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‘Write What You Know’ Guides Local Author ‘s Narrative

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Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown is a mom of nine who writes columns for many local and national publications. She currently resides in Payson, and enjoys looking for good happenings in her area and sharing them for others to read about. For more of her stories, search "A Mother's Write" on Facebook.

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“Write what you know.” These were the words thatbrcame to Roger Blomquist’s mind when he began authoring his book series, SouthbrPass that documents early pioneers on their trek toward Utah.

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For nearly his entire life, Blomquist has spentbrtime studying the American Frontier from several perspectives: as a resident,brstudent, teacher, actor, film maker, leather worker, and now, author. 

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“I was born and raised in the Wild West of Utah,brTexas, and the deserts of Southern California,” he said. “In the early 1990’s,brI worked as a horse and buggy driver, giving historic tours around TemplebrSquare in Salt Lake City,” he said. “I found while conducting tours, that I hadbra love for history. Because of this, I decided to go back to school to studybrwestward migration, eventually earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree inbrAmerican Frontier History from BYU, then a PhD from the University ofbrNebraska-Lincoln. I was able to take the knowledge I earned to teach history atbrthe university level.”

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Intermingled with his studies and professionalbrlife as a teacher, Blomqist worked on film and movie sets, creating and playingbrparts in many Latter-day Saint inspired films. One of the films ran intobrbudgeting issues and was left without funds to afford saddles unique to thebrtime period. Blomquist decided to learn the trade, and not only made a saddlebrfor the film, but earned an award for his work.

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Additionally, Blomquist’s activity in the Churchbrof Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints faith drove him to want to learn morebrabout the Mormon pioneers and those living in the area at the time. It also ledbrhim to marrying his wife, becoming a father to her 10-year-old daughter, andbrthen getting sealed in the newly dedicated Nauvoo, Illinois Temple.

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Little did he know, his life would soon changebrdramatically, and his ability to work through unexpected problems would helpbrhim with what lay ahead.

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“After marrying my wife, I became a father to herbr10-year-old daughter, who, in her mid-teens would bring a beautifulbrgranddaughter into our lives,” Blomquist said. “We didn’t know who the fatherbrwas, and my wife’s daughter decided to go on with her life elsewhere, so webrwere able to adopt our granddaughter and raise her.”

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Fueled with the desire to show love to hisbrgranddaughter in the wake of what had started out as rough beginnings,brBlomquist turned to what he knew.

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“To help my granddaughter with many of thebrquestions she would face during this life, I decided that I would write a bookbrfor her,” he said. “I wanted a story that included my testimony of the Gospelbras well as life lessons. I know so much about Utah history, and the strugglesbrthe people faced during their journey westward, and I thought this would be thebrperfect setting for a story for my granddaughter to help her through herbrstruggles. I hoped that the story and lessons written in the book would perhapsbrserve as an outside individual to help guide her through life.”

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The first book in the South Pass series, SouthbrPass Handcart Journey (Volume 1) is about a young girl named Sara,brwho loses her father while her family moved to the Great Basin to live with thebrSaints. Sara, who is the character Blomquist gave to his granddaughter, findsbrherself pulling handcarts with her siblings and a grieving mother in the firstbrexperimental handcart company across the Mormon Trail.

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South Pass Handcart Journeybr(Volume 1) is one of two published books in the series thatbrBlomquist says he hopes others will learn from, too.

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“There is so much in Utah’s history that manybrdon’t know about,” Blomquist said. “While these books are historical fiction, Ibrhave put so much history in it that I have learned through my own studies as abrstudent and professor, and I’m excited to share these stories with readers.”

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The South Pass Series canbrbe found by going to bqpublishing.com. (Brown is a Serve Dailybrcontributor.)

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