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Writers Talking with Brenda Stanley @myauthorlife

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Brenda Stanley is a former television news anchor and investigative reporter for the NBC affiliate in Eastern Idaho.  She has been recognized for her writing by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Hearst Journalism Awards, The Idaho Press Club and the Society for Professional Journalists. She is a graduate of Dixie College in St. George, Utah and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She is the mother of 5 children, including two sets of twins.  Brenda and her husband Dave, a veterinarian, live on a small ranch near the Snake River with their horses and dogs.

What is something unique/quirky about you?

Most people are surprised to learn that I’m the mother of two sets of twins and that they were born twenty months apart- which means I had four children under the age of two. I have an older daughter as well and had all five children before I turned twenty-five. It was a pretty chaotic time, but for most of their lives they were very close and they are very good friends now.


How to find time to write as a parent?

When my children were still at home, I would get up at 5 a.m. and write for an hour before I had to get ready for work. It was often frustrating because I would really get in the groove of my story and then my timer would go off and it would be time to shut my computer down and bring my thoughts back to reality. Now that I have an empty nest and no longer “work”, I never take my writing time for granted!


What is your favorite part of this book and why?

What I love about this book is that so much of it is real.  It’s a novel and the story is fiction, but the research I did was intense. It took me three years to write this book because I was so determined to get it right. I wanted the history, the clothing, the weather, and the topography, to be correct, but also the issues.  What these women were dealing with regarding this sect really happened, and are still happening. I enjoyed giving my characters real-life challenges and also the traits to rise above them.


Do you see writing as a career?

I’ve been a television news anchor and investigative reporter for over twenty-five years and recently retired to write novels full-time. I’ve been a newspaper columnist, a radio reporter, a recipe blogger, and a cooking show host. I’ve always been a writer in one form or another.  I wrote my first novel when I was seventeen years old, so I don’t ever remember not being a writer. I feel I’ve been so fortunate that I was able to use that as a career.


What makes a good story?

Nothing makes me happier than when someone tells me they couldn’t put my novel down. I love it when I can’t stop reading a book because the story is so enthralling that I have to know what’s going to happen next. I want my stories to grab my readers and hold them. I also love to leave my readers with a sense of “I didn’t see that coming”. It’s all part of my desire to thrill and give a sense of mystery and suspense. I’m smiling while I’m writing this.


What is your writing Kryptonite?

I have a necklace that has an antique typewriter “W” key pendant.  My maiden name is “Wadman” and my mother gave it to me when my first novel was published. I wrote it decades ago on legal pads (longhand) and later on a manual typewriter. When I wear that necklace, it simply brings me back to why I love what I do. I love telling stories and I love people enjoying them.


Can you share your favorite quote or an excerpt from your new book with my readers?

Here’s a little tease:

It was done. I was now the wife of the prophet and had secured my place on the compound and in heaven. I would be with my mother again and secure that my children would be cared for, even if I wasn’t around. These women would accept them as their own and I would never have to be alone, hungry, or without a place to call home. My marriage to Uncle Deon made everything in my world secure and stable. It was right and it was good. That is what I kept repeating in my head like a mantra.

The humble, gracious demeanor Uncle Deon had always shown changed with our vows. His eyes were on me every time I looked over at my new husband. I didn’t know how to respond, so I looked away and tried to push the vision of his lewd stare from my mind. I was his now and I knew what that meant, but I hadn’t processed the reality until that moment.

As the rest of the members of the Kingdom of Glory filed into the chapel to share in our joy, I tried to smile and accept their kind words and blessings, but I knew as the time grew closer to the hour we would leave the gathering and I would have to face him alone and naked in so many ways. I was aware of my role to bear children and grow our family, but along with my fears of what that meant in our bedroom, I also feared that my secret would be exposed and he would come to realize that I was already with child.

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The Treasure of Cedar Creek

Brenda Stanley
Historical Thriller
In 1896, the isolated and vast state of Idaho is a haven for the
polygamous splinter group called The Kingdom of Glory, which is
hiding more than their outlawed practice of plural marriage.
At the compound called Cedar Creek, the prophet is hoping to increase
his congregation, even if that means marrying off girls to men
decades older. When Peri, who escaped the compound years earlier,
returns to help rescue Grace, a girl betrothed to the prophet
himself, she ends up also saving her own sister Emma. As the three
women make a frantic and deadly escape from the compound, they take
with them both the newborn heir to the church, and their dead
mother’s cryptic journal to the prophet’s hidden treasure. Along
their journey, the women realize to truly be free they must face what
holds them captive, even if those answers are more horrifying than
they ever imagined.

My Thoughts on the Book

This book provided an interesting glimpse into the polygamous life from the perspective of three strong female characters.  The women, really more like girls, are faced with life-changing challenges and fight together to overcome them.  If you like strong female characters, wonderfully descriptive writing set in a beautiful but rugged historical landscape than you will enjoy this book.


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