It’s with utmost delight that I introduce Brenda to you today! She’s an author dear to my heart for many reasons, but I’ll name a few: our debut novels got published in the same month; our blog tours were running concurrently; we appeared on each others blogs during the tours; we both write outside of the “traditional” box as far as regular Christian fiction is concerned; our debut stories are similar in many ways (I would mention how, but then they’d be too many spoilers); etc.
Anyway, I reviewed Brenda’s debut book two days ago; you can read the review here. It’s a lovely book which I think everyone should read. I was blown away by it. And, now, I have the honor of hosting Brenda in an interview today. Please join us in our little chat below and share the fun!
Miranda: Hello Brenda! It’s wonderful to have you visit To Be A Person today! Please tell us a little about yourself.
Brenda: Hi Miranda! Thank you so much for welcoming me to your beautiful site! I’m a Minnesota farm girl—growing up on the farm was the perfect place to grow my imagination. I always had stories running through my head and loved writing them down. It wasn’t until I was 40+ though, that I became serious about writing. That’s when I penned my first novel, Chain of Mercy.
I’m blessed to have a husband (of 27 years!) and three children (ages 22, 20, & 18) who support this journey 100%. But our cat doesn’t seem to care. 😉 When not writing I love music, baseball, roller coasters, Marvel movies, and spending time with my family.
Miranda: Would be delighted to learn how you became a Christian. Could you please tell us the story?
Brenda: Honestly, I don’t have a fantastic story, no epiphanal moment to share. I’ve been a believer for as long as I can remember, and have always longed to be closer to God. One thing I learned from this writing journey, though, is that when I stopped hiding the gift He gave me and started using it, it broke a barrier that had existed between us.
Miranda: Your journey into publishing hasn’t been an easy one. First, you were traditionally published. Now you’ve decided to go indie. Is there a story behind your decision?
Brenda: No, it certainly hasn’t been easy! I guess that builds character, right? My first novel, Chain of Mercy, was published with a traditional publisher in April of 2014 and the remaining three books were contracted with the publisher with the second scheduled to release in September of 2014. Unfortunately, during the summer, my publisher struggled and my book publication kept getting pushed back. My publisher then contacted me and gave me the option of staying with them or going indie. If I stayed with them, they couldn’t promise release dates for the next three. But if I left, they promised to create the covers for me anyway. With some thought and prayer, I chose to go indie and learned the process very quickly.
Miranda: With all that has happened in your publishing journey, how has it strengthened your faith and drawn you closer to God?
Brenda: I’m a very independent person who likes to be in control. In this writing journey, there’s little I’ve had control over, so I have no choice but to lean on God. Actually, that’s the very lesson my heroine learns in Pieces of Granite.
Miranda: You’ve shown interest in film (a few times) on your blog. Are you hoping/working to have your book(s) adapted into screenplay, and, do you plan to be part of the film industry in some way in the future?
Brenda: Who wouldn’t love to see their book on film?! That would be a dream come true! As for pursuing that venue, it’s not something I’ve considered at this time. But, if something comes my way, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab onto it!
Miranda: In what way do you believe the Christian publishing and film industry can work hand-in-hand in growing each other and advancing the gospel?
Brenda: I think both areas have room for growth quality-wise, particularly the Christian film industry. While I’ve enjoyed Christian-marketed films, many of them are very preachy, and, unfortunately, many have yet to learn basic storytelling. But, they are improving. For the Christian movie scene to get any traction beyond the Christian viewer, it needs to produce quality.
It would be fun to see some of the modern-day Christian fiction greats put to film, e.g. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti and Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, and produced by an A-List producer. We’ve seen what happens when movies based on books (such as Left Behind) are created by unknowns. Personally, I’d love to see what Steven Spielberg would do with This Present Darkness. Just imagine the reach it would have!
Miranda: As an author who writes outside of the “traditional” box, what is the guiding principle behind your writing? And, what message, generally, do you hope to pass across your readers?
Brenda: Good question, Miranda. I’d probably written several books before I realized what the common thread was, what was guiding my storytelling. I love reading stories that come off as authentic, whose characters seem as real to me as people I know, and that’s what I try to write. But my guiding principle goes even deeper than that. I realized, when looking back at my *heroes* and *heroines*, none of them are typical. I have a hero who killed a teen in a distracted driving accident. Another heroine has a job in collections. Not people we normally call heroes. Yet, just like me, they are children of God, and He loves them in their brokenness, just as much as He loves me in my brokenness. With my stories, He’s showing me the heart that He sees, and hopefully that’s what I show in my stories.
Miranda: What advice would you give to an author who’s just starting out—traditional or indie?
Brenda: To quote Dory from Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming.” If you’re called to write, then “Just keep writing.” God doesn’t promise us publication contracts or big sales, but He does have a purpose for our gifts. We may not even see the results this side of eternity. The key is obedience. If God wants you to write, then write for your audience of one, and trust Him with the results.
THIS OR THAT (The Fun Questions!)
Breakfast or Dinner? How about breakfast at dinner time? Honestly, I could eat breakfast-type meals for every meal.
Flats or Heels? Flats, definitely.
Spring or Fall? Fall. LOVE the colors!
Coffee or Tea? Neither. Give me water, milk, or pop.
Snow or Rain? I’m a winter person, and do enjoy snow, but there’s nothing more peaceful than a day of rain.
Gym or Outdoor? Outdoors.
Shakes or Juice? Shakes. Preferably chocolate.
Cooking or Cleaning? How about neither? Guess cleaning would eke out cooking.
Music or Magazines? Music.
Vegetables or Fruits? Fruits
Cakes or Bread? Cakes. Again, preferably chocolate!
Thank you, Brenda, for stopping by today!
You’re very welcome, Miranda! Thank you for inviting me!
About Brenda S. Anderson
Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is currently President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball, and she loves watching movies with her family. She resides in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 27 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.
Her debut novel, Chain of Mercy, Book #1 in the Coming Home series, came out in April of 2014, and Pieces of Granite, the prequel to Chain of Mercy and a semi-finalist in the ACFW Genesis Awards, released on November 18, 2014!