KAYSVILLE -- A first novel for K.C. Grant, 39, has landed this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints author success in just a few weeks since its release.
"Abish: Daughter of God" (Covenant, $16.95) already has scored a ranking in the top six for books sold at Deseret Book and Grant said a few Deseret Book stores already have sold out of her novel.
"It's fun to have a first novel so well received," said the Kaysville homemaker. "It gives me an inspiration to keep on writing."
Grant enjoyed a successful book signing last weekend in Centerville and has another scheduled for today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Seagull Book in Layton at 448 W. Antelope Drive.
The novel is a mixture of fiction and fact, based on a short account of a woman in Alma, Chapter 19 who did not faint when others were overcome by the Holy Spirit because she had been converted to gospel teachings earlier in her life.
"I think like a lot of LDS people who read the Book of Mormon," Grant said. "Abish is one of only three women mentioned by name in the Book of Mormon and yet there is very little said about her. I wanted to know more about her and possibly other people would too."
Grant said she wanted to be entertaining with her novel, but she also wanted to help readers imagine some of what this woman's life must have been like.
The novel tells about a young woman who is taken away from her family to become a servant to a princess. She is challenged by societal pressures to stay in her place and do exactly as she is asked by the princess and the queen.
The author leaned on her own cultural experience she gained in while studying abroad in Mexico with Weber State University, where she received a bachelor of arts degree in English and Spanish.
"I studied with native instructors," Grant said of her study abroad. "I learned Mexican history and Mexican literature. It was a great experience."
She also served a Spanish-speaking LDS mission in Southern California and came in contact with a number of Hispanic cultures through that experience.
But Grant said she also studied numerous facts in the Book of Mormon and theories by Book of Mormon researchers and authors Joseph L. Allen, Allen J. Christensen and John L. Sorenson for the basis of her novel.
She said the work influenced her testimony of the Book of Mormon.
"I started making sure I knew about everything that was mentioned in the Book of Mormon," she said. "I wanted to make sure I was scripturally accurate."
Grant said she subscribes to the theory that the Book of Mormon took place in Meso-America, on the Yucatan Peninsula. That led her to extensive study of the preclassic Mayans.
"While concepts such as polytheism, slavery and human sacrifice are not regularly mentioned in the Book of Mormon, I have included them in Abish's story because they were a part of Mayan daily life," she wrote in an author's note in the novel.
Grant said as she compared what she learned about the Mayans and the geography of the Yucatan Peninsula with the information in the Book of Mormon, she found everything coincided.
"I know that I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon before I began to write," she said. "When I began to study and had to be very specific, I thought either Joseph Smith was a verifiable genius or it had to be inspired."
Grant said she was inspired by the actual distances and relationships of places to each other as described in the Book of Mormon.
"I thought everything fell completely into place," she said. "It was always something where I literally could go through and make my own map based on the places and their relationship to one another."
Grant's writing experience includes eight years of writing for various magazines. She said she had finished her novel some time before she was introduced to the League of Utah Writers. Volunteers in that organization helped Grant find the resources to get her novel accepted and published.
Grant now serves as the president of the Bountiful chapter of the League of Utah writers. She is working to help other writers find success, especially those of the younger generation.
She now has a second novel that is in the preparation stages for publishing. It's a modern story of a young girl from Utah who goes on a business trip with an advertising agency she works with and gets entangled in a drug situation.
Grant also plans to write a sequel to "Abish: Daughter of God." She said it will portray a later time when Abish's people are forced to leave their land when they are persecuted by Lamanites.
An audio compact disc of Grant's first novel is scheduled to be released sometime soon.
The novel is available at most bookstores throughout the Wasatch Front that carry LDS products. It's also available online from Barnes and Noble and Amazon.