Inspired by the gritty stories that fill our daily lives, Coon Rapids resident and author Brenda S. Anderson likes to write stories with challenging themes. Sometimes, story ideas come straight from headline news and Anderson fashions characters and plot lines to present a new perspective.
Sometimes, the story “was just there,” she said.
Take the story Anderson wrote about a Manhattan businessman who believes he’s committed the unforgiveable sin. The family forgave him for the accident that killed their son, but can he ever forgive himself?
It is that question that Anderson explores in her newly-released debut novel, “Chain of Mercy,” published last month by Winslet Press.
“Christian readers will likely buy the book, but I hope people looking to forgive themselves will find hope there, too,” Anderson said of the story that she said “has always been the story of my heart.”
“The characters have become so familiar. I’ve never experienced what they go through, but I learned so many lessons as I researched each character and developed them. The whole family are like friends,” she said.
On her website (BrendaAndersonBooks.com) Anderson describes her love of the gritty tale.
“I love stories showing messy, broken lives … God’s light shines so brightly when we’re hurting. His redemption is amazingly clear,” she wrote, adding that readers will find that redemption in “Chain of Mercy.”
“Chain of Mercy” is the first in Anderson’s four-book Coming Home Series, for which she has contracted with Winslet Press for publication. A prequel to the series, “Pieces of Granite,” is due out in September, and the other two will be released next year.
While “Chain of Mercy” is Anderson’s first published work, she is not a newcomer to the world of writing.
A full-time stay-at-home mom for 20 years, Anderson wrote when her children were in school, penning six novels during her kids’ growing-up years, among them the four books in the Coming Home Series.
And now, with her youngest child set to graduate high school this spring, the author-mom is set to devote more time to her craft.
And she’s not starting from nothing. In the summer of 2012, Anderson was named a finalist in the Contemporary Romance category of the American Christian Fiction Writers’ competition for unpublished writers.
Today, she serves as president of MN-Nice, the Minnesota chapter of that writers group, whose mission is to encourage Christian fiction writers, develop their skills, educate them in the market, and serve as an advocate in the traditional publishing industry.
“The whole experience has been humbling and fun. It’s been a real blessing,” Anderson said of the journey she’s traveled from writing stories to becoming a published author.
And don’t think she’s finished the final chapter of her writing career. Anderson is currently “pre-writing” a new book, formulating ideas, dreaming up plot lines and getting to know new characters.
“This one is a whole new scenario, new characters, new story. It’s already morphed many times, but I like challenging themes and this one will have one, too,” she said.
And so, Anderson’s pen continues to record gritty tales, shining light in life’s darkest corners.
Sue Austreng is at