Come to Zion, Vol. 2: Through Cloud and Sunshine
by Dean Hughes
Meanwhile, Jeff and Abby—in modern-day Nauvoo—are dealing with challenges of their own. As their newborn baby fights for his life, they must come to grips with their personal faith. Can they, like their ancestors, continue to trust in God when there seems to be no trace o Him in their trials?
Beloved novelist Dean Hughes skillfully interweaves the stories of two couples separated by five generations and 150 years, providing a unique perspective on Church history and showing how much we can learn from those who went before us.
Interview with Dean Hughes:
Do you have certain tools you go to for the history part of your books?
Research has become much easier in recent years. There was a time when I sat in a library or archive for many hours, and I still do that at times, but I can find much of what I’m looking for at home now. When I’m starting a new project, I like to go to Curt Bench’s store, Benchmark Books, in Salt Lake City. I try to find the seminal works on a subject: especially the general books that give me an overview of the period I want to understand. The bibliographies in those books guide me to others sources, and the nice thing is, I can sit at home and order most of what I want to find, including many works that are out of print.
As I figure out my plot and know more exactly what I need to know, I look for books on nineteenth-century farming techniques or log cabin construction. What’s great, though, is that the Internet is replete with sites that zero in on specific information. There was a time when I had to go to LDS Church archives to find materials that are now published online. (The Joseph Smith Papers, both online, and in published form) have been a big help for me, for example. I write on an iMac with a twenty-seven inch screen, and I type my notes instead of taking them by hand. I can juxtapose my notes and the page I’m writing on the same screen, and then check details without much trouble, simply using keywords to find what I’m looking for.
I also find that I Google all sorts of things. If I’m writing a scene that involves an actual person, for instance, such as Eliza R. Smith, I wonder exactly how old she is and instead of looking through books or notes, I Google her name, and spot a bio, which always provides her birthdate. In a few seconds I know exactly how old she was in 1843 (thirty-nine, as a matter of fact). I have to be careful, because web sites are not all of equal quality, and there are mistakes all over the place, but I love to hit a couple of buttons and get instant information. My biggest challenge is that there is more information available than I can possibly read; sooner or later, I have to write the book.
What inspires the ideas for your fiction?
People often ask me where I get my ideas, but I hardly know what to say. For some reason that’s what my brain does pretty much all day. It grabs on to some little clue and says, “Hey, Dean, you could write about that some time.” I guess it’s a habit of mind from writing for thirty-five years (actually, that’s publishing for thirty-five years; I’ve been writing much longer.) And yet, it seems as though my brain has always been that way. Music, books, movies, the evening news, a conversation overheard, a certain scene or mood or desire: all sorts of things kick off ideas, and then my mind starts turning the idea into a story. In fact, when I’m driving, I fairly often forget where I’m going. My mind is too busy to waste time on such minor things.
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Book and eBook Combo
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By Gregory, Submitted on 2015-02-25
The dual story line in this series has caused me to really ponder how life today compares to that of the early saints. I love the real-ness of how Nauvoo is described and the associations among the people there, especially as we read about them side by side with a modern storyline. Dean Hughes allows us a realistic glimpse into the lives of these saints, and it's comforting to know they weren't perfect, but also encouraging to draw from their examples of faith.
By Cathy, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This book starts right where Come to Zion left off, you want to read that one first, although if it's been awhile the author does provide a nice refresher in introduction. Jeff and Abby are living in Nauvoo almost directly across the street from where his grandfather lived, something that I love. Nauvoo holds a special place in my heart, we were able to spend time there the last couple of summers, and I really love the way Dean Hughes paints the town, people and missionaries of Nauvoo in this series. I love both parts to this story, I love the parts about Will and Liz in the 1840's as well as Jeff and Abby in current Nauvoo. Dean Hughes' characters are well written and easy to get to "know." The plot in both parts is well done to, it feels as though it's something that really happened. Dean Hughes really is at his best with this kind of writing. I can't wait for the third installment of this amazing series!
By Audra, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This book is a wonderful continuation of the first book in this series. I love to read stories about the lives of the early saints and the sacrifices they made to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Dean Hughes does an amazing job telling the story of the Will Lewis family and the Jeff Lewis family. Can't wait until the next book!