Golden Pen (1995) contests, she put her writing on hold to finish her English degree. Upon graduation, she worked for a curriculum publisher, writing and editing concept and biography books for children. She now devotes her time to writing inspirational fiction.

Welcome, Kathi! Tell us a little bit about the writing journey that brought you to this book.

The first few books I wrote were romantic suspense. I love the challenge of plotting a good suspense, and I've always been partial to romance. When the time comes, I hope I can revisit those books and make them marketable.

The Forgotten Warrior, which is my debut young adult novel, was a pleasure to write. My son suggested I write about the stripling warriors in The Book of Mormon. I wanted to have a young woman as my protagonist, and I wanted her to be from our time. So, of course, she had to travel through history. The story really took off from that idea. I loved imagining what Captain Helaman was like. I used Arnold Friberg's famous painting of Captain Helaman with the stripling warriors for inspiration, but a picture really doesn't tell a lot, so I did as much research as I could, and from there I developed my version of Captain Helaman and his warrior "sons."

I also wanted to use actual events from the Book of Mormon and write the story around the battles and trials the warriors lived through.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I have always enjoyed reading novels, but the writing bug didn’t bite until after I’d had my first child. My first book was dreadful. I’ve written many unpublished books and with each one I’ve learned more

How long did it take you to write this novel? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short) a time?

I worked on The Forgotten Warrior a little over a year. Midway into writing I realized I had two books when it felt like the story climaxed just after the Battle for Cumeni, so I thought that would be a good place to stop book one. Book two could then climax with Syd fighting in the Battle for Zarahelma alongside Captain Moroni. I think it worked out for the best that way. And there’s the possibility for a third book that would follow Tarik coming to our time for a while then going back to help Moroni capture the City of Nephihah.

What is your main goal or the purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

My deepest wish is to inspire young adults to believe in themselves, have faith in God, and to read, read, read!

Do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of the main characters of your stories, or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Sydney Morgan isn’t anything like me…except I’d like to think I have her faith. She is short tempered, holds a black belt in karate, and is very courageous. I could never do what she does. I think that is why I liked her so. She can do things I can’t or wouldn’t even attempt. Tarik, a stripling warrior and second-in-command to Captain Helaman, has nothing in common with me, except I’d like to think that someday I will have his loyalty and ability to always do what is right.

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book?

For Sydney Morgan I knew I wanted a name for a girl that could also be thought of as a boy’s name, since she was going back in time and many believed her to be a boy. Tarik was a bit more difficult. I wanted a warrior sounding name, something different. Tarik is Egyptian and I liked the hard sound.

Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it?

This recently happened as I was writing Chasing the Star. I had to do a ton of research and found the story of Julia, the daughter of Augustus Caesar. She started taking over my story, pushing Rachel aside. As soon as I realized what was happening, I retraced my steps, deleted quite a few pages and started again. The result is a much stronger story.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now. If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

I grew up in Rigby, Idaho. I was very fortunate to experience a small town. My father owned a Firestone Store on Main Street. For a few years we lived in an apartment over the store. I could peer out our living room window and watch people milling about the sidewalks. The main highway ran right through the middle of town, so there was a lot of traffic: diesels, farm trucks and cars. The town had a great influence on my book An Angel on Main Street. While living there my mother suffered a heart attack. I was sent to stay with my parents’ friends who owned a farm. I loved playing in the barns, watching the kids milk the cows and jumping around on the haystacks.

I now live in the Salt Lake area. A big theater complex as well as restaurants and grocery stores are a block away. In many ways my neighborhood reminds of my childhood and growing up in a small town, though children aren’t as free to play as they were in my day. I like where I live, but I’d also like to someday have a cabin in the mountains.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

I don’t listen to music unless I’m editing. I find it too distracting when I’m creating scenes.

Are you currently working on any writing projects we should watch for?

I turned in a sequel of The Forgotten Warrior to my publisher. They really liked it but wanted to see how well the first book is accepted before committing to another book. However, they did accept a little Christmas story I sent them, An Angel on Main Street, which will be out in the fall of 2009.

This story, which takes place in 1953, is very near and dear to my heart. I created a small fictional town in Idaho. Eleven-year-old Micah Connors and his little family have recently moved to town. Micah’s father was killed in the Korean War. His mother works as a waitress and his little sister, Annie, is very sick.

A few days before Christmas, a nativity begins to appear in the center of town. No one knows who is building it. Annie tells Micah that she believes when the baby Jesus arrives he’ll make her well. Her condition worsens and Micah doesn’t think she can wait until Christmas. He's desperate to find the nativity builder and borrow the Jesus doll for Annie. I won’t spoil it and tell you how things turns out.

My most recent project is a two book project titled Chasing the Star. It is another YA time-travel adventure. The story is told from three different points of view: Marcus, a Roman Centurian; Rachel, a 19 year-old girl; and Joshua, her 12-year-old brother. It’s Christmastime and Rachel has come home from college. She doesn’t know how she is going to tell her parents that she’s dropping out of school to pursue a singing career. Worse yet, she has kept an even more disturbing secret from her family.

For years Rachel and her father tried to prove that there was a real star of Bethlehem. But Rachel’s astronomy professor has convinced her there was no such star. In fact, Rachel has lost her faith in God. Upon her arrival home, she finds that her parents were killed in a car accident and Josh was badly hurt. She goes to her brother, but when she is called to the nurses’ station to fill out paper work, Joshua disappears. As Rachel searches for her brother, she is given a stone which sends her back in time to the belly of a pirate ship sailing on the Mediterranean. There will be more to come.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

For years I adored Mary Higgins Clark. The first book I read of hers, Where Are The Children, grabbed me from page one. I even met her once in Omaha, Nebraska, at a writers’ conference. Very inspiring woman, who has paid her dues for the success she now enjoys.

I’ve also admired Francine Rivers’ novels, especially her "Voice in the Wind" saga.

I have many mentors. I belong to a wonderful writing group with many authors. We’ve been meeting for over 20 years. They are all my mentors.

Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you'd go back and do differently now that you have been published?

Although it’s taken me many years to find success I’m glad my first published novel is The Forgotten Warrior. There were days when I felt as though I was being guided as I wrote.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

My family. As life has given us highs and lows we’ve clung together. My husband is the rock in my life. My children, who are all adults now, are kind and caring people. Last year my husband was away on my birthday, but my children brought me dinner, cake and ice-cream and celebrated with their mum. My son-in-law takes such good care of my daughter and grandson. I truly feel blessed to be a part of their lives.

Thank you, Kathi. Is there anything else you'd like to share with my readers?

Anyone who wants to find out more about me and what I’m up to can go to my website: For those who want to read more of my writing, you can go to my blog: The Forgotten Warrior can be ordered online at,, and


  1. Great interview, Marsha. Her book sounds interesting, as does the Christmas story she talked about. I'll have to check out her website.

  2. Wonderful interview! I can't wait to read your book Kathy!

  3. Very nice interview. Kathi's book sounds great.

  4. Marsha, thanks for the interview! And congratulations on the release of your book!


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