Gerald Lund recently released a novel about the Hole in the Rock pioneers titled, "The Undaunted." As soon as the book was announced, I started getting e-mails from friends and readers all over the country, wondering how I was taking the news. They knew I had struggled to get my book on the same topic published, and they wanted to make sure I was all right. I assured them I was.
You can't copyright an idea, and you certainly can't copyright a historical event. It is true that I feel I have a special right to tell the story - a key figure in the event, Benjamin Perkins, was my great-great-grandfather and I wrote my book from his life story and volumes of family history. I have often felt the hand of my ancestors in the writing of my novel, and I truly feel that "Season of Sacrifice" was the book I was meant to write, why I was created to be an author. But that doesn't mean others can't tell the story as well. Mine is more focused and centered on a few characters while theirs are more broad and take in a larger spectrum of characters. The books might tell the same story, but they naturally cover different aspects and I'm very pleased with the attention Brother Lund is receiving for his book. The more people who know the story of these intrepid pioneers, the better.
I do have one concern, though. I know that it's impossible to catch every little bit of information as you research, and I know from experience that there's always something that slips through the cracks, no matter how careful you are. But I was in Walmart today and picked up a copy of Lund's book to peruse, and in the back, saw a notation that Benjamin and his wife Mary Ann were buried in the Bluff cemetery. That is incorrect. Benjamin, Mary Ann, and Benjamin's second wife Sarah are all buried in the Monticello cemetery. I visited there just one month ago. Here I am, at their gravesides, with my dad:It's an easy mistake to make, but as the descendant of Benjamin Perkins, it does leap out, as does Blaine Yorganson's description of Sarah as being a somewhat flighty young thing with a definite Oklahoma-style drawl. Sarah was actually very serious-minded and spoke very little English at the time of the trek.
In response to the numerous questions I've been asked, there are no sour grapes on my part. Yes, I would have liked to get the attention and the sales Brother Lund is now getting. But my book went to those who needed it the most - my family - and I feel I accomplished with it the things I was meant to accomplish. I wish Brother Lund all the best and I hope many of his readers come to appreciate the sacrifices made by those wonderful pioneers, and perhaps if they'd ever like a closer-up view of Benjamin, Mary Ann, and Sarah, they'll keep me in mind.
Note: I inadvertently caused some confusion with my mention of Blaine Yorgason out in the middle of a post about Gerald Lund's book and I'd like to clarify - it's in Yorgason's book where Sarah drawls, not in Lund's.