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We talked a little bit about “skoolies” this past spring with Brenda Anderson when her book Long Way Home released. (You can find that conversation here.) I’m happy to have her back again today, bringing her skoolie driver with her! Place Called Home is a sequel to Long Way Home and the eleventh book in The Potter’s House Books collection, but each story is designed to stand alone. Before we visit with Brenda about this newest addition, let’s take a peek at the back cover.
All she wants is a settled place to call home.
He can’t wait to make home a life-long road trip.
All Tessa Chanson ever wanted was a stable place to call home. She thought she’d found that when she moved in with Jared–until his home became her prison. When his control escalates, the only answer is to escape–an escape that’s hampered when she falls and fractures her ankle.
While building his graphic design company, Nate Brooks is focused on the future he’s dreamed of: traveling around the country from the comfort of his renovated school bus. But when he picks up a wounded, mysterious hitchhiker, those well-laid plans take a backseat to protecting her.
Hobbled by her injury, Tessa fears she’ll never find freedom. Or has she found it with the family who graciously opens their home to her? And will Nate’s protection put his family–and his heart–at risk?
Welcome back, Brenda! What inspired you to write Place Called Home?
The idea for this novel came from someone close to me who had been in a controlling relationship. I saw up close what it did to her, and the best way I know to speak to others about broken relationships is through story. Tessa’s story is not at all like my friend’s, but when my friend read Place Called Home, she could definitely relate to Tessa. Hopefully, readers will find healing in this book, and will learn that the only Savior is Jesus.
It might also help those who haven’t experienced a relationship like that better understand someone who is going through something similar, and to understand what they might be dealing with even though everything looks “okay” from the outside. Do you have a favorite character from this story? Why is this character your favorite?
Oh boy, how to choose! I guess I’ll go with Nate Brooks, the hero, because he’s someone who’s grown up in my books. My readers first met him in my debut, Chain of Mercy, and he was in all my Coming Home series novels, starting as a young teen and up to a college student. He always seemed to have issues. But now he’s out of college and has life aspirations, and he’s got a really big soft spot for the homeless. (I didn’t see that coming several books ago!) I’ve loved watching him mature!
As a reader, it’s been fun watching him mature, too! Who is your favorite secondary character in this latest novel, and do you think you’ll include that character in a future story?
Werner Brandt is the all-important wise voice in this story. He’s the owner of Brandt’s Burgers, Brats, & Beer where Nate gets free food and has a free use of a booth (as his office). Werner used to be an abusive husband, and because of that, he lost his wife and his children, but because Nate listened to his story, Werner changed. He became a believer and now gets supervised visitation with his children, which is more than he believes he deserves. So now, Werner has become the listener and offers Nate (and other patrons) wisdom.
How often God uses those tough life experiences to teach us and grow us in such a way that we’re able to use that lesson to help someone else! Did you have a favorite story/book as a child? Why was it a favorite?
I had so many favorites as a child! I remember scouring our school library for Pippi Longstocking books, and the next Betsy-Tacy story. My favorite books, though, had to be the Trixie Belden series. While I read Nancy Drew, I never related to her. Everything about her and her life was too perfect, where Trixie was flawed and very relatable. She was always getting into trouble, much of her own making. She wasn’t a beauty queen. She fought with her brothers. Yet, she was intelligent and caring. To me, she came across as very real.
When I write, I try to appeal to my audience in the same way. I want the characters to be lifelike. They’re going to make mistakes and not always get along with everyone. They’re going to have selfish and selfless moments. I want readers to be able to see a bit of themselves in the characters.
Perfect characters seem to create unrealistic expectations. I think that’s why I enjoy your “real” characters so much. 🙂 Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
Right now, I’m still in the not-so-fun marketing stage for Place Called Home. Most authors will tell you that marketing is not in their gift basket, and I agree. But soon I’m going to begin work on my third book in The Potter’s House Books series, Home Another Way. This story is about a newly-engaged young man who learns that his mom is getting out of prison, and she wants to come live with him. It’s going to be a story about how to properly honor our parents and leaders. I have a feeling I’m going to grow a whole bunch during the writing of this book!
That can be such a tough issue sometimes. Kudos to you for tackling it! Which authors have had the most impact on your writing?
I’m very blessed to have become friends with so many authors on this writing journey. My early critique partners were (and still are) Shannon Taylor Vannatter and Lorna Seilstad. We learned so much from each other, even though the three of us write in different genres. Now, I’m blessed to call them friend.
The author who keeps me from quitting—pulling me back from the cliff!—is Stacy Monson. We write similar type of stories, and have traveled parallel publication journeys, so we get each other. It’s really nice to have that one person who completely understands your career!
I love the community of Christian fiction writers, and the encouragement I hear so often within that community! Thanks for taking the time to share with us today, Brenda!
Your turn! Sometimes Christian fiction encourages us as we see characters deal with reality. Place Called Home deals with an abusive relationship — a real-life, tough subject. Are there other tough subjects you’d like to see characters face in a Christian book?
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, 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:
Place Called Home Giveaway:
Brenda has generously offered to give away a paperback copy of Place Called Home. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.