Where I Live
by Brenda Rufener
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication date: February 27, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
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Linden Rose has a big secret–she is homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her position as school blog editor, her best friends, Ham and Seung, and the promise of a future far away are what keep Linden under the radar and moving forward.
But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, the damage hits too close to home. Linden begins looking at Bea’s life, and soon her investigation prompts people to pay more attention. And attention is the last thing she needs.
Linden knows the only way to put a stop to the violence is to tell Bea’s story and come to terms with her own painful past. Even if that means breaking her rules for survival and jeopardizing the secrets she’s worked so hard to keep.
From debut author Brenda Rufener comes a heart-wrenching and evocative story perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, Girl in Pieces, and All the Bright Places.
Hi everyone! Today’s special guest for the author spotlight, a segment I’m calling Behind The Pages, is Brenda Rufener!
I have the pleasure of virtually meeting her on Twitter recently and she’s so kind to answer a few questions about her young adult debut novel, Where I Live, a story that will give hope on the topic of poverty and homelessness. Her book will be released next week by HarperTeen.
As you go on reading, you will learn more about Brenda Rufener and her wonderful, uplifting and powerful novel. I know you are excited because I am! So, let’s get behind the book and be inspired!
Before you became a technical writer, how did you discover your passion and realize that you wanted to be an author?
I floundered in college, ended up with a double major in English and biology but I took a creative writing course taught by an incredible professor. He offered just enough encouragement to spark something in me. Thank you, Dr. Linville!
What influenced you to write a story based on topics such as homelessness and poverty?
Linden Rose’s character is partly inspired by an amazing group of young women I spent time with in college. I volunteered with a literacy program and worked with young women facing adverse circumstances and many of them were homeless. These incredible women faced overwhelming adversity with persistence and positivity. How I wished teen-me had known them when I faced similar situations. Their strength and determination was admirable. They were homeless but never hopeless.
What impression do you want readers to have on Linden’s character?
In writing Where I Live, I wanted to explore homelessness without Linden’s crisis as the exclusive focus. Linden is a homeless teen, but like all homeless teens, she’s much more than her circumstance. Linden is navigating high school relationships, bullies, friendships, and a first love. She’s more than her homeless experience and I hope readers see her as the complex, vulnerable, and brave young woman she is.
Remember that your voice matters…There will be many opportunities to quit, but push, dig, and keep moving forward.
Without giving away too much, what is your favorite part of the story that you think made Where I Live both liberating and realistic?
The bond of friendship between Linden, Ham, and Seung (The Triangle). We see Linden’s life is in crisis but she’s more than her struggle. She’s a good student, an aspiring journalist, and a loyal friend. So I felt compelled to give her space, time to relax, and a place to call home when she’s hanging out with her best friends.
Are you currently working on something new at the moment? Can you share a bit about it?
My second YA, Since We Last Spoke, is slated for 2019. It is a story told in dual points of view. You’ll meet Aggi and Max, two teens torn apart by unimaginable pain and guilt over the loss of their siblings. The book delves into the different layers of grief, and the impact tragedy has on two families who once loved each other but now point fingers of blame.
If you could pass on advice to new young writers who want to write the same kind of story you did, what would it be?
Remember that your voice matters. Always, but especially now. Throughout the novel, Linden struggles to find her voice, and as aspiring writers, we struggle with the same. So my advice is to dive into your creative work with your whole heart. There will be many opportunities to quit, but push, dig, and keep moving forward. Let your favorite books inspire you, especially when you feel stuck.
Now that you know more about this amazing debut, I manage to tear Brenda Rufener away for a rapid round of questions, a segment of this author spotlight I’m calling, Quickfire.
A fictional character you fantasies over/ fell in love with?
Ron Weasley and Severus Snape are forever tied.
Kindle, tablet or paperback?
Sparkling water or coffee?
Depends on time of the day.
What would you do on Mars for fun?
Nope! My feet are firmly planted on earth.
Beaches or snow?
What is the most delightful word you can think of?
Which appliance can you not live without?
Keurig. It’s the sad truth.
About The Author:
Brenda Rufener is a technical writer turned novelist who spent her childhood stomping through the woods of Oregon. A double major in English and biology, Brenda graduated from Whitman College, and now lives in North Carolina with her family. She is an advocate for homeless youth.