Today we have the honor of talking with Brenda Anderson. Brenda has written ten books counting her recently released book Long Way Home.
Hi Brenda, tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.
I grew up on a dairy farm about an hour west of Minneapolis, along with six siblings. It was the best place to grow up! While we worked hard, we also played hard. The farm was also a fertile place for imagination as that was where my stories first took root.
What’s your favorite genre to read and write? Who’s your favorite author?
I will read any genre and believe that if a book is well written it can appeal across readership. That said, I definitely gravitate toward contemporary family drama. That’s what I love to read, and it’s what I love to write. I love seeing God at work through messy lives!
What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?
I can’t remember ever not loving books. My parents instilled a love of reading from infancy, not just by reading to us, but by reading for fun themselves. I’ve been writing almost as long. I wrote stories and plays back in grade school and always wanted to write a novel.
Tell us about this book. What did you learn about yourself through writing it?
Long Way Home is the 4th book in The Potter’s House Books series. We’re a group of seven authors sharing stories of Hope, Redemption, and Second Chances. My story is about a woman who gets stuck traveling across country with the man who bullied her as a child. They’ve both changed since then, and they both have a lot to learn. Just as I do. God continually teaches me that behind every broken person is a child that God loves. I have to learn to view life from their perspective. Even the bullies.
Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?
I’m definitely a seat-of-the-pants writer. I’ve attempted following an outline, but the story and my characters never behave. I start with some general ideas and see where the story takes me. Oftentimes, I don’t know where exactly I’m heading until halfway through writing the book. And oftentimes, I have to go back and rewrite much of the beginning because my plans were changed.
Is there a special place you like to write?
I do the majority of writing in my office on my desktop computer. I can close the door, sit properly (as taught back in high school in typing class) at my desk, and write.
What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?
There was a plot twist near the end that I didn’t see coming, and I’m finding the readers didn’t expect it either. That’s always fun. ? My favorite character is Jet. He was the bully, and he’s still working through anger issues. Throughout the story you see him grow and change.
What advice would you give a new author?
Persevere. If you have a passion for writing, don’t let anyone quash it. Don’t believe anyone when they say you can’t. Don’t let the rejection slips have too loud of a voice. That said, it’s also important to keep learning. Go to conferences, take classes, work with critique partners, etc. We can always learn and we can always improve.
What project are you working on now and how do we find your books?
I’m working on my second book for The Potter’s House Books series, Place Called Home. It’s about a young woman who is escaping a life of being controlled and is ‘rescued’ by a young man who longs to help others. But she was ‘rescued’ before and that turned out badly. Will his help also turn into control?