I have the enormous pleasure of introducing you all to Varina Denman this week! She’s the author of the wonderful MENDED HEARTS series, the stories of three women living in small town West Texas and dealing with life, joy, pain and love. Varina’s newest book (and third in this series), JILTED, has just been published. On Friday, I’ll be sharing both my thoughts about this book…as well as the opportunity for you to win a copy of JILTED, courtesy of Varina!
Today, Varina has been kind enough to answer some fun questions about herself and her writing career. You’ll love getting to know her better, just as I have. Enjoy!
So, Varina…your third book, JILTED, has just been published! What’s it like to be
a published author?
It seems like a dream, and I keep waiting to wake up. Or maybe someone will suddenly say, “Oh! You’re Varina Denman? This is a mistake.” But other than that …it feels GREAT.
How did you embark on this writing life?
It’s funny, but I never intended to become a writer. I studied computer science and mathematics in college, but then I took a break to stay home with my kids. During all the late night feedings, I had plenty of time for reading, and I consumed novel after novel. It was then that I began to wonder if I might be able to write, but it was still years before I tried it.
In 2012, I attended a writer’s conference that was hosted by the American Christian Fiction Writers. Since it was my first conference, I was nervous, and much of the weekend was spent seeking out other clueless newbies so we could
boost each other’s spirits. The registration packet included two 15 minute meetings with literary agents. I was TERRIFIED of these appointments, but I made it through them without embarrassing myself too much. Neither of the
agents offered to represent my work, but they gave me pointers and encouragement. After that, I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the events.
At lunch the next day, I noticed a girl sitting alone at a table, and I sat down next to her and struck up a conversation. We talked about our children, our hometowns, the conference in general, and then I asked, “What do you write?”
You can imagine my shock when she said she was an agent. I stumbled over the rest of our conversation, but at the end of the meal, she asked to see my proposal, and a week later, she called and offered me representation.
I am SO THANKFUL I didn’t know who she was, or I might never have sat down next to her. We’ve had a marvelous relationship since then. During the year following that conference, she encouraged me as I worked on my manuscript, and the next year, my debut novel, Jaded, won the ACFW Genesis Award. My career was off the ground … all because I struck-up a conversation with a girl I didn’t know.
What does a “day in the life” of Varina Denman look like?
Typically, my alarm goes off at 5:00. I start my day with a fruit smoothie and Bible reading, then I jump into my writing. If all goes well, I’ll draft a chapter in the morning, then take a break to exercise. Next I’ll work on blog posts or marketing until lunch. In the afternoons, I help my teenagers with their homeschool assignments (during the school year), and try to do a little housework. After dinner, I read a book or watch a movie. I love a routine, so I’m happiest when I barely deviate from this schedule.
A key element I’ve noticed in your books is that what others see (and conclude) about us is not always true about the persons we really are. I love this, it’s so true! Did this just “happen” as you wrote, or is this a theme you’ve thought on for awhile?
I was such a newbie when I started writing the Mended Hearts series, that it definitely just “happened” as I wrote. But by the time I got to Jilted, I was more aware of the recurring theme, and I began to work with it. Now it’s almost a given
that this theme will at least be brushed on in all my books. In my current work-in-progress it’s a major key point once again.
I like the way that you shift POV from first person, with Lynda, to third person, in Clyde. How did you decide to tell JILTED in this way?
So much of Jilted evolved through the writing of the series. Decisions I made way back with Jaded and Justified trickled down into the pages of Jilted, and that is true about the POV as well. When I first started writing, I didn’t know much about point of view, and I didn’t know I was sort of breaking the rules. I wrote and re-wrote, trying the perspectives differently, but it always sounded better with the heroine in 1st person and the hero in 3rd . I’m continuing that trend with at least one more book.
JILTED concludes the story arc for three women in the West Texas town of Trapp, in
your Mended Hearts series. What’s next for you as an author?
Right now I’m working on a stand alone novel,also set in Texas. Unlike the Mended Hearts series, which is set in the Lubbock area, the new story will happen a farther north, just on the edge of Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo.
And last but not least…how does it feel to walk into a bookstore and see your books on the shelf?
Amazing! I actually hadn’t done that until last week, and I found all three books side-by- side on the shelf. I wanted to squeal, but I was too embarrassed.
Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. Her award-winning Mended Hearts series, which revolves around church hurt, is a compelling blend of women’s fiction and inspirational romance. A native Texan, Varina lives near Fort Worth with her husband and five
mostly grown children. Connect with Varina on her website or one of the social media hangouts below.
A little about Jilted:
A heartbroken woman desires to move beyond old memories, but will her past give way to hope?
Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life in which the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.
Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, of a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and of a town that must—once and for all-leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.
Be sure to join us again on Friday for more about JILTED, and for your chance to win a copy for your very own in our book giveaway! And be sure to visit Varina Denman at her social media sites!