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The Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery

I’m going to start by saying that this book does have some frightening scenes and will delve into many forms of abuse. This can be from sexual, physical and verbal abuse that will shape many of the characters within the pages of the book. The Scent of Rain is also based on things that are actually happening today in parts of Colorado as explained by author Anne Montgomery at the end of the book.

The Scent of Rain, while fiction, is a book that could potentially be very true when it comes to what happens within the confines of a cult. The Fundamentalist Mormon (FLM) group in which the story takes places is one that is lead like so many other cults by one man, a prophet. A man whose word is law and if you do not follow his law you will not be allowed to go to the Celestial Heaven.

The story revolves primarily around the live of sixteen year old, Rose Madsen. She has plans for her life and many do not seem to agree with what her mom’s choices are for her.  Bliss, Rose’s mother, wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and get married off to a member of the FLM. The problem with teenagers today are that often they do not wish to follow what their parents wish and some even will speak back to their parents. Rose is one of those teenagers and when she speaks up to her mother’s wishes Rose is beaten. Rose will even find herself locked into a small closet that would make the one a well-known wizard was locked in look like a suite.

The treatment of Rose is just one of the horrific stories that come out of this book as sadly there are others. A ruling from the leader of the group, their prophet, requires all children with pets to kill those pets. These type of events will eventually lead to the greatest act of Rose’s teenage life as she runs away.  She will find that she will not be going alone as a young man with just as a troubling life will go with her.

Sadly this potential of a great ending for the runaways will not go as planned. A misjudgment by those who find the two leads to even more trouble for the pair. Although there are others in the area who wish to help the FLM is a very powerful group.  It really is when others start to stand up to the prophet that things begin to show signs of hope for Rose and Adan.

This is a very powerful book and one that is not easy to put down. There is a lot of drama within these pages but at same time you get a sense of hope. The book is again fiction but really if one wishes all they need to do is some research to find out that these type of groups are out there. Groups that have older men running a compound with multiple wives and many children. Often they rule thru not just fear but psychological abuse that make others fear leaving would be like dying.

Author Anne Montgomery surely did her research on this book. You will find that out in notes she provides along with the dedication to Flora Jessop. As stated in the dedication she escaped two separate cults and now tries to rescue other girls, and women, from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She acknowledges the subject matter at the end of the book and how she hopes to shed some light on the issues that are found in groups like the FLM. I know the subject matter in the book can be troublesome if not horrendous at times but this is a work of FICTION. The book may be based on some potential real events but the story telling is top notch as you watch people try and overcome this life. All they wish to do is believe in hope and rise above what they know and become the person they wish to be.

I’m going to start by saying that this book does have some frightening scenes and will delve into many forms of abuse. This can be from sexual, physical and verbal abuse that will shape many of the characters within the pages of the book. The Scent of Rain is also based on things that are actually happening today in parts of Colorado as explained by author Anne Montgomery at the end of the book.

The Scent of Rain, while fiction, is a book that could potentially be very true when it comes to what happens within the confines of a cult. The Fundamentalist Mormon (FLM) group in which the story takes places is one that is lead like so many other cults by one man, a prophet. A man whose word is law and if you do not follow his law you will not be allowed to go to the Celestial Heaven.

The story revolves primarily around the live of sixteen year old, Rose Madsen. She has plans for her life and many do not seem to agree with what her mom’s choices are for her.  Bliss, Rose’s mother, wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps and get married off to a member of the FLM. The problem with teenagers today are that often they do not wish to follow what their parents wish and some even will speak back to their parents. Rose is one of those teenagers and when she speaks up to her mother’s wishes Rose is beaten. Rose will even find herself locked into a small closet that would make the one a well-known wizard was locked in look like a suite.

The treatment of Rose is just one of the horrific stories that come out of this book as sadly there are others. A ruling from the leader of the group, their prophet, requires all children with pets to kill those pets. These type of events will eventually lead to the greatest act of Rose’s teenage life as she runs away.  She will find that she will not be going alone as a young man with just as a troubling life will go with her.

Sadly this potential of a great ending for the runaways will not go as planned. A misjudgment by those who find the two leads to even more trouble for the pair. Although there are others in the area who wish to help the FLM is a very powerful group.  It really is when others start to stand up to the prophet that things begin to show signs of hope for Rose and Adan.

This is a very powerful book and one that is not easy to put down. There is a lot of drama within these pages but at same time you get a sense of hope. The book is again fiction but really if one wishes all they need to do is some research to find out that these type of groups are out there. Groups that have older men running a compound with multiple wives and many children. Often they rule thru not just fear but psychological abuse that make others fear leaving would be like dying.

Author Anne Montgomery surely did her research on this book. You will find that out in notes she provides along with the dedication to Flora Jessop. As stated in the dedication she escaped two separate cults and now tries to rescue other girls, and women, from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She acknowledges the subject matter at the end of the book and how she hopes to shed some light on the issues that are found in groups like the FLM. I know the subject matter in the book can be troublesome if not horrendous at times but this is a work of FICTION. The book may be based on some potential real events but the story telling is top notch as you watch people try and overcome this life. All they wish to do is believe in hope and rise above what they know and become the person they wish to be.

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Posted by on October 9, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Ten +1 Questions with Author Anne Montgomery

Anne MontgomeryBelow you will find the Ten +1 Questons from author Anne Montgomery. As I was loading the links into this post I found out about her Wikipedia page. I did some quick reading and I must her name may seem familiar to people. Why? Well you will see that she was at one time an anchor on SportsCenter on ESPN. So, without giving to much more away check out Anne’s responses to the questions below.

