Author Stories Podcast Episode 728 | Rene Denfeld Interview
Today’s author interview guest is Rene Denfeld, author of The Butterfly Girl: A Novel.
“A heartbreaking, finger-gnawing, and yet ultimately hopeful novel by the amazing Rene Denfeld.” —Margaret Atwood, via Twitter
After captivating readers in The Child Finder, Naomi—the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children—returns, trading snow-covered woods for dark, gritty streets on the search for her missing sister in a city where young, homeless girls have been going missing and turning up dead.
From the highly praised author of The Child Finder and The Enchanted comes The Butterfly Girl, a riveting novel that ripples with truth, exploring the depths of love and sacrifice in the face of a past that cannot be left dead and buried. A year ago, Naomi, the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children, made a promise that she would not take another case until she finds the younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. All she has is a vague memory of a strawberry field at night, black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life.
The search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where scores of homeless children wander the streets like ghosts, searching for money, food, and companionship. The sharp-eyed investigator soon discovers that young girls have been going missing for months, many later found in the dirty waters of the river. Though she does not want to get involved, Naomi is unable to resist the pull of children in need—and the fear she sees in the eyes of a twelve-year old girl named Celia. Running from an abusive stepfather and an addict mother, Celia has nothing but hope in the butterflies—her guides and guardians on the dangerous streets. She sees them all around her, tiny iridescent wisps of hope that soften the edges of this hard world and illuminate a cherished memory from her childhood—the Butterfly Museum, a place where everything is safe and nothing can hurt her.
As danger creeps closer, Naomi and Celia find echoes of themselves in one another, forcing them each to consider the question: Can you still be lost even when you’ve been found? But will they find the answer too late?
Rene Denfeld is the bestselling author of the acclaimed novels THE CHILD FINDER (2017), THE ENCHANTED (2014), and the forthcoming THE BUTTERFLY GIRL (October 2019) which Margaret Atwood raved on twitter is “a heartbreaking, finger-gnawing, yet ultimately hopeful novel.”
Rene’s novels explore themes of survival, resiliency and redemption. Landing as the #1 fiction bestseller at Powell’s within its first week, The Child Finder became a top #10 bestseller. The Child Finder received much acclaim, including a starred Library Journal review, glowing NYTBR review, and an Indie Next pick.
Rene was the Chief Investigator at a public defender’s office and has worked hundreds of cases helping others. In addition to her advocacy work, Rene has been a foster adoptive parent for twenty years. She was awarded the Break The Silence Award in Washington, DC in 2017 for her social justice work. She was also named a hero of the year by the New York Times.
The child of a difficult history herself, Rene is an accomplished speaker who loves connecting with others. Rene lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is the happy mom of three kids adopted from foster care as well as other foster kids.
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR
Winner of the prestigious French Prix award
#1 Book of the Year, the Oregonian
Finalist for the 2014 Flaherty First Novel Prize
Finalist for the Connecticut Book Prize
Top #5 Books of the Year, Powell’s Books
Indie Next Pick
Amazon Book of the Month
ALA Excellence in Fiction Award
Foyles Best of 2014
Harper Collins Canada #1 Fan Choice
Waterstones Book Club Pick
Longlist for the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
IMPAC longlist International Dublin Literary Award
A New York Times Hero of the Year for her social justice work
Recipient of the National Break The Silence Award