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Fences Left Broken Interview and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Fences Left Broken

Author: Kristen Terrette

Genre: YA

Release Date: October 13, 2023

Mia’s father is dead, and her mother has left her in the rural Mississippi Delta town of Marigold with family she’s never known. Her two sets of grandparents are separated not only by a fence dividing their properties, but by skin color and a deep-seated hatred for each other which none of them will discuss.
When Mia learns their mutual hatred concerns a long-ago murder, she and her new friends set out to uncover who was murdered and why. Their search leads them to unspoken secrets and buried tragedies, stretching from the years of the Great Depression to the Freedom Summer Movement of ‘64.
Mia hopes to reconcile her grandparents by finding the truth. But can broken family fences be truly mended in the face of decades of unforgiving hate?


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About the Author

With a background in education and theology, Kristen served as a children’s ministry director and women’s leader for many years before returning to her first love—writing the stories playing out in her head. She dove into the publishing world writing numerous articles, devotionals, and novels in both the Romance and Young Adult genres. After managing an international blog and a publishing house’s social media feed, she found herself as an intern at the esteemed literary agency, Writers House, in the summer of 2022.

This landed her a job with Martin Literary Management where she now takes on author clients of her own. Stories are her thing and authors are her people. When not on her computer writing, editing, or emailing, or with her nose in a book, you can find her getting a little too loud from the sidelines of a kids’ basketball or football game. She’s also a recent transplant to rural Georgia where she thrives on jogging her forty acres terribly, drinking coffee while birdwatching, and daydreaming of new book characters, plotlines, and making her client’s dreams come true (which are her dreams as well).

More from Kristen

All you need is a spark.

When people find out I’m an author or have read one of my books, I’m often asked how I came up with the story. My answer is always the same. They all begin with a spark, a small idea, sometimes even taking root first in a remote corner of my mind, that says, “There’s a story there.” And that one spark lights, then it quadruples, over and over until it ends up a bright and thriving fire.

The spark for Fences Left Broken was a documentary from 2016 called Dirt & Deeds in Mississippi which told of “the largely unknown and pivotal role played (in the Freedom Sumer Movement and the Voting Rights Act) by black landowning families in the deep South who controlled over a million acres in the 1960s.” This documentary was fascinating and linked generations who had no idea just how important they would end up being in a much-needed and changing time in history. Black sharecroppers who benefitted from an agricultural program during Roosevelt’s New Deal became landowners overnight. Skip ahead a few decades, and these same landowners, or their heirs, had the power to force change.

In the sixties, Mississippi law said that if you were a landowner, you could vote, which opened doors for black families. But, also, these black landowners had leverage. Land was king. Land was also collateral. So when Freedom Summer came along and the wave of black Southerners tried to register to vote, these black landowners had a unique advantage.

Blacks and whites who were volunteering for the Freedom Summer Movement were arrested, often on bogus charges like disrupting the peace and put in jail. But guess what? Black landowners put their land titles up as collateral and got these people out on bond.

Even crazier, out of the hundreds of arrests and bail bonds issued that summer, not ONE failed to follow through and appear in court. Not ONE person charged with a bogus crime was found in default, their bail revoked, and the bond kept. This means not ONE black family who put their land up as collateral lost it.

Historians have gone so far as to say the success of Freedom Summer and the result of the Voting Rights Act wouldn’t have been possible without these families risking it all for the sake of justice and equality.

This documentary was my spark. I got to thinking about these families. They were real people, now generations of people, living in these intertwined communities. What would this have looked like through the years? What became of these families? Where are they now?

And the rabbit trail of my mind began. That spark ignited, and I followed it, outlining potential events that could have happened to families in Mississippi before and after the 1960s, and it all led to my main character, Mia. And Fences Left Broken was born.

I hope you enjoyed learning some little-known history, and a little tidbit of my writing inspiration. And I hope you are curious to find out more about Mia’s story!

Interview with the Author

  1. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I’ve had tons of times over the years where impatience and self-doubt set in. I put away my manuscripts many times, claiming I was done with writing. The pain of rejection was more than I could take. But every time, God called me back. I kept asking Him, why give me these stories if You aren’t going to use them? And somehow, someway, I couldn’t deny Him, and I found myself back at my computer, typing away. Though publishing and writing is still a hard and slow career, full of rejection and waiting, I’m glad I’ve stuck it out so far.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Goodness, this is a hard question. I’m going to go with a nonfiction book… In my master’s program, I had to read many great books, but one really impacted me, and I still think of it often. However, I have never met anyone else who has ever read it. It’s called The Unexpected Journey: Conversations with People Who Turned from Other Beliefs to Jesus by Thom S. Ranier (Zondervan 2009).

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

In my Moanna Island series (Romance), my character names were chosen based off their meanings, which play a role in the stories. For Fences Left Broken, and my other YA novels, their names had more to do with differentiating names. There are a LOT of characters in my YA, mostly because they are timeslips, so we are introduced to many characters, and they each need distinctive names so readers can follow along more easily. I use the alphabet, making sure my character’s names start with a different first letter. That’s hard! I’ve used the whole alphabet a few times I think.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

I’d say the hardest scene in Fences Left Broken was the climactic scene at the end. I can’t give away what happens, but it involves a lot of characters with a lot of different opinions who all want to say something. Making sure every character had their moment was tough to organize and pull off as a writer.

  1. What is your favorite childhood book?

Um… The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. But I also loved Matilda, Anne of Green Gables, and works by R.L. Stine.

  1. If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Not stop writing! I went years during college and my young adult life where I put my dream and love of writing aside, and never used my creativity in that way. Years later, when the desire was so strong that I had to begin writing again, I had a lot to learn! I think if I had stuck with it, I would have been a lot further in my writing journey at a younger age. But God’s timing is always right, so I rest in that.

  1. What comes first, the plot or characters?


  1. Who is the author you most admire in your genre?

I’m going to say Court Stevens. She writes YA that is clean and even edgy but does so with grace and a Christian worldview.

  1. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I love to jog and hike my property. I love to read, obviously! And I actually enjoy editing my client’s projects too.

  1. If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?

Oh my… this is hard to decide, but I’m going to say my great-grandfather, and whom my son is named after, James Beaty. I never met him, but his godly, patriarchal legacy far outlived him. I’d love to pick his brain and listen to his stories. He was a fascinating man. I would likely serve a roast, veggies, potatoes, and bread, trying to mimic my great-grandmother’s amazing cooking skills!

Blog Stops

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 8 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, March 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 9

Artistic Nobody, March 10 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, March 11

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 12 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 13

A Reader’s Brain, March 14 (Author Interview)

The Lofty Pages, March 15

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 16 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, March 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 18 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 19

Guild Master, March 20 (Author Interview)

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, March 20

Fiction Book Lover, March 21 (Author Interview)


To celebrate her tour, Kristen is giving away the grand prize package of a $75 dollar Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.