Bio: Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. A native Texan who spent her high school years in a small
Varina now lives near
with her husband and five mostly grown children. Her passion is helping
others make peace with their life situations. Varina’s Mended Hearts series is
a compelling blend of women’s fiction and inspirational romance. Fort Worth
Welcome, Varina. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
As little as possible and as much as it takes. With every heroine I create, I tell myself she’s going to be her own person and not at all like me, but I’ve discovered that’s quite impossible. Each of my girls shares a few characteristics of my own, and usually these are revealed during the quiet times of the book. Whenever the main character is reflecting on her feelings or emotions, I draw on my own experiences to fuel her spirit.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’ve been told some of my mothering skills are quirky. When my children were young, I let them crawl in and out the kitchen window instead of using the back door. My friends thought I was nuts, but honestly, it was pure selfishness. The kids kept themselves busy … which left me with more quiet time … to read.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I didn’t consider writing until I was forty years old, and I didn’t actually try it for a few years after that. And even THEN, I doubted the possibility. It wasn’t until I completed my first novel and found my agent that I actually believed I might be able to pull it off.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My faves are mainstream literary fiction that crossover into women’s fiction, but I also enjoy young adult, inspirational romance, and the occasional dystopian.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
This is a challenge for me because I LOVE to work. It makes me happy. However, it also wears me out and drags me away from family and friends, and I have to force myself to slow down and breathe. I take long baths, watch movies, and play games with the family, but what helps the most is prayer and quiet time so I can reflect on the important things in life.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Some characters automatically have a name as soon as I consider their personality. The name just pops into my head. Other characters require more thought. Sometimes I’ll search baby name websites, taking the meaning of the name into consideration, and I’ve also been known to put it to my readers, taking an online survey after giving a brief description of the character. That’s always fun!
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m proud that I’ve managed to keep my Christianity in spite of the crazy world we live in. I’m proud that I’ve stayed married for twenty-nine years, even though marriage is ridiculously hard. I’m proud that my kids seem to be turning out all right, in spite of having me as a mother. As far as my writing is concerned … I think I’m most proud of the messages my books give to readers, and I’m glad I’ve been brave enough to step out of my comfort zone and encourage others.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
The kind that stays in their den most of the time, rarely seen by humans, but believed to be friendly and nonaggressive.
What is your favorite food?
I’m addicted to fruit smoothies, and I have one for breakfast every morning. My favorite is banana-strawberry-chocolate-peanut butter, and I throw in a scoop of vanilla protein powder so I can call it a meal instead of a dessert.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Probably the greatest roadblock was the way I wrote my rough drafts. They were ALL OVER THE PLACE, and it took me months to clean them up into a manageable storyline. I read several craft books on plotting and structure, and now I build a solid outline before I ever begin drafting.
Tell us about the featured book.
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.
Please give us the first page of the book.
My daughter, Ruthie, always called me a glass-is-half-empty kind of person, but she was wrong. Not only was my glass half empty, but a tiny crack shot diagonally from a chip on the rim, and something bread-like hovered in the murky liquid. But I was in the process of tossing that damaged tumbler and getting a brand-new one. Even though I would never be a Susie Sunshine, I was determined to stop hiding inside myself. But it wasn’t proving easy.
Today I sat in my hatchback on the side of Highway 84, sizzling like bacon in the afternoon sunshine. I did this a lot. Sometimes I turned off at the lake and stared at the rippling water, but most times, like today, I drove all the way to the wind fields to gaze at the turbines—white needles against a blue sky. I reached across the seat and cranked down the window on the passenger side to allow a breeze in. Ninety-four degrees in September, but it could have been worse. Last week we were still in triple digits.
As a pickup truck sped past, my little silver car rocked gently and I almost ducked, but it was only Old Man Guthrie. His index finger made a slow salute in greeting, but I did nothing in response. My typical hello. My friend Clyde Felton called me distant, but really I was just tired. Tired of waving. Tired of pretending. Tired of trying.
I focused my gaze on the jagged pastureland beyond the pavement and hoped nobody else would interrupt my thoughts. Then again, I sometimes wished God had provided an on/off switch so we women could shut down our brains when the memories started echoing.
For me, those memories were men. Ruthie may have insisted that my glass was half empty, but I liked to think it was filled up fine until the men in my life started throwing rocks at it for sport. Over the years I had gradually trained myself to shy away from males, other than the men in my family. And
Clyde. Even Old Man Guthrie knew better than to stop and
check on me, thank goodness. If he had, I would’ve been forced to explain why a
grown woman was sitting in her car on the side of the highway, staring at the
wind turbines. I smiled.
Those windmills, marching across the Caprock like evenly spaced tin soldiers, stretched for miles south of town and settled my nerves like a dose of Valium. Not that I’d had any Valium lately, but one doesn’t quickly forget.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Connect with Varina through her website
Thank you, Varina, for sharing this book with us. I love the cover with the wind farm in the background. That is so true in many parts of Texas. I live here, too.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Jilted - Christianbook.com
Jilted: A Novel (Mended Hearts Series) - Amazon
Jilted: A Novel (Mended Hearts Series) - Kindle
Comment question: Have you ever been jilted?
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