Finalist Spotlight

Ora Smith

Ora Smith, a genealogist who writes Heritage Fiction, creates fascinating stories about her ancestors based on true events. She loves nothing better than to be whisked off to past eras to meet those whose lives are worth sharing. As an author, artist, mother, and faithful follower of Jesus Christ, Ora blends her understanding and unique skills to create faith inspired stories that she hopes will give others an added testimony of God’s goodness.

Ora Smith on her Whitney Award Finalist novel,

The Pulse of His Soul

What was the inspiration for your Whitney Awards finalist novel?

I was fascinated by a 17th century man who would risk his life for his religious beliefs.

What was the tipping point that turned this novel from “just an idea” to a project you HAD to complete?

Two weeks after I decided to write a book about John Lothropp, M Russell Ballard gave a talk to the Smith family at a reunion and admonished us to learn everything we could about John Lothropp. I took it as more than a coincidence (since I hadn’t told anyone my plans yet) and the Spirit confirmed it. My heart is with telling stories about ancestors and John Lothropp is the ancestor of my husband and children (through Lucy Mack Smith). As I researched, I discovered his wife’s family may very well be my ancestors. I am still doing research to prove it.

 How did this book evolve into the final story? Did it end up the way you thought it would, or did the plot or characters change along the way?

I was surprised that the story took on a more personal, intimate look at John Lothropp as a man, father, and husband and it wasn’t just from the angle of his fame as a person who defied the Church of England.

Who is your favorite secondary character, and why?

John Lothropp’s wife, Hannah (with her father a close second). I’m not sure John could have become the man he was without Hannah. She had strong points of view regarding her religious beliefs and they didn’t always mesh with her husband’s. The Pulse of His Soul is also a story about how love can conquer our differences. She helps John grow and change over the course of the story. (I’ve always believed that behind every great man there’s an even greater woman.)

If your book was made into a movie, which scene would you want to be a background extra in?

I would want to be a person on the dock watching the Griffin ship arrive at America in 1634, welcoming those leaving the country they had loved in order to come to a strange, undeveloped land to worship God how their conscious was telling them to. (I’d like that in real life too.)