Monday, November 30, 2009

Matthew Brown Interview and an Angel Entry

I usually write something personal on Mondays and about things that have happened to me. A couple of weeks ago while I was at a signing in Centerville, a man came in the store. Upon seeing that my book was published by Covenant, he told me he wrote books for them as well. I had never met him before so I asked what he'd written. He pointed to Mormons and Masons. Little did I know I was talking to a legend of LDS nonfiction. As we spoke I asked if he would like to be interviewed for my blog. He agreed. So I'm happy to present to you my interview with Matthew Brown.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No. I started writing only because an educator asked me for extensive information related to a book project he was working on (Symbols in Stone). Before my writing career began I built, maintained, and repaired elevators for a living.

Tell us a little bit about your new book.
My new book on Freemasonry was written by request. The publisher wanted a volume which corresponded with the content of Dan Brown’s latest novel. It is a fascinating topic but proper research on such things can take many years.

Tell us about your other books.
All of my books (10 now) deal with some historical or doctrinal aspect of the Restoration. Most of them have an apologetic element. The Greek word apologia basically means ‘defense.’ Much of my research and writing has to do with understanding and defending the restored gospel and the practices which pertain to it.

Your books are nonfiction and deal with some heavy topics. Why did you choose to write about these subjects? Or did they choose you?
When I was a missionary I found that I had sincere, but sometimes difficult, questions that extended beyond the scope of a normal Institute or Gospel Doctrine class—sometimes far beyond. I have not stopped asking questions ever since. My books are simply edited notes from my intellectual explorations.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
The desire to clarify, solidify, and justify faith.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing?
No. But as I read the writings of other people I have admired the ability of many of them to communicate clearly and take readers on a mental journey to a satisfactory destination.

Do you have a writing mentor?
I do not.

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 - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be? I currently live in the Salt Lake valley but would much prefer a quiet place in the countryside. My work requires a great deal of concentration, so the less distractions I have the better.

Bring us into your office where you write. What does it look like? Do you write long-hand, on a laptop, or PC?
I work six days a week in a university library. The temperature is cool so that the collections are not damaged by moisture. I am surrounded by thousands of books and surprisingly often by curious individuals with interesting questions. My desk is a large wooden table (which I sometimes fill with large stacks of reading material – much to the chagrin of some librarians). I carry a laptop most everywhere I go but I continue to take long-hand notes when necessary.

I understand they are making a DVD about your latest book. Tell us about the project. Also, do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I recently viewed the rough-cut of the DVD and even without the many graphics it will include it is very engaging. Several BYU professors and the Past Grand Master for all Utah Freemasons participated. The only drawback was that they shocked me with the announcement that I would be conducting all of the interviews! When I get involved in really intricate projects (like this one) I tend to stay away from television so that my mind can remain more focused.

How has being published changed your life?
It has challenged me intellectually, financially, and creatively.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where?
I have already done nine book signings this season – with a strong response. Here is my schedule (so far) for the rest of the year.

Dec. 5th – South Towne Deseret Book [Sandy] (noon–2pm)
Dec. 11th – Orem Costco (5pm–8pm)
Dec. 12th – Spanish Fork Deseret Book (noon–2pm)
Spanish Fork Seagull Book (2:30pm–4pm)
Dec. 19th – Provo Deseret Book [Eastbay], (10am–12noon)
University Parkway Deseret Book [Orem] (1pm–3pm)
South Jordan Seagull Book [“The District”] (4pm–6pm)

Thank you, Matthew!

Now for the Angel entry spotlight for the week.

Yesterday I pulled into the church parking lot and hit a nail. When I got out of the car, the tire was already getting low and I could hear the air coming out of it. A brother in my High Priest Group walked by and saw me inspecting my soon-to-be ox-in-the-mire. He said, "put the nail back in and let's drive to my house right away so we can plug that tire and not have to change it."

I missed the Sacrament, but the kind act of service (and not having to change a tire while in my suit) certainly kept my mood from turning gloomy on the Sabbath. The tire was repaired, and I made it back into the meeting before the last speaker spoke.

Don't forget to send in your entry for An Angel in Your Life Contest. The deadline is December 15th.


  1. Very interesting interview, Kathi! It was nice to get the perspective of a prolific, nonfiction writer.

  2. love your blog layout. great interview.
    nice to meet you. i'm following you now. pop into mine if you can. i have all things books. xo

  3. Thanks for stopping by Karen and Kelly! Matthew is a great writer and helps us understand some deep subjects. Kelly I'll pop by as soon as I can.



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