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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Welcome, Denise Hunter

One Woman Sacrificing Everything For Her Career... Paula Landin-Cohen, an investigative reporter, feels like a fish out of water in the small town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Then she's offered her dream job, as a TV reporter in Chicago. There is so much to gain and so much to lose...including the only man she's ever loved.

A Young Girl's Longing for Acceptance...Linn Caldwell has made a lot of mistakes-bad mistakes. She can never forgive herself for all the pain she's caused others. How can she dare to get close to anyone again?

And The Road To Forgiveness... What will happen if Paula and Linn's secrets are revealed? Will the men they love ever be able to forgive them?

Have you ever started a book and thought, ohhh. I can't wait to see how the author resolves this. That was me this weekend. I started this book Friday afternoon. I finished it Saturday afternoon. It was "that" good.

Finding Faith has great characters that you feel like you know. Believable conflict and a touch of romance and suspense. There were even issues in this book that are taboo and though hard to think about, Denise came to a very realistic resolution. There were sad moments along with joyous moments. My emotions were all over the place with this book. I'd highly recommend it. That's why I'm so excited to have fellow Hoosier, Denise Hunter here to talk about her book and herself.

Many of you know her from the Girls Write Out blog she co-writes with writing buddies, Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, and Kristin Billerbeck. If you haven't checked it out, do so soon. Denise Hunter lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons. If you haven't seen her in person, she's a darling, petite woman who appears very shy.

Denise, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be here. Having had the privilege of meeting your family, specifically those darling boys, I know you have plenty to keep you occupied. For that handful of people who don't know you, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

DH: I'm happily married to a business owner, and as you mentioned, I have three boys. I like to read, watch chick flicks (I've watched You've Got Mail dozens of times), and eat dark chocolate. Not very original, but there it is. I play drums on our church's worship team and lead a book discussion group there as well. I started writing 10 years ago and have been very blessed to publish 12 novels/novellas in that time.

Did I read you're from Ohio? How did you meet your husband and end up in Indiana?

DH: Yes, we're actually both from Ohio. We met when he was asked to fill in as music director at the church where I grew up, and the rest is history. It was a bit awkward because he was 21 and I was only 17. We went to a high school play on our first date, and the lady selling tickets says, "One adult and one child?" ACK! It was so humiliating. We married three years later and he got a job in Indiana shortly after that.

Oh Denise...that's too funny.;) I recently listened to an interview you did on WBCL with friends Colleen Coble and Diann Hunt.(go to the mid morning page and search the archives for Author Author to hear this interview)You all were asked to say something about the other two that people might not know. Colleen said you're "girly" (which is hard in a house full of boys) and Diann said she admired you as a wife and mother. That you always put your family first and do what's best for them. That's no little thing. Especially when writing, if you let it, can consume so much time. How do you make time for both a successful writing career and all that goes with raising three boys?

DH: Well, I always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and I'm that, first and foremost. When I started writing, the boys were little and I wrote only during their naptimes. Talk about slow progress! But even if you only write two pages a day, eventually you have a book. My plan was to get a writing career started so that by the time they were all in school, I'd be writing regularly. God has blessed me by granting that dream. I try not to write when the kids are home, though in the summer, that's sometimes impossible. My publishers have been very gracious to give me the time I need.

It sounds like you have your priorities straight. Because ultimately, even if all the career stuff goes away, our family is what's important. So what's a typical day for you?

DH: As boring as it may sound, I'm very much a routine person. After I drop my kids off at school, I come home and do my Bible study then start writing-usually emails . I call it warming up. After I'm done with emails, I read and edit what I wrote the day before, then I write until I've met my quota, which is currently 6 pages. I get up every so often to throw a load of laundry in the washer. My life is so glamorous. When I finish a chapter, I send it to my critique partner, Colleen Coble, and when she sends it back, I make the suggested changes. I'm usually done writing by noon, which gives me time to get housework and errands done before I have to pick up the boys. After that, it's after-school activities, homework, dinner, showers, and the day is gone.

I admire you structured, routine type people.LOL. How many books do you strive for each year? And do you schedule "off" time?

DH: It depends on my deadlines. Right now, I have a book due every 9 months, which is great. Before I sit down to write a novel, I get out my family calendar and mark the days I'm planning to write-usually 5 days a week unless there's a holiday. I don't write on the days my kids are home from school, so I guess those are my "off" days. Everything else, doctor appointments etc, I schedule around my writing time.

Now enough with the pleasantries. LOL. The real reason you're here. This book, Finding Faith, is fabulous. I'm eager to talk about this story. I can honestly say this is one of the best books I've read all year. It amazes me that you're able to come up with such intricate, detailed stories. Colleen has often compared you to Karen Kingsbury. That in itself is such an honor. However, I think you're writing is getting to a point that your style and talent are no longer going to be compared to other writers, more that you're going to be the author that writers hope to be compared to.

DH: Well, that is such a nice thing to say!

There are some deep issues in this book. I know you don't want to give anything away, but tell us about the story and the characters.

