Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Fences Left Broken by Kristen Terrette



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?


Click here to get your copy!

 I received a complimentary copy of this book and all opinions given are my own and not an endorsement of all author’s opinions. 

Author Interview 

1. Why did you want to become an author? 


Honestly, I had stories and characters running through my mind that needed to come out!


2. What step of writing this book was the most challenging and why? 


By far the most challenging part of bringing this story to life is all about correctly capturing my biracial main character’s life and understanding of the world around her. I am a literary agent as well, and certainly know the faux pas involved here with a white woman writing a biracial character. I took this very seriously. I had four sensitivity readers give feedback on the book. I interviewed a biracial girl and her biological white mother. (These are good friends of mine, so I could be real, and so could they!) I tried many times to figure out how to write this fascinating story (inspired by true events) that God had planted inside me without making Mia a biracial teen, but I couldn’t do it. So, I just started writing. And I’m very proud of the story. And my feedback from both black and white readers has been wonderful. This is not a white-hero story. This is a forgiveness story.


3. What/Who inspired you to write on the main themes found in the book?



Watching a documentary started it all, revealing the little-known historical facts of the massive role Mississippi landowners played in the Civil Rights Movement and Freedom Summer. In the 1930s, sharecroppers became some of the first black landowners under Roosevelt’s New Deal and became essential to the civil rights movement. The documentary is called Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi (https/ As I watched it, I couldn’t help but think, there’s a story here And this thought led me to think about all the families before and after the 30s and 60s this would’ve affected. And so, the story of Mia was born.



4. Which character in your book do you relate to the most?


Probably Chloe. She tries hard to walk strong as a Christian and to notice what’s going on around her. She’s a helper, which is what I try to be. 


5. If you could meet your characters in real life, what would you talk about? 


Basketball. Living in the country. 


6. What did your research process look like for this book? What made you choose the setting/time period for this book? 


After seeing the documentary mentioned above, I outlined the different time periods that the book would “slip” too. I needed the years of these events to work with the generations of people. So, between 15-30 years apart. The New Deal was in the 1930s, which left WWII in the late 30s/early 40s, then Freedom Summer and what became known as Mississippi Burning in the 60s. Then, I scoured the internet about all these events. I purchased and read books, and watched documentaries about these events as well. And, since I LOVE history, I LOVED every minute of researching. 



7. Did you have to step out of your comfort zone to write this book? If so, how? 


Actually, no. I am very comfortable talking about race, racial reconciliation, and social justice. I’m super passionate about these topics. 



8. How did you celebrate when you completed your book? 


I don’t remember, probably just moved right on to the next book! Or maybe moved on straight to writing the dreaded synopsis, lol. 


9. Do you have a favorite drink or snack for when you’re writing? 


Popcorn and Coffee! Always those two things!



10. What message do you hope readers take away from your book? 


That holding bitterness inside is like a festering disease. Release it and forgive!

And, what you see or hear or even think is not always true. 


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!

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.