Brenda Anderson is joining me today for Coffee with Paula! Thank you, Brenda, I am so pleased to have you join me!
Thank you for welcoming me! I’m thrilled to be on your fabulous book blog!
PM: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to let me and our readers get to know you better! I see you grew up on a dairy farm, and I find that fascinating. I grew up a city girl, well, a small town really, just outside of New York City, so anything to do with farm life is foreign to me! Can you tell me what you loved most about farm life?
BA: I don’t know that I can narrow it down to one thing as the benefits of growing up on a farm were many! We learned the value and love of family, friends, and faith. We learned how to work hard and play hard. It’s the playing hard part my kids are jealous of. We had a sledding hill right across the road from our house. We had a pond that was perfect for ice skating and hockey. We had miles of roads for biking. And abundance of lakes for swimming. The hay loft was a perfect place for family games and making forts and giving concerts. And there was so much more! I’m sad that my own children didn’t get that same experience.
PM: Do you write stories more from your own experiences, or do you spend a lot time doing research on the type of characters your creating?
BA: All of my stories have pieces of my own experiences, but most require a good amount of research. My latest release, Place Called Home, was about a young woman who’d lived in an emotional abusive situation. Not having experienced that first hand, I had to do a lot of digging to learn what that looked like, especially on an emotional level.
PM: I enjoy hearing how different authors plan out their books, do you have the entire plot of the story ahead of time, or do you simply sit down in front of the keyboard and let the characters take over and lead you in the direction they are going?
BA: I’m a complete seat-of-the-pantser, though I’ve tried plotting. It never works for me, though it should as I’m an organizer who doesn’t like surprises in my non-fiction life. But being a pantser, I have to tune in to God more. Many days I’ll sit in front of the computer with no clue where I’m going to. I’ll often have a conversation with God, telling him I have no clue what I’m doing, so I need His help, then once I start writing, the story just seems to flow. Once I type The End, the story requires a lot of editing and fattening up, which I enjoy doing.
PM: Out of all your books which would you say was the hardest so far to write, in your opinion and why?
BA: The hardest to write was definitely Planting Hope. That’s the final book in my Where the Heart Is contemporary romance series. Writing romance is not a natural gift—I only wrote the first books because that’s what the market was demanding at that time, and the first in the series, Risking Love, was the first of my books to capture publishing industry attention. Over the span of two – three years, I had several stops and starts on Planting Hope. It was only when I had an opportunity to go on a week-long, writing-only retreat that I was able to push my way through the story. I ended up really liking the book, but it certainly didn’t come easy!
Now I’m back to writing the family drama / women’s fiction stories I have a passion for telling.
PM: I love to know what authors do with their free time when not writing or spending time with family, what are your favorite things to do when not writing or reading?
BA: I love going to movies (Marvel movies are my favorite!) with my family. I love roller coasters and baseball games and hiking along Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior. I love theater and concerts and singing and am blessed to have a gifted daughter who seems to go from one musical production to the next. It’s so much fun watching our children use the gifts God gave them!
PM: As a full-time writer, do you lock yourself away in an office and hang out a “Do not Disturb” sign during your scheduled writing time? Do you prefer total silence, or like to have background music playing while writing?
BA: You nailed it. I lock myself in my office, and I actually have a warning sign on my door. (Not that it helps!) With the exception of nature singing outside my office window, I need silence. No music. No people interruptions.
PM: At my full-time job when we are interviewing for a new employee I always ask them what the last fictional novel is that they have read….so now I will ask you the same thing!
PM: If you could go anywhere in the world you have never been to spend an entire week, where would that be?
BA: I’ve always wanted to go to Israel. Our church has a group that goes every other year, and every time I ask God, “Can I go now?” but so far His answer has been “Wait.” Someday!
PM: How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
BA: A couple of ways:
They can check out my website at BrendaAndersonBooks.com or they can Subscribe to my newsletter which typically goes out once per month: http://brendaandersonbooks.com/subscribe/. For subscribing, they can download a FREE copy of my Coming Home Series short story, Coming Home.
PM: Finally – Coffee or tea? Cream? Sugar?
BA: None of the above! My parents were coffee drinkers, but I never acquired the taste. I don’t care for tea either. But if you serve hot cocoa in the winter or fruit slushies in the summer, I’m perfectly happy.