 

 

 

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?

The thought never occurred to me until I was in my late 30s. I didn’t read well when I was younger, as I’m a bit dyslexic, so I didn’t gravitate toward either reading or writing. In fact, I remember getting letters returned from my mother covered with way too much red ink, highlighting my spelling and composition errors when I was in college. No one ever mentioned my writing skills until I asked John Walsh, who was my boss at ESPN, why he hired me. He said it was because I was a good writer. I was shocked, but a seed was planted.

Question 2:  How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

I did not have any children when I started the first book. As I’d been a TV reporter and anchor for much of my marriage my husband at the time was used to me be gone a lot. I now have three foster sons, all of whom came into my life as teenagers. They, I think, are not quite as needy as perhaps small children. So, I don’t think anyone feels neglected. The boys are probably glad that Mom has a distraction.

Question 3: What inspired you to write A Light in the Desert?

The dedication in my book reads as follows: This book was inspired by and is dedicated to my dear friend Sergeant Don Clarkson, a Green Beret who served in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry ARVN Soldiers from December 1968 to November 1970. Don died in 2010 from complications of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Agent Orange poisoning.

Don and I umpired amateur baseball together for five years. This was a time during which I was bemoaning the fact that I could no longer get a job in TV. After working at five stations, I was now too old to be in front of a camera. I was also going through a divorce and I couldn’t even get a job bartending. I was feeling pretty sorry for me. Then I met Don, a wounded Vietnam veteran with a wife and eight children. Despite his struggles with PTSD and Agent Orange poisoning, he rarely complained. Amateur umpires spend a lot of time before and after games talking. Don shared his stories with me and gradually I began to realize the triviality of my complaints and what a gift his friendship was. I wrote the book to help his children understand why their father sometimes behaved the way he did.

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters?

The sabotage of the Amtrak Sunset Limited, which remains a cold-case crime, occurred shortly after the Oklahoma City Bombing and, like that event, is considered to be an act of domestic terrorism. Since the crime occurred roughly 65 miles from Phoenix, the story was huge here and I became engrossed in the coverage.

As I explained in the previous question, Don was my inspiration for Jason Ramm, though he was not a sniper during his time in Vietnam. Most of the flashbacks in A Light in the Desert were actual events in his life. Jack Cooper is based on Maricopa County Deputy Sheriff Dave Woolley, a first responder to the wreck site of the Amtrak Sunset Limited, who graciously allowed me to interview him about the experience. It’s probably obvious that the too old, TV news reporter, Kate Butler, is me, though unlike Kate, I do not have a shelf full of Emmys. Still a girl can dream. The Children of Light are real people who allowed me into their enclave. Elect Sun is based on one of the women I met there.

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books?

I did not read as a child. I hated books because I struggled with reading. (I still sometimes can’t tell the difference between a d and a b, but I digress.) My dearest friend growing up was a complete bookworm. When she found out I was an author, her first response was, “How the hell did you become a writer?” She has a point. Life can be odd. In the even stranger department, while I’m primarily a journalism teacher, I’m also a reading specialist. I taught reading to high school kids – some of whom read below the third-grade level – for five years.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?

I have never had any biological children, but I’m guessing the feeling is a bit like childbirth, without the inherent mess.

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre? 

I wrote Nothing But Echoes, which is historical fiction based in Flagstaff, Arizona, in which both Kate Butler and Jack Cooper play prominent roles. (The book was previously titled The Magician, and will soon be rereleased by Sarah Book Publishing.) I also have a novel called The Scent of Rain, which tells the story of a young girl who lives in the polygamous community of Colorado City, Arizona. My agent is currently shopping that one around. My books don’t fit neatly into a specific genre. What they have in common is that they are based on real people or events. Can’t take the reporter out of the girl.

Question 8: Whom do you imagine being the people reading your book?

I have worked hard to ensure the facts concerning the crime are as they occurred, as are the military bits. The characters – some of whom who you can root for, while others you might like to run over with a truck – are realistic and relatable. And the setting in the Arizona, desert and the plot are both intriguing, so I think A Light in the Desert should have broad appeal.

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?

Make time to write. Be patient. Revel in small steps forward. Have another job to pay the bills. Ask people who don’t already love you to critique your work and then thank them for their time. Have a thick skin. Criticism is your friend: learn from it. Have a sense of humor. And, mostly, enjoy the process. If you don’t, find another hobby.

Question 10: When not writing how do you like to spend your time?

I’m a journalism/multimedia communications teacher at South Mountain High School, a Title I school in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m extremely fortunate that I love my job and, with a few exceptions, look forward to going to work everyday. I also have quite a few hobbies that brighten my world. I’m an avid rock and mineral collector. (All of my books contain some rock references.) I am also a scuba diver, just the thought of which drops my blood pressure 20 points. I have a desert vegetable garden with which I constantly do battle and which I refer to as my Moriarty. I have been an amateur sports official since 1979. I have officiated football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball games at various levels over the years. Today, I’m an Arizona Interscholastic Association high school football referee and crew chief. And, after thirty-five years, I finally picked up my old guitar.

The + 1 Question

If your book got turned into a movie do you have any actors/actresses you’d like to see play your characters?

I do have a screenplay for A Light in the Desert. Originally, I thought I’d like Ed Harris to play Jason Ramm. Glenn Close would be perfect as Elect Sun. Alas; I am too old to play Kate Butler. (Story of my life.) Everyone else would have to be unknown, because now the budget is blown.

 

Where to find Anne Montgomery Online

Find A Light in the Desert:

 

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Interview

 

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