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Have you been seeing the new multi-author series, The Potter’s House? These novellas (which can be read in any order) release every two weeks! I am excited to have Brenda Anderson back again to share her newest release, Long Way Home, which is the fourth The Potter’s House book. Before we visit with Brenda, let’s take a quick peek at the story.
Having overcome the crippling insecurities of childhood bullying, Lauren Bauman is eager to start her new job 1,000 miles away, and road-tripping across the country with her brother Nate and his new friend seems to be the perfect way to celebrate the move. But her confidence is shaken when she meets Nate’s friend–the kid who’d bullied her years before, trapping her in a decade-long shell of self-doubt.
For Jet Wurm, losing his job and getting kicked out of his apartment were the best things that ever happened to him. Thanks to the friend who rescued him, he’s finally shedding the loser label he’d worn for years. Nate even invited him along on a cross-country road trip with his sister, and Jet couldn’t be more excited. But then he meets Lauren, and her fearful reaction tells him they must have met before. Where, he can’t recall, but he has no doubt he’d somehow hurt her–like he’d hurt so many others in his past. And now he’s stuck on a six-day road trip with a woman who obviously deplores him.
Though Jet is clearly not the same person who’d bullied her years before, Lauren still struggles to forgive him. But if she doesn’t find the courage to forgive, will that convince Jet he’s as worthless as he’d always been taught to believe? Or will they learn that real love keeps no record of wrongs?
Welcome back, Brenda! What inspired you to write this series or this novel in particular?
A few months before Christmas, I was invited to join with a group of authors to write stories of “Hope, Redemption, and Second Chances.” All books would be under the umbrella of The Potter’s House Books. As that’s what I typically write, I jumped at the opportunity!
I knew I wanted to share a story that would include characters from a previous series, but which characters to choose was the tough question. I rolled a bunch of ideas around in my head, but the one that kept coming back to me was Lauren Bauman’s story. In my previous series, she was introduced as being very introverted and insecure, but at the beginning of Long Way Home, she’s overcome those insecurities. Or so she thinks. The one thing that could send her back into her shell is a connection with the bully who put her there in the first place. So, I send her on a cross-country road trip with the guy once bullied her.
I’ll share my review on Wednesday, but…that could be a recipe for disaster! Do you have a favorite character from this story? Why is this character your favorite?
Oh, how to choose a favorite! I really like Lauren, and identify with her in many ways, but I love Jet’s transformation during the book. At the beginning of Long Way Home, Jet’s an angry young man who’s recently lost his job and has been kicked out of his apartment. Yet, he doesn’t want to remain angry and fights against it and is doing whatever it takes to overcome his anger. The road trip is definitely an emotional journey of growth for him.
I’d have to agree. I especially liked that he wasn’t just instantly better because he wanted to be, but the change was a struggle. Who is your favorite secondary character in this latest novel, and do you think you’ll include that character in a future story?
For much of the book, only three characters are highlighted: the three who go on the road trip. Lauren and Jet are the main characters, but the driver, Nate, also plays a large part. He’s Lauren’s “sort-of” brother, and they’re riding cross country in his skoolie, a renovated school bus. He’s the one who invites Jet along on the road trip, and he ends up being the buffer between Lauren and Jet.
Nate is also known for picking up “strays.” Young people who are homeless, for one reason or another. In my next Potter’s House Book, Place Called Home, Nate gets his own story when he picks up a stray. What he doesn’t expect is falling for her!
Aha! We’ll have to watch for that one, too! Why did you choose this particular setting, and have you been there?
As the characters in this novel are all in their early twenties, I needed a specific vehicle to transport them across country. It needed to have lots of room for storage and have room for the three young adults to sleep in. When I was considering the options, I ran across information about skoolies—renovated school buses—and I knew I’d found my transportation. It made for a fun setting and was something a young adult could renovate, with help.
I’ve never ridden in a skoolie, but I’ve seen a bunch. Some are really tricked out! It’s amazing what people can do with a school bus!
There are probably some amazing pictures on Pinterest of some of those projects. What do you hope your readers take away from this novel?
God always seems to give me characters that I shouldn’t like. Who likes a bully? Well, God loves them, and He wanted to show me that there’s more to them than what we see on the surface. Bullying is never acceptable, but with God, that person can change, and as 1 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Love…keeps no record of wrongs.”
That’s a tough one, but just as God can change the bully, He can also give the strength to forgive and keep no record. Thanks for taking the time to visit with us today, Brenda!
Your turn! If you were going to go on a road trip in a skoolie this summer, where would you want to go?
More about Brenda:
Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is Past-President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE, the 2016 ACFW Chapter of the Year. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball (Go Twins!), and she loves watching movies with her family. She resides in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 30 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.
You can connect with Brenda online:
Potter’s House Books: http://pottershousebooks.com/
Newsletter: http://BrendaAndersonBooks.com/subscribe/ (free book—Coming Home, a Coming Home series short story—with subscription!)
Long Way Home Giveaway:
Brenda has generously offered to give away (1) autographed paperback copy of Long Way Home to a US resident. If an international reader wins, she will gift a Kindle version of Long Way Home. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.