Author Chat with Brenda Rufener (Since We Last Spoke), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Brenda Rufener author of Since We Last Spoke.
Read on for more about Brenda, an interview, plus an giveaway!
Meet Brenda Rufener!
Brenda Rufener is a technical writer turned novelist and the author of WHERE I LIVE, which Bustle named a most anticipated YA contemporary book hitting shelves in 2018 and Jennifer Niven called a “hard-hitting novel filled with hope.” Kirkus Reviews called SINCE WE LAST SPOKE, Brenda’s second young adult novel, “a compelling story about grief told through the voices of two expertly drawn protagonists.” When not writing, Brenda enjoys hiking the woods of North Carolina and spending time with her family. She is an advocate for homeless youth.
Meet Since We Last Spoke!
Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven and Nicola Yoon, this heartbreaking and uplifting novel captures the ups and downs of teen love in the face of unimaginable grief and the rocky journey to healing, peace, and forgiveness. From breakout author Brenda Rufener (Where I Live).
When Aggi Frank and Max Granger finally admitted their feelings for each other last December, it felt like love was beautiful and endless . . . until it wasn’t.
A fatal car accident involving their older siblings throws their lives into sudden chaos. And with a restraining order now in place between the two bitter households, Aggi and Max’s love runs cold. Being together again seems like a distant fantasy, even though they share the same driveway.
Still, Plum Lake is a small town, and staying apart can’t last forever. Aggi and Max eventually reunite at a lake-house party and break the ice after a year of silence.
But just as they begin to rebuild their relationship, the unthinkable happens, leading them to confront each other and their families in the hope of mending the broken pieces.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Love was definitely the inspiration behind Since We Last Spoke. Where that came from could be a number of places, as I am so grateful for the people I get to share this life with. But during the actual writing process, I lost three of my grandparents. The grief Aggi and Max experience through the story definitely hit close to home.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Though I adore Aggi and Max, I always seem to fall hard and fast for secondary characters. Henry and Umé are my favorites in this book. They are the perfect friends for Aggi and Max. They offer exactly what their best friend needs at the right time, though Aggi and Max may not always agree with what they are being dished. Umé is strong, funny, and a loving friend, while Henry is a soft boy in search of love and acceptance. They are the glue that holds together what’s left of a broken relationship. We all need friends like Henry and Umé.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The first two chapters came right away, followed by the title. Once I nailed Aggi’s and Max’s voices down, I was able to get to know what was inside their hearts. So much was left unsaid, their relationship cut short, and they still had a lot they wanted to convey to each other. To these young lovers it felt like love was endless . . . until it wasn’t. A tragedy ripped them apart, then kept them apart, and they never had the chance to talk.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Don’t be afraid to connect with people in the writing community. Early on in my writing journey, I reached out to some brilliant authors and publishing people I had admired from afar. Sure, I was scared to death, but had I allowed fear to stop me, I wouldn’t have connected with individuals I now call friends. Also, and most importantly, be brave but don’t be an asshole.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I have the most brilliant design team at HarperTeen. Joel Tippie and Helen Crawford-White are true artists. Their ability to capture the essence of this book and showcase it on the cover completely blew me away. Aside from the juxtaposition of color and artistic renderings, I love how the trees surround Aggi’s and Max’s home and the pathway that splits the heart shape in two. Seeing Max on one side of the path and Aggi on the other brought tears to my eyes. Can you tell I am in love with this cover?
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I have two secret projects in the works, and I can’t speak on either. This is the most annoying answer an author can give, right!? Something secret-haha-I can’t tell you. As a hint, though, they are totally different than anything I’ve written. Hope to share more soon!
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
My editor once called me a crack-reviser. It is a process I enjoy much more than drafting. As I write a first draft, I usually tell myself the story, so there is a lot of telling and not showing, and the process is not always painless. It isn’t until that second and third draft (sometimes more) that I feel I have a handle on the story, the characters, their voices and wants. For me, the truth of the story is found during the excavation or revision process.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I’ve been an advocate for homeless youth for years. In fact, my first book, WHERE I LIVE, is a story about a homeless teen secretly living in her high school. Covenant House and True Colors Fund are two organizations close to my heart. Both organizations work tirelessly to help end teen homelessness, especially among LGBTQ+ youth.
Since We Last Spoke
By: Brenda Rufener
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Two winners will each receive a signed copy of Since We Last Spoke (Brenda Rufener) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
The cover art is beautiful and the story sounds like a tragic love story with a possible happy ending... excited to dive into it!
Both the cover and synopsis say something to meabout relationships, cold/warmth, and journeys! Looks perfect for my students who love the bittersweet emotional truths of Jennifer Niven's All the Bright Places or Nicola Yoon's The Sun Is Also a Star. Another release to anticipate for sure!