Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Interview: Brenda S. Anderson, author of Hungry for Home

Today, I'm introducing you to Brenda S. Anderson. She's a dynamic author who is not afraid to tackle tough issues from real life in her fictional story worlds! Brenda is here to talk about her latest book, Hungry for Home.

Here's what the critics are saying about Brenda's book: 
“Hungry for Home is more than a series finale – it is heartfelt, heart-wrenching fiction at its best, exploring relationships and family, love, faith and forgiveness in fresh, life-changing ways. I see myself in these endearing, enduring characters, their weaknesses and struggles and hard-won triumphs. Although worthy as a standalone novel, this finale is best savored beginning with the Coming Home series prequel Pieces of Granite, Chain of Mercy, and Memory Box Secrets. Bravo, Brenda Anderson!” —Laura Frantz, author 

Now some exciting news for you as readers: Brenda will give away one copy of Hungry for Home to the winner of the book giveaway contest hosted here on my blog today! The winner may choose if they want a Kindle or Nook edition of Brenda's book. You can enter this contest by leaving a comment at the end of this blog post telling Brenda what you liked about her interview. The book giveaway contest starts today (Sept. 22) and will end on Oct. 9. You must leave your e-mail address with your comment for Brenda so she can contact you if you win.  We're doing this contest the old-fashoined waythe winner will be selected via a random drawing done by me (Alexis). I will announce the winner here in the comment section of this blog post, on Oct. 1, 2015. 

Enjoy the interview with Brenda! 

*Interview questions from Alexis are in bold, answers from Brenda not in bold...

Alexis: Congratulations on the release of your new book! Tell us about the work that went on behind-the-scenes to make this happen.

Brenda: I did a lot of online research on homeless teens: watching videos, reading testimonies, learning how teens survive and what is being done to help curb the problem. I’ve also toured and volunteered at a new local center for homeless youth.

Why did you call your book, Hungry for Home?

Both words hungry and home have double meanings. For the homeless teen in this story, he is physically hungry and he longs to have a home. For the couple who takes this teen into their home, their hunger is an emotional one, wanting to turn their house into a home. They learn that a home is far more than four walls and a roof over their head.

What was your inspiration for the setting of this story?

The fictional town of Amery, Minnesota is loosely based on a city close to where I live, Anoka, MN. I chose this particular setting because of a) the quaintness of the downtown area, and b) the severe winter weather in the area adds conflict to the story; the weather is an antagonist.

What can you tell us about the book’s plot without giving away the ending?

Hungry for Home is about a homeless teen who mugs a woman, but instead of pressing charges, the woman and her husband take the teen into their home.

You tackle tough, real-life issues in this book: a pregnant teen, a mugging and situations that make the innocent vulnerable. Why did you choose to write this way?

My favorite stories have always been about real-life issues. Even as a teen, the stories I gravitated toward were about runaways, drug and alcohol abuse, and homelessness. So when I write, gritty, real-life stories are what I’m compelled to tell. I love to see how God’s light shines through the darkness, and how He can restore broken people.

Tell us about the “hungry, homeless teen.” What is his name? What was the reason you created this complicated character?

Austin Lang aged out of foster care when he turned eighteen. His life goals are pretty simple: find food and shelter, and protect his younger sister. The idea for Austin came when I read about the staggering number of homeless teens in our county, over seven hundred! Each of those teens are loved by God, each has their own story, and like all people, their stories are complex. Sharing Austin’s story is my way of raising awareness for teen homelessness.

Tell us about your heroine Sheila Peterson-Brooks. Who is she? What does she do for a living? 

Sheila Peterson-Brooks is an executive sales manager for a Minneapolis-based sports distributor. She grew up as the only daughter of an older couple who never showed her love. Once she turned eighteen and was off at college, her parents abandoned her. Seventeen years later her father contacted her wanting to be back in her life. In Hungry for Home, you’ll see her grace toward both parents, in action.

Your book summary says Sheila has a “troubling encounter” with a pregnant teen. What happened? Why was it so “troubling”?

Sheila volunteers at an organization that helps people through unplanned pregnancies. While there, a young, pregnant girl comes in, a foster girl who’s afraid her current foster family will turn her out once they learn of her pregnancy. Sheila’s heart breaks for the young girl and knows she has to do something. Turns out, this girl is the younger sister of the youth who mugs Sheila.

What lesson do you want your readers to learn from reading this story?

To look beyond the façade of the homeless. They are all precious children of God, we just need to see them through His eyes, not our own.

What was the most challenging part of writing Hungry for Home?

The most challenging part was taking a mugger and making him relatable, likable even. It was also a challenge saying goodbye to beloved characters Richard and Sheila Brooks who have been with me through four books.

What is your favorite scene to write in this novel? Explain why.

My favorite scene is one where Sheila is visiting her dying mother in the nursing home. Though her mother never showed her love, Sheila loves her mother by serving her, by giving her a makeover and then washing her feet, all while music from The Messiah is playing in the background. Here, Sheila truly shows a servant’s heart.

What do you hope your readers remember the most about Hungry for Home?
It’s never too late to get involved. Never too late to say “I love you.” Never too late to show a servant’s heart.

Complete this sentence: When I wrote this book, I wanted to raise awareness about teen homelessness because awareness births a willingness to help.

When I wrote this book, I wanted to raise awareness about teen homelessness because awareness births a willingness to help.

Thanks for the interview, Brenda! 
Author bio:
Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), 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 lives in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 28 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.

Readers can learn more about Brenda S. Anderson at www.brendaandersonbooks.com

Book blurb (Hungry for Home):
After a troubling encounter with a pregnant teen, Sheila Peterson-Brooks hurries from the crisis pregnancy center into the frigid Minnesota winter where she is mugged and left for dead. After a frantic search, Richard, her husband, finds her, and the police quickly nab the mugger …

A hungry, homeless teen.
The brother of the pregnant girl Sheila had just counseled.

The girl pleads for her brother, and Sheila and Richard choose not to press charges. Instead, they open their home to the boy, a move that could cost them their possessions, and their hearts.

And, in the process, teach them the true meaning of home.

Connect with Brenda:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Alexis, for welcoming me and for asking those amazing, in-depth questions!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.