"A Lost Faith Is Never Too Far Gone"
Serena is devastated when her lifelong friend, Aminadab, is banned from Zarahemla for abandoning his faith and persecuting the saints. To add to her despair, she loses the rare ruby her father entrusted to her and she feels all is lost.
Unbeknownst to her, Aminadab finds the ruby, and takes it as his only reminder of Serena. As an outcast, Aminadab and his company of dissenters seek refuge among the Lamanites, who happen to be the very people who killed his parents. Not only is his anxiety high for being surrounded by these bloodthirsty people, but he quickly discovers he’s in the middle of a Gadianton plot to start a war between the Nephites and Lamanites.
Selling the ruby soon becomes the only option Aminadab has at escaping the volatile life he finds himself in. However, this act might forever banish him from ever being in Serena’s graces again.
In D Vansen’s Book of Mormon adventure, Aminadab must choose which side he’s on in a reflective journey of self-discovery, while Serena must stay faithful and hold onto the hope that a lost faith is never too far gone.
a. My family and my faith is the most important aspect in my life. Having a family of my own has also deepened my love and understanding for the struggles we all go through. It’s all about finding the joy in life and who wants to do that alone? Learning to laugh is also important.
2. If you could go out to lunch with any literary character, which would it be?
a. Humm. This one is a thinker. In the mood I’m in right now I would say, Hermione Granger. I love her intellect and her ability to get out of problems intelligently. And to have magic––how would that be? My house would be clean and we’d have the best meals that’s for sure. She is a bit more on the serious side, but she’s a strong character.
3. Which of your personality traits did you write into your characters? (Deliberately or accidentally)
a. I tend to write characters that can be pushed around. They take the abuse because they don’t want the contention and conflict. I accidentally do this, it’s my own personal struggle that comes out into my writing. I guess you write what you know and what you are at times. However, I have written in a few of the annoying quirks that mimic a few people in my life, and that’s deliberate. As an author we have that right. I guess it makes up for the mistake we make in writing our own weaknesses.
4. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
a. Thomas S. Monson’s quote could sum it up, “The future is as bright as your faith.” We determine what we get out of life, but we are to remember that we are not left alone here in this life. God is there and He has provided others in our lives to walk the path with us. For that I’m grateful.
a. Well, I hate to admit it, but I was mad at a family member and I wanted to write a story about an ungrateful boy. Harsh, I know, but it has some intense backstory. I voiced my interest in writing to my husband and he came across a flyer in the mail for the Children’s Literature Institute where courses are done through the mail. He sent it in for me, and I haven’t stopped writing since then.
6. Give us an insight into how your writing day/time is structured?
a. It all depends on where I’m at in the writing process. Because I’m so task oriented, I can spend hours on the computer writing, researching or editing. The biggest trap that I have to watch out for is not getting started with writing without completing whatever is needed done first. The moment I sit to the computer everything else fades into the background. (Hence sparse meals, and no cleaning. My husband’s favorite line is, “We haven’t had a home cooked meal in months.”) When I ask my family to listen to my work they grumble and basically say, “Maybe later.” Thank heavens for my writer friends!
a. God can’t and doesn’t take away all of our trials and pains. Rather, He’s there to help ease the burden of life. If God did everything for us we wouldn’t grow, and we wouldn’t improve or be empowered. I try to remember that as a parent. I don’t want to cripple my own children by doing everything for them. I want them to be strong and be capable of doing hard things.
8. Do you have any advice for other writers?
a. Learning the craft takes time and practice. Be patient. I could read how to write books all day, but it’s doing the writing that grants the talent. This applies to everything in life, it’s the doing that gives you the experience and the expertise.
D Vansen lives in Northern Utah with her family. After serving a LDS mission, she developed a love for the Book of Mormon and its eternal truths. She claims that if you ever want the scriptures and its characters to come to life, plot a novel from them. She loves all things artistic, unless it involves combining food ingredients. Thank heavens she has children that will help with that specific talent.
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