Sarah Dunster is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. Her poems have been published in Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah Magazine, and Victorian Violet Press. Her short fiction piece, Back North, is featured in Segullah’s Fall 2011 issue. Her novel Lightning Tree will be released in spring of 2012 by Cedar Fort. Sarah has six children and one on the way and loves writing almost as much as she loves being a mom.


Good morning and welcome to My Book Addiction and More today!!

SD: Thank you for having me.

MBA&M: Tell our readers a little about yourself?


SD:  Let’s see… I’m a mother of seven, age ten and under. Two of my girls are adopted.  The seventh is actually due in early march. That (motherhood) is what I do most of the day. But of course I love writing, reading… skiing, when I have time. I have been writing since I was a girl and am very excited to get my first book published.

MBA&M: What made you decide to write “Lightning Tree”?


SD:  The story started because I was interested in Italian immigrants and the part they played in forming the pioneer communities in Utah. And when I started looking into the different waves of immigration from Italy to the Salt Lake Valley, I discovered the Waldensians, who were such an interesting group of people to me—they spoke French, lived high up in the mountain valleys of northern Italy, and they had their own version of the Christian religion that differentiated from the Catholic teachings, and so they were persecuted over the years.  So, a lot in common with the LDS pioneers. Also I have such a deep interest in the history of the area of Utah Valley. I’d drive by old buildings all the time and just wish there was someone I could talk to about them.  Finally I decided to write a story and have a reason for tracking down facts, names, family anecdotes.  It has been such a meaningful process to me, getting to know the place I lived for such a long time.

MBA&M: What where the challenges in writing “Lightning Tree”?


S.D.I was (and still am) a little bit frightened about the idea of misrepresenting history by accident. I was so completely thorough—I’d look up every little thing, like, did the city run cross that street?  What was the street called? Was this building built yet?  I wanted to get it exactly right… and accounts differ.  I’ve found personal accounts like journals and histories that say something different from the textbooks. And I tend to go with the histories, the firsthand accounts. So I’m worried about being criticized for historical accuracy but in the end… all I can say is I did my best (and a lot more than I had to, probably) to get everything right.

MBA&M: Why this era?

S.D. I love the idea of writing about a newly budding community. And it fit so well with my passion for the idea of community as family… back when communities were small and somewhat disconnected, you had to rely on your neighbors.  It’s such a different world now. Sometimes we don’t even know our neighbors’ names.

MBA&M: Who is your hero in your life?Why?


S.D. This will sound cliché, but my husband. Without his encouragement and genuine love for the fact that I write, I would not be a writer.  He is so enthusiastic about it. And self-sacrificing. He is a writer too, and hardly ever has time for it. I look forward to the day when he can take some time to write also.

MBA&M: If you could step into a book and that world where will it be and why?


S.D. Harry Potter.  I would love to meet some of my favorite characters from that story. Or maybe Little House on the Prairie; what an adventure those stories portray (and all of them true!). But just for a little while… I love my life, and would miss it.

MBA&M: Please tell our readers where to find you and where “Lightning Tree” is available?


My professional blog is, my personal blog is, and the book is available for pre-order on Amazon right now; there is a link from my poster page where you can buy it:

               Do you wish to add anything else?


Just that I think it’s a great story and I hope that people will enjoy it!

Thank you for visiting with us and our readers today!!


Links forSarah Dunster:

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Paperback:384 pages

Publisher:Cedar Fort, Inc. (April 10, 2012)



ISBN-13: 978-1599559599

Book Description(from Amazon)

Publication Date: April 10, 2012
After surviving the tragic deaths of her parents and her baby sister and a harrowing trek across the plains to Utah, it s no surprise that Maggie’s nights are plagued by nightmares. But after years of harsh treatment by her foster family and memories that seem to hint at an unthinkable crime, Maggie is forced to strike out on her own to separate the facts from the lies.
 Available at  Amazon or



*Sponsored by the publisher*

We are offering 1 lucky commenter a copy of  “LIGHTNING TREE” by Sarah Dunster. Open International. No P.O. Boxes,please. Giveaway to run from today March 21 until March 28,2012.




Visit for our “Thoughts” on “LIGHTNING TREE” by Sarah Dunster.


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  1. I enjoyed the interview and learning more about the inspiration for the story. The book sounds very interesting.

  2. This novel sounds compelling and special. I enjoyed learning about the author and her interest in the immigrant community which sounds fascinating.

  3. The Lightning Tree sounds captivating. A story which concerns immigrants in Utah is so interesting. Best wishes and much happiness and success.

  4. Can't wait to read it; I love authors who put in the effort to be as historically accurate as possible–need more of those out there!

  5. Sarah is such a beautiful person!! great interview, I can hardly wait to read your book.

  6. Oooo…sounds like a good book. Can't wait to read it.


  7. I have always wondered about living in a simpler time where neighbors were really neighbors not like today. Too much isolation where everyone don’t want to know anybody’s business or turned a blind eye.

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