BCC Press Grows a Foot or Two

The Legend of Hermana Plunge, by Angela Liscom Clayton. (Paperback: $12.95) (Kindle: $7.99)
Bruder, by Roger Terry (Paperback $12.95) (Kindle: $7.99)

When the Universe talks, we try to listen. And the Universe has been trying to get us to publish an MMM (Mormon Mission Memoir) for quite some time. The conversation usually goes something like this:

THE UNIVERSE: PUBLISH A MISSIONARY MEMOIR!

BCC PRESS: Ah, Universe, we’d like to, but, well it’s complicated.

THE UNIVERSE: WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

BCC PRESS: Well, we don’t want to publish just one. We would need to publish one from a sister and one from an elder. Male and female, you know. All missions matter.

THE UNIVERSE: OK, PUBLISH TWO MISSION MEMOIRS!

BCC PRESS: Yeah, but its not that simple. Mission memoirs are tricky. We have a really specific market niche–we are thoughtful and willing to ask all kinds of questions, but we are also faithful Mormons (er, members of the, you know. . . .). That’s a tricky balance in something like a mission memoir. We don’t want to publish a rah-rah-isn’t-being-a-missionary-of-the-Lord-great memoir. But we also don’t want to publish an I-got-disillusioned-by-my-missionary-experiences-and-now-I-listen-to-Mormon-Stories-and-drink-beer memoir. And, between the two of them, that’s, like, 99% of the genre. So we’ve got to get two mission memoirs, one from a man and one from a woman, that present the mission experience honestly and acknowledge both the wonderful and the awful things that happen on a mission. And what are the chances of that?

THE UNIVERSE: ANYTHING ELSE?

BCC PRESS: Well, it would be cool if they were both foreign missions and if one of them went to someplace cold and snowy where they speak German, and the other one went to a tropical paradise where they speak Spanish.

THE UNIVERSE: AND. . . .

BCC PRESS: Well, we’d also need awesome art and design to stand out from all the other memoirs. So you would have to talk Christian into designing the best covers ever.

THE UNIVERSE: HOLD MY POSTUM!

So, what the Universe wants, the Universe finds a way to make happen, and BCC Press is beyond proud to present the two best mission memoirs ever published or likely to be published in the future. This is peak mission, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.

First, we present The Legend of Hermana Plunge by BCCs own Angela Liscom Clayton. Hermana Liscom served in the beautiful and sunny Canary Islands in 1989-1990. In a frank and forthright narrative, and with the benefit of almost 30 intervening years, she gives us a peek under the hood of missionary work in a tropical paradise. (Spoiler alert: it isn’t always a paradise). We read about her relationships with her companions, her struggles with other missionaries, her more colorful investigators, and her attempts to manage her love life back home. But we also see examples of the way that faith changes people’s lives, and we watch the naive, rule-governed Sister Liscom transform before our eyes into the teaching-preaching-baptizing machine that her fellow missionaries christened Hermana Plunge.

Our second book, Bruder, is by Roger Terry. (Notice how it uses the German word for Elder in the same way that the other book uses the Spanish name for Sister. That’s the Universe telling us that it made this match itself.) Bruder Terry served in the Hamburg, Germany mission from 1975-77. Forty years later, Roger Terry reflects on the experience and how it created the person that he became. Bruder takes a hard look at what spiritual experiences look like, how the Church is true, and what it means to receive personal revelation. Part novel, part memoir, and part philosophical treatise, all heart. BYU English professor Steven Walker says, “the before-and-after portraits of the mature narrator looking back on Bruder Terry struggling through his missionary traumas and triumphs illuminate profound insights into the practical workings as well as the wonders of the missionary world.” Listen to the man; English professors know things.

So trust the Universe. The Legend of Hermana Plunge and Bruder are the real deal: profound, intelligent, well-written memoirs that put you right on a mission with the authors. You will feel the sun on your face and shudder in the cold Hamburg winter. You will get tired of walking everywhere, and your knuckles will hurt because you are tracting so much. And you will experience, in palpable ways, both the frustrations and the spiritual highs of being on a mission.

So, go buy them, read them, and love them. And, while you are reading and loving them (and we are going to play a whole symphony on our own horns) make sure to check out BCC Press’s other books too–especially our two AML-Award nominees this year: Revolver, by Heidi Naylor, which has been nominated for the Award for Short Fiction collection; and Keira Shae’s How the Light Gets In, which was nominated for the Award in Creative Nonfiction. Just more evidence that BCC Press is awesome and our authors are incredible.




Comments

  1. This is so exciting. Angela is one of my favorite writers, and Roger Terry is the executive editor of BYU Studies. These are good books. Mission memoirs can be tricky because they can be maudlin or unconvincing, but these two are very, very skilled.

  2. Are these available on IBooks?

  3. Hi BCC Press guys, I don’t suppose there’s any news on when we might expect Vol 2 of Steven Peck’s Science the Key to Theology, is there?

  4. Kevin Barney says:

    I just finished Hermana Plunge. I was curious about it because Angela is a friend and she often references her mission experiences, and she’s hella-smart and capable, and I wanted to see the early development of those traits. It’s a great read, and you feel as though you are walking right next to her and are experiencing what she experienced.

    I also bought Bruder. Haven’t had a chance to start that one yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I enjoy the very niche genre of missionary memoir (done well, of course), so I’m looking forward to it.

  5. Will they be available on Kindle? I have a small apartment with limited book space.

  6. That is, will they both become available on Kindle? I see that’s already an option for Bruder.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    Cate, the answer is yes, I bought my copies on Kindle.

  8. Michael Austin says:

    Yes, the link for both the paperbook and the ebook versions of both books is at the top of the post. Sometimes it takes a while for Amazon to link the two on its display pages.

  9. I love mission memoirs, it’s one of the things that drew me to the bloggernacle almost 20 years ago, people talking about their missions in an honest way. I’ll be reading both books. Just one quibble with you saying that you are, “proud to present the two best mission memoirs ever published or likely to be published in the future.” Craig Harline wrote a wonderful missionary memoir several years ago titled “Way Below the Angels,” too wonderful for it to be ignored by praise for these new books.

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    Yes, Craig’s book was great as well.

  11. Michael Austin says:

    KLC, agreed. This was a great book too. Hyperbole is kind of the shtick we use in our book launch press releases. It is supposed to be kind of endearing and gently self-mocking.

  12. Roger writes some great stuff. If it’s anything like this one, which we got permission to rerun at Patheos, it’ll be great. (He reflects on his time as a missionary and an Ensign editor.)
    https://www.patheos.com/resources/additional-resources/2009/10/frau-ruster

  13. Rogers Terry wrote a guest post about Bruder at the Association for Mormon Letters blog. It includes several excerpts from the book.
    http://associationmormonletters.org/blog/2019/02/roger-terry-on-bruder-his-new-missionary-memoir/
    Angela, I hope you can do a guest post about your book as well.

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