DH: Finding Faith is the story of Paula, a Chicago TV news reporter, who has a deep dark secret that if uncovered, could put her marriage in jeopardy. When she covers a "switched at birth" story, her secret threatens to be revealed. Paula is a Type A personality whose career has been her first priority. Because of this, she's made poor choices, and in the story, those decisions come back to haunt her. There's also a subplot with a young lady named Linn who's made her own share of bad decisions. She finally finds a man to love, but fears he's outside of her reach. Finding Faith has drama, romance, a bit of suspense, and a surprising twist.

More than once I had tears in my eyes. Your ability to make me care for these characters was masterful. I'd think "don't do that, it's going to make things worse" all the while knowing that as humans we all have the ability to make things worse when we try to "fix" things without the help of God. Were the choices made in this book hard to write? Emotionally challenging?

DH: When I first started writing novels, I didn't want to make anything bad happen to my characters. I'm a nice person, and it seemed so cruel. LOL But story requires conflict, otherwise you have a sagging middle, a depressed writer, and then out comes the chocolate. It's not pretty. It's easier to be tough on my characters! Honestly, delving into the emotions comes naturally to me. Not that I have a huge well of pain to draw from, but everyone has experienced the basic emotions to some degree, and I draw from that when I write.

The study questions are fabulous. Do the authors write these or someone at the publishing house?

DH: Typically the author writes them, but for Finding Faith, my editor offered to write them because I was swamped at the time. She did a fabulous job!

You introduced a few new people in this book. Will we be seeing these characters in another series? Or are you done with them for now?

DH: I did leave a little wiggle room for another book, but other opportunities have come along, so I'm going to leave those characters where I left them.

Tell us about your current projects. And what kinds of things are you hoping to write in the next few years.

DH: I'm very excited about my current projects! WestBow Press (Thomas Nelson) has contracted me to write 4 romances set on the island of Nantucket. Each story will take an attribute of Christ and play out through the romance between the hero and heroine. On the surface, they're love stories, but there's a deeper meaning in the way the hero loves the heroine the way Christ loves us. The first one, Surrender Bay, is due out in October, 2007 and they'll be released every 6 months.

Oh...I can't wait until October '07! Finally, just for fun, tell us what authors you love to read? No pressure. LOL. Who's books do you race to the bookstore to get?

DH: Deb Raney, Francine Rivers, Lynn Austin, Nicholas Sparks, to name a few.

Great authors. You have great taste...Now for the fun part, Denise is graciously giving away a signed copy of Finding Faith. But you have to work for it! Go to her website at and find the name of Denise's husband. Then email me the name. It's pretty simple, really. I'll draw a name from all the entries this Thursday.

And thanks so much, Denise. This was fun. Hope you stop back again.

DH: Thanks so much for having me! Best wishes with all your writing endeavors!


Cara Putman said...

Sabrina, your review just jumped Finding Faith to the top of the to be read pile. I've loved the other two books in that series and have waited until I had time to savor it. I'm thinking this weekend in Florida!

Denise, you have such a gift for painting rich characters that the reader cares about in impossible situations that show aspects of Christ. Mending Places is still one of the best books I have ever read! What a picture of forgiveness!

Malia Spencer said...

I have to say I loved this book ever since I won the giveaway Denise did on her blog. Currently the other books in the series are on my very long Amazon wishlist. :)

Great interview ladies and Denise you rocked the drums at conference! I'll listen to you play any day.

Denise Hunter said...

Thanks, ladies! A huge encouragement as I struggle (and struggle and struggle) to come up with my next story. Sheesh, you'd think I'd be good at this by now!
Thanks again, Sabrina, for the interrview!

Jennifer Tiszai said...

What a great interview, you two. Sounded like I was listening in while you were having coffee. And I agree about Sabrina's review. I'll have to pick it up.

Sabrina L. Fox said...

Hmmm, where is everyone. It's been pretty quiet around here. Glad you ladies stopped by. This was a gem of a book and I hope you all have the chance to read this soon.

Denise, it amazes me that people with your talent still struggle with anything in their writing. Seriously. Thanks so much for being here.

Remember, I'm drawing Thursday for the book! Be sure to go to Denise's website to find the answer to the trivia question.;)

Crystal said...

Sabrina--You always manage to bring out the best in both book and author. Great interview.

Denise, You are definitely gifted in writing.I've learned so much about you on Girls Write Out. I would have loved to have been at ACFW conference this year just hear you play drums (my son plays drums in our band! So cool!) I've always felt a bit of kinship with you--being the mom of so many boys. Bless you!

Heather said...

I was glad to stumble upon Girls Write Out as it introduced me to 2 great writers (Denise and Colleen) that I hadn't heard of before.

I love reading interviews of authors as it really gives a peek into their lives. And I love hearing that Denise will be releasing a new book every 6 months. Totally understand the typical year wait for a new book, but man, it's hard to wait that long!

Thanks for the interview and a peek into the new book.