Gaze Into Heaven by Marlene Bateman Sullivan – Interview & Giveaway

Welcome to Author Marlene Bateman Sullivan

I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Sandy, Utah. After attending Dixie College and Utah State University, I graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s degree in English. I married Kelly R. Sullivan and have seven children. My hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading.

Interview
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?As long as there was food, water, shade and I knew rescue was coming in a week, I’d want a comfy rocking chair, the thickest book Mauve Binchy wrote, and my dog.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.  
Because Gaze Into Heaven provides as much proof as you’ll ever find that that life continues on beyond the grave, that God lives and loves you, that the gospel is true, and that heaven is, well, heaven—a place where we will be reunited with our departed loved ones, be freed from earthly trials and disabilities and will be filled with joy and happiness.

Any other books in the works?   
I have a sequel planned for Gaze Into Heaven.  I also am working on another novel, (Deception will be published in June) which is the second in a mystery series, featuring quirky private investigator, Erica Coleman.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 
Never. Give. Up. People don’t fail because they can’t write, they fail because they stop trying.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? 
I love easy questions.  An author. I wanted to write ever since I was young, although I did not commit to it until I was in Jr. High. Marrying and having children set me back for years because—let’s face it—you can’t do everything at one time. But I continued writing as I could and I never gave up.

Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again. 
First, I read the scriptures, a few pages in whatever writing book I am studying at the moment, and then the newspaper. I then eat breakfast and do housework, visiting teaching, grocery shopping, yard work, etc. until 10:30.  Then I write until 12:30, taking an hour for lunch and reading. Then I take a 10-15 min. power nap before writing 7 p.m. During this time, I take a break and take my two doggies for a walk. Then I get dinner ready (hubby usually helps) and watch TV till bedtime.

What’s your favorite season/weather? 
I adore Halloween.  I have more cute pumpkins, bats and decorations than you can shake a stick at.  Last year, my daughter gave me a little sign which pretty well sums it up, “The Queen of Halloween.”  I love fall, the beautiful colors on the trees, the crisp air with the occasional hint of wood-smoke, ripe apples, and the smell of concord grapes on our back fence. I love planning a special Halloween dinner each year for my children and grandchildren.  Afterwards we go outside and let each one tramp our pumpkin patch and pick out one or two pumpkins to take home.

Favorite sport? 
Football.  Love it. Can’t get enough. (I’m not kidding.) I go into withdrawals after the Super Bowl and yes, I have a huge party each year. I blame my Dad for hooking me on football while growing up.  My husband is soooo grateful to my Dad . . .

Hobbies?  
I love to go camping.  I also raise iris. I love different, beautiful colors. I’m addicted to finding new varieties each year and adore the gorgeous colors. I order new colors from iris farms and each year, share the joy by selling select varieties on KSL.

Pets? 
Another weakness of mine.  I love animals. When my kids were growing up, they knew all they had to do was ask for a pet and it was theirs.  Except for snakes and spiders. Creepy crawlies are not pets. Over the years, we’ve had mice, gerbils, hamsters, rats, (surprisingly wonderful pets, as long as you can stomach those tails), tropical fish, goldfish, parakeets, a cockatoo, eclectus parrot, lovebirds, rabbits, and of course cats and dogs. Right now, I only have three cats and two dogs.

Where do you write? 
In what is called a formal dining room.  Who ever invented formal dining rooms, anyway? Are you kidding? How many people really use a formal dining room every day for ‘dining’?  It’s my “writing room.”

What drew you to writing this genre? 
I love to do research.  It’s a thrill to walk into the Church History Library in downtown Salt Lake City.  I love it there. Seriously.  If they’d let me, I’d bring my sleeping bag and a cooler of food and live there until my food gave out.  I guess I have a gene that adores searching out topics and finding old books, magazines, newspapers and personal papers, and looking through them.

How do you go about revising/editing?  
Just do it.  It’s not always fun. It’s not easy. But it needs to be done, so just do it.

Do you write as you go or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?  
With novels, you MUST know how it is going to end before you can write the beginning.  Plotting is very difficult work, but very important.  If you haven’t plotted out your mystery before starting to write, it is doomed to fail. Even with non-fiction, you have to know what you want to say before you can research and write.

What one item would you eat for the rest of your life? 
Tilapia and/or halibut.  But it’s essential to have a really good tartar sauce.  In fact, if the tartar sauce is good enough, you don’t need the fish at all.

Pet Peeves?  
When I’m at a four way stop and a person drives through the intersection and the person directly behind them goes too, as if there were no other people waiting. Argh!

How do you overcome writer’s block? 
What’s writer’s block?  Writing is a job.  Most of the time you are revising, so you just read what you’ve written and try to make it better, sharper, funnier, scarier. It’s hard sometimes, but you just plow forward doing the best you can and knowing you’re going to go over it again and again and again, so don’t stress if you don’t get it perfect the first, second or third time through.


Is there something specific you need as you write? 
I have two dishes to the left of my monitor filled with gummy bears, sweet-tarts, dried fruit, jolly ranchers, tootsie rolls, licorice (dried and broken into pieces), smarties, and gum.  When I get tired in the afternoon, I pull out something to nibble on and it helps me stay awake.


About how long does it take to write a book? 
My first book took three years, but I still had a lot of children at home.  My last one took nine months. Non-fiction goes faster than fiction, since I don’t have to plot.


Gaze Into Heaven

Gaze Into Heaven is a carefully compiled collection of more than 50 near-death experiences that occurred during the early years of the Church. These documented accounts give us fascinating glimpses into the Spirit world by those who have actually been there. Besides being filled with stories of insight and inspiration, Gaze Into Heaven has pertinent quotes from latter-day Prophets and other leaders, many scriptures, and perceptive commentary.  After reading this book, you will never think of life—or death—in the same way.

Most of us have wondered about death and the next life. We wonder exactly what will happen when we die? Will we see departed family members and friends? What does the Spirit World look like? What do people do there? Do spirits there know what is happening on earth? What did people who had near death experiences learn from their visit to the spirit world?All of these questions and many more are answered in Gaze Into Heaven. There have been many books written about modern day near-death experiences, but Gaze Into Heaven is the first to focus solely on those that took place in early church history.

Joseph Smith said; “All men know that they must die . . . it is important that we should understand the reasons . . . of life and of death, and the designs and purposes of God in our coming into the world . . . and our departure hence. . . It is a subject we ought to study more than any other. . . Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that was ever written on the subject.” Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Period I, vol. 6, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9 October, 1843), 50.

The Doctrine and Covenants also counsels us to learn more. We are to study “of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass.” (D&C 88:79).

Studying near-death experiences can bless us with a better understanding of this life and increase our knowledge of the life to come. By reading about those who actually entered the spirit world and saw conditions there, we can benefit from the insights they gained and use that information to reevaluate our lives and use our time on earth productively.

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Giveaway Details
1 copy of Gaze Into Heaven
Open to US only
Ends 3/22/13

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