Today I am elated to have the opportunity to reintroduce you to my guest. Please indulge me so that I can explain why I am beyond thrilled.
Helga was a guest author back in May. At the time, I was behind in my requested review reading schedule and was unable to read and review her book. However, we traded emails regarding her showcase. She asked me about Partners In Crime Tours and decided to book a tour. I have since read her book and it is riveting!! Could not put it down.
Not only is she an amazing writer but a very kind, generous and thoughtful person who I now consider a friend. And today is her kick off and first stop as she starts her 2 month tour. Please meet author and friend, Ms. Helga Zeiner!!
You can visit Helga at her Website, and on Facebook, and Twitter.
“How did I research this subject”
Since Section 132 was published, I have been complimented quite often on the extensive research I had undertaken for this novel. Although the story is fictional, it is based on true events which took place in Canada and America. I therefore felt compelled to get all the relevant details right before I could create a tale that would grip the reader and transport him into this weird and freaky world.
Readers have asked me how on earth one researches a polygamous sect. Go under-cover? Infiltrate them somehow? Get in touch with and interview women and teenagers who managed to escape? Or did I maybe, just maybe, write from personal experience? Had I possibly been a sister-wife myself?
Well, it’s not quite that spectacular. It simply took years of painstaking, traditional subject matter research. I worked diligently on collecting supporting facts. I read many books, biographies, anything I could find about the history of the Mormon religion and their off-shoot cult FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Later Day Saints), the biography of its founder Joseph Smith, of their Prophet Warren Jeffs, as well as many accounts of women who had escaped the cult.
I closely followed a court case at the BC Supreme Court which had to decide if polygamy should be made legal in this Canadian province. This case was brought before the courts by the Bishop of the Canadian polygamous sectBountifulwho argued it on the grounds of religious freedom. Luckily, the judge ruled that polygamy is harmful to women and children and will therefore continue to be illegal.
Eventually I got hold of the ‘Book of Mormon’ and the attached “Doctrine & Covenants’ written by Josef Smith. There I found “Section 132’ which covers the holy covenant of ‘The Principle of Plural Marriage’ (polygamy!) and provides the religious justification for the strange rule that one man must have several wives. It was quite a read!
In the course of this research I got in touch with a wonderful group of University Women who have formed the ‘Bountiful Round-table’ as well as the ‘West Coast Leaf Lawyers Association’ – both groups are actively working toward their goal of banning polygamy in our society altogether.
Finally, I was contacted by members of a fairly clandestine organization who had heard about my efforts. As they are pro-active in rescuing women who try to escape the cult, they have met with some serious opposition in the higher echelons of the FLDS and have made quite a few enemies. They checked me out thoroughly before allowing me to join their closed group. I was honored to be able to collect further data this way. You can imagine what valuable insights, sometimes heart breaking and infuriating, I could gather through those channels.
All in all, it has taken me several years before I even wrote the first sentence. Although I have taken liberties with the truth and let my imagination run rampant, which is my prerogative as a novelist, there is still a very chilling element of authenticity in this story.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Lillian is only 13 when her parents marry her to a middle-aged Bishop of a fundamentalist sect who practices polygamy. She is forced to live with her new husband’s many wives and children on his compound tucked away in the Canadian wilderness.
THANKS TO THE GENEROSITY OF AUTHOR, HELGA ZEINER,
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