‘THE BACHELOR FARMERS’ grabs you and refuses to let you go!
“[A] beautifully written love story that grabs you at the beginning and refuses to let go… Along with Stephen King, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell and Ed Mcbain, just to name a few, Brenda Sorrels is one of my favorite authors. Oh how I wish I could see this story on a big screen!” (Linda K. Jackson, Amazon Review Excerpt)
Welcome, Brenda Sorrels. It’s great to have you with us today at 4writersandreaders. We’d love to find out more about you and your writing. First of all, tell us a little about yourself and your life in general.
I grew up in Fargo, North Dakota then headed east for college. After graduating from Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, I worked in NYC as an editor for Mademoiselle Magazine. I moved to Wilton, Connecticut with my first husband and lived there most of my adult life. My first husband died suddenly at a young age, and I decided Los Angeles would be a great place to start anew. I ended up working for the Fox Broadcasting Company in National Media, where we promoted the shows that ran on the Fox Network. Movies and storytelling is what LA is all about, and it was here that my interest in writing really began to take shape. For the next five years, I took countless classes through the UCLA Extension program on storytelling, character development, script analysis, etc. However, I missed the change of seasons, my house, the beauty of Connecticut and eventually moved back East.
Can you tell us a little about your family?
Eventually, I married Barry Sorrels, my college boyfriend (he went to Columbia University in NYC) and moved to Texas. I live in Dallas now with my husband and small dog, Charlotte. I have two step-daughters who are grown but are a big part of my life. I like to return to Wilton to write, especially over the summer months when it’s too hot in Texas.
How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you usually do?
I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t get serious about writing fiction until around eight or nine years ago when I wrote my first novel. I took it with me to several workshops and kept working it, but one day I slipped it into my desk drawer and wrote a short story that was ironically, set in the Midwest. I showed it to a literary friend who encouraged me, and I kept going from there. Short stories were a great way to hone my skills and become a better writer. After several short stories, I decided to develop one of them into a novel which became The Bachelor Farmers.
Can you give us a brief synopsis of your book and a few of its highlights?
The Bachelor Farmers is a lyrical and moving love story set in northern Minnesota in the winter of 1919. It tells a story of two Norwegian brothers who learn the meaning of love from a most unlikely source.
Hans and Jon, the youngest of four immigrant brothers, have just inherited land from their recently deceased father and set out to develop it, thus perpetuating the family dream of success in America. When Jon learns that the husband of Mahal, a beautiful half-breed Ojibwa woman, was injured on their property and cannot work, he hires her as their personal cook.
Under the eye of his disapproving brother, Jon finds himself falling in love, but when a terrible blizzard blows into town without warning, the three of them must deal with the consequences and make decisions that will ultimately reshape their lives in profound and unimaginable ways.
What prompted you to become a writer, Brenda?
I think it was the sheer urge to tells these stories that are running around in my head! At this point in time it’s hard for me to imagine writer’s block because I have so many ideas on what I’d like to write. For me it was a strong feeling—so powerful, that I couldn’t help myself. I just started getting things down on paper and reworking them again and again … and again!
Do you have a favorite line from THE BACHELOR FARMERS?
If I had to pick one line it would be in the prologue where the family patriarch, old man Gustafson, is on his death-bed struggling to find the strength to impart to his sons one last bit of wisdom. He says:
“I have divided the land among you, so that you may not only live, but also thrive. Remember though, you can only live with the land. To thrive, you must love. Love is the most important thing, more important than the land.”
Who is your favorite character from your novel and why?
I would have to say my favorite is, Mahal. She is a complicated character who has not been dealt an easy lot in life. Born from the union of a French trader and an Ojibwa woman, Mahal is a half-breed, torn between the Native American traditions of the Ojibwa and the world of the white settlers. Losing her mother at a tender age she is married off to a man who roughs her up from time-to-time. She falls into that category of women who can’t seem to leave their abusive relationships. When circumstances land her in the Gustafson home, with both brothers vying for her affection, she has the power to choose. Ultimately, she goes back to her husband, though she does not love him. Mahal wants to follow her heart, but the forces of her existence and her past overpower her. She cannot escape.
What was the hardest part about writing your book?
The most difficult part was the ending. I had a couple of different endings that really didn’t work. I kept asking myself “what would happen next, what would they do?” There is a culmination of pent-up emotion at the end between Jon and Hans on the mountain ride with the horses. It seemed natural that after Jon’s discovery of Nathaniel, when the truth could no longer be denied, he would be exploding with an array of feelings. What happens is spontaneous… it can’t be helped.
Do you do anything besides write?
I am writing full-time now…. I love to travel, especially to historic places where there is always a good story to be heard. I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books. It’s heaven!
Sounds like the perfect place to be, Brenda. How can my readers get a copy of your book?
What’s next for author Brenda Sorrels?
I am currently in the final stages of my new book, The Way Back ’Round. It’s the story of family and friendship—of a young boy named, Jake, who makes an innocent, but terrible choice that haunts him for life. Jake must deal with the consequences of his decision and find his way back to the family that he loves. You can read more about it on my website at: www.brendasorrels.com
Thanks for joining us today, Brenda. I’ve just finished reading THE BACHELOR FARMERS. I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend your novel to all of my readers, especially those who love historical fiction. Now, I can hardly wait to get my copy of THE WAY BACK ‘ROUND. It’s been a delight having you visit us at www.4writersandreaders. I’ll be following you along the Tour! ~ Bette A. Stevens
THE BACHELOR FARMERS Book Blog Tour continues… To find out more about Brenda Sorrels, her life, her writing and more, follow the tour with us:
TOUR SCHEDULE13th Lightning Book Promotions blog (spotlight)14th Bette @ 4writersandreaders (interview)15th Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my!16th Cara @ Peace, Love, Books17th Anita @ Anita Books18th Patricia Ch @ The First link19th Khamneithang @ huithiang19th Allizabeth @ The Paperbook Pursuer20th Susan @ My Cozie Corner21st Patricia @ It’s Time To Read Mamaw22nd Drennan @ Speaking of Books