Carol Lynch Williams Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Carol Lynch Williams

Carol Lynch Williams

An interview with Carol Lynch Williams

Carol Lynch Williams discussed The Chosen One, and what inspired her to write a book about a girl growing up in a polygamous community.

Where did you first get the idea to write The Chosen One?
Many years ago I heard of a young woman who ran from her polygamist community. She was dragged home, beaten and yet she ran again. I knew at that moment—at least a decade ago— that I would write this novel.

One of my goals in writing the book was to show the difference between polygamist groups and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of which I am a member. Some people still think that most men in Utah have more than one wife. Polygamists are not Latter-day Saints. I wanted to show that in my book.

Around the time you were starting to write the book, your daughter brought home a young man whose polygamous father was in jail. In what ways did this boy’s continued presence in your life affect the direction of the book?
When Chris came into our lives I was, indeed, just beginning the novel. I asked him a few questions, but Chris’ life was, in many ways, very different from Kyra’s. He didn’t live on a compound (though his family did live out in the desert away from people), he was allowed to choose how he believed when he got older, and while life proved to be pretty tough for him, he didn’t have to fight quite as hard for “freedom” as Kyra does.

How did you go about researching polygamous cults?
Did any of the strong, yet violent scenes, such as the punishment of baby Mariah, Kyra’s beating, and Kyra’s and Patrick’s run from the “God Squad” come from any real-life stories?
I did a huge amount of research before and during the writing. There are many different kinds of polygamist groups around the world. So while this book is grounded in fact, it is still fiction. Patrick’s story is made up, but another writer who was doing research for a book about polygamy told me about disciplining children by dunking them in ice water. I've also heard of crying babies being squirted in the face with water until they learn to not cry at all. As indicated by the news report about the young girl who was beaten when she ran from her polygamist community, the beatings do take place.

As far as research: I looked up everything I could online. This was a few years back, before the Warren Jeffs arrest. And it was kind of weird, because when I knew I was ready to start writing, it suddenly seemed that TV was full of stories of polygamists. I watched several nationwide news programs, read many newspaper articles, and read both positive and negative accounts of polygamy.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...
  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

"Electrifying . . . as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set."
—NPR

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.