LDS author uses the past to influence the future in new book

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    By SUZANNE BONNER

    Some people find their inspiration in the present. Others find it digging in the past.

    Chad Daybell lives to roam and write the past. Previously a copy editor for the Standard Examiner in Ogden, Daybell now spends his afternoons as a cemetery sexton.

    Yet, even with the switch in jobs from one focusing on writing to one with very little writing, Daybell continues to write and has recently published his first book, “An Errand for Emma,” which he will be signing copies of Thursday in the BYU Bookstore.

    Daybell has always enjoyed writing and earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from BYU. He also worked at the Daily Universe while attending BYU. So why the switch from journalism to one that involves little writing?

    “I mainly switched jobs because my work at the newspaper was high-demand, high-stress, poor hours and I was deserting my family,” Daybell said.

    Daybell said he worked for Evergreen Cemetery in Springville while attending BYU and enjoyed the part-time job. He then kept his eye on the sexton position and knew when it was rumored to be available.

    High stress and high demand aren’t the only reasons Daybell quit his previous job.

    “When I worked at the newspaper I was in front of a computer all day,” Daybell said. “At the end of the day, I wouldn’t feel like writing.”

    Daybell said his job now is purely physical, so at the end of the day he feels like writing.

    Daybell’s newfound enjoyment has paid off with the publication of “An Errand for Emma.”

    “An Errand for Emma” focuses on the importance of family history and revolves around an 18-year-old girl who is preparing to attend BYU in the fall of 1868. Daybell takes his character back in time among some of Utah County’s early saints in an errand for the Lord.

    “Emma Dalton is energetic and clumsy — your typical 18-year-old girl,” Daybell said. “I modeled her after my 4-year-old daughter.”

    Daybell said although he knew he wanted to write a book, at first he was unsure of the topic.

    “At work I got a prompting that it was time to write ‘my book,’ but I wasn’t sure what to write about,” Daybell said. “Later on that day, the plot just kind of came to me.”

    The book propelled after that and was finished within five months.

    Daybell is now working on two sequels to “An Errand for Emma,” involving the same characters throughout different points in time.

    “The trilogy will represent the three-part mission of our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints): redeeming the dead, preaching the gospel and perfecting the saints,” Daybell said.

    The purpose of the book is designed to encourage younger people to do their family history, Daybell said.

    “I wanted to make family history seem alive, rather than dead,” Daybell said.

    Marilyn Olson, 21, has had the opportunity to read Daybell’s new book.

    “It’s an inspiring book about family history and fun to read,” said Olson, a senior from Sandy majoring in English.

    Other LDS authors who have read Daybell’s book are looking forward to reading more of his work in the future.

    “(Daybell) has a lot of heart and feeling in his story. I believe he’ll go on to write even better ones,” said LDS writer Lee Nelson, author of “The Storm Testaments.”

    Daybell will be signing copies of “An Errand for Emma” Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the BYU Bookstore.

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