Friday, May 21, 2010

Author Interview with Jerry Borrowman

At the LDStorymakers Conference last April I ran into author Jerry Borrowman. He has a new book out, and I thought you might like to learn a little about him and his latest novel.

Enjoy!

 Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I first started writing articles for the Church News and Ensign, and then later in the financial services industry. The thing I like about writing is that it gives me a chance to share ideas and stories that I believe are important, with other people—most of whom I’ll never meet. But I never thought I could write a book—that was for authors, which was too much for me to aspire to. When I met Rudi Wobbe, however, and heard his remarkable story about three German boys who had the courage to stand up to the Third Reich, I knew I had to help him. So, I went to work writing his story, which turned into Three Against Hitler, a perennial best-seller in the LDS market. That launched my career.

Tell us a little bit about your new book.
Stories from the Life of Porter Rockwell is co-authored with John W. Rockwell, Porter’s great-great-grandson. John had these great stories he’d been sharing with people in firesides for the past thirty years, but needed help writing them, which is where I come in. Porter Rockwell is a notorious or noteworthy character from LDS history, depending on your point-of-view. He was a great friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith, and others. He was the sworn enemy of critics of the Church. He lived in violent times and he often used his skill with a gun to manage the violence. I think readers of this book will find his stories fascinating, and can decide for themselves what to believe about this remarkable man.

Tell us about your other books.
I have three co-authored autobiographies, including Three Against Hitler with Rudi Wobbe, A Distant Prayer with Joseph Banks, and Beyond the Call of Duty with Medal of Honor recipient, Bernie Fisher, a professional air force pilot. When my interest in history took me back to the First World War I had no one to co-author a book with, I switched to fiction, which led to the four book series that starts with ‘Til the Boys Come Home. I’ve had a great reception in that genre. More recently I wrote One Last Chance, which is a Depression era story and my first non-military book. Now I have Stories from the Life of Porter Rockwell, to add to my collection, and soon plan to publish Life and Death at Hoover Dam, an epic novel set in Nevada and Arizona.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
I want to help readers learn about history. My books are all historically authentic, even those with fictional characters. Having a story to pull you through the history adds to the interest of the reader.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
My favorite writers are Winston Churchill, Harper Lee, David McCullough, and Stephen Ambrose.

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?
I grew up in Pocatello, Idaho which is a very convenient place to live. We moved to Sandy in 1984, so all our children grew up as Alta Hawks and, 3 of the 4, as University of Utah Utes. Our oldest did go to BYU law school, as did my mom and brothers, so we’re a diverse sort of family. I tell people my heart belongs to the U since that’s where most of my money went.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Tahiti. Marcella and I love the South Pacific for its easy lifestyle and wonderful scenery. Maybe someday …

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
I never listen to music when writing since my wife assures me that I have attention deficit disorder. I sit in a lazy-boy recliner with my feet up, laptop in hand. I write so much that I’m at real risk for tendinitis if I don’t watch out, so that particular posture seems to work best to minimize pain in my arms. On one occasion Marcella suggested that I was gone too much. When I protested that I was home the night in question she said, “Jerry, your body was there, but you were a million miles away.” That’s me when I’m writing.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I like movies, although we don’t go a lot. I loved “A Man For All Seasons,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and old war movies. But I also like James Bond movies, as far-fetched as they are. Chocolat is one of our favorites because it teaches some great lessons about tolerance and enjoying life.
As to television, the Food Channel is probably my favorite.

How has being published changed your life?
I recognize it as a great blessing to have my books published. So many people aspire to be a writer, who don’t make it into print. I’m glad that my writing is inspirational to people since I want it to honor the great men and women who, through sacrifice, make the world a better place. I’m always humbled when a member of the military or a veteran tell me they enjoy my military history and fiction—because they are the people who have paid the price that blesses all of us.

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?
Here’s the text of an e-mail I sent out to my friends earlier today. Perhaps it will be of interest to your readers:

Jerry Borrowman COSTCO BOOK SIGNING SCHEDULE
Saturday, May 15—Orem Costco 11 a.m.–2 p.m. (648 E. 800 S.)
Saturday, May 29—Murray Costco 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

THANKS FOR TAKING TIME TO CHAT IN YOUR BLOG.
Jerry Borrowman

You're welcome!

4 comments:

  1. I've heard so much about this book. I can't wait to read it! Great interview Kathi! =)

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  2. Great interview. Writing those memoirs would be such an interesting experience. A lot of hard work too. Very different from writing fiction in so many ways.

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  3. Thanks, Carolyn. I haven't read the book yet, but I think it sounds good, too. Jerry does a good job in whatever he writes.

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  4. Thanks for stopping by, Jemi. I think it would be very hard to write memoirs, so I really admire Jerry writing them. And they are fascinating.

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