Sunday, November 04, 2007

Denise Hunter

Today, I'm introducing you to Denise Hunter and her newest release, Surrender Bay.

So, Denise, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Great question! There’s usually an issue or a personality trait that comes from me. Not telling which ones. :-) This helps me feel closer to the character and helps me make her more real to the reader. Sometimes it even helps me work through things I don’t like about myself.

I know what you mean. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I’m not really a quirky kind of person, but I do have some little oddities about myself. I order the exact same drink every morning (Cinnamon, skinny, single latté), I always eat the broken potato chips first, and I save my favorite thing on the plate for last. These are all about food, aren’t they? Hmmm.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I’m a writer? Just kidding. I didn’t decide I wanted to write a novel until I was in my mid-twenties, and even then, I didn’t know if I was a writer or not. I figured I’d just research how to write a novel, sit down and do it, then see what happened. I didn’t realize that writing is a craft, and you get better with practice and acquired knowledge. It’s a good thing I sold that first book, because if I hadn’t, I would have assumed I didn’t have what it took to be a writer.

I really know what you mean with that last statement. I sold my first novel, too, but it took a long time. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I have become such a picky reader. I used to be able to sit down and read just about any novel. Writing, or rather, learning the craft, has made me very particular. I love contemporary books with a strong romantic thread, but it’s hard to find ones that hold my interest. I probably finish one book for every seven I start. I miss the days when I could just pick up a novel and curl up for a couple hours!

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I started out writing historical romances for Heartsong Presents. Barbour packaged these four novels together under the title Kansas Brides. I wrote a series set in Jackson Hole Wyoming. The titles are Mending Places, Saving Grace, and Finding Faith.

Currently, I’m writing a series set in Nantucket. The first one, Surrender Bay, just released.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I say no a lot! No kidding. (See, I just said it.) I learned several years ago that when I’m overburdened by a hectic schedule, I am not a nice person (mother, wife, friend).

In addition to my writing, I drive my three boys to and from school—that’s two hours of my day, but a good two hours because it’s a good time to connect with them. After all, they can’t leave. :-) They’re all involved in sports, which requires a lot of running, then there’s homework, and church stuff (I play the drums on my church’s worship team). I put some time into book promotion. Most other things, I say no to.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I love naming my characters! I use a book called Beyond Jennifer and Jason. It organizes names by personality, origin, ethnicity and so forth so it really helps me get the names right.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I’d have to say being married for 18 years. Making a marriage work is hard, but worth the effort. I’m proud and thankful that we’re providing a healthy family life for our three boys. I think, other than our faith, that’s the best gift we can give them. I always wonder, though, if we’re doing something that’s going to put them in therapy twenty years from now. LOL

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Sadly, I’ve actually given thought to this question many times. It’s a toss-up between the sea lion and the penguin. I love how lazy and surprisingly graceful sea lions look floating through the water. But they’re big and cumbersome, so the penguin appeals too. They get to play and slide and frolic. However, I don’t like fish, so maybe neither is a good pick. Is there an animal that eats chocolate?

What is your favorite food?

Chocolate, in case my last answer didn’t give it away. Preferably dark chocolate. It’s healthy, you know. I’ve believed that for years and now science backs me up.

I love dark chocolate, too. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Undoubtedly, it’s my own fear, and unfortunately, I haven’t conquered it. It faces me every time I sit down to write or procrastinate writing by doing laundry or dishes or toilets or anything that will help me avoid that moment when I face the blinking curser. One good thing about it, though, is that it keeps me dependent on God. I truly can’t do this writing thing without Him and we both know it.

That's the truth. What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Read books on writing. Practice what you learn. Read good novels in the genre you enjoy. Write in that same genre. Join a writers' group and learn from them. Practice what you learn. Go to conferences to network. Take workshops, online and otherwise. Practice what you learn. Keep reading, keep writing. It takes persistence to get published. You will get rejections (we all do!), just learn from it and keep plugging away at it.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Surrender Bay is a love story set on the island of Nantucket. It features Sam, a single mom who inherits the dilapidated seaside cottage she grew up in. She returns home to fix up the cottage for resale and finds her old best friend and soulmate, Landon Reed, still living two doors down the shoreline. Because of issues from her past, Sam is afraid to trust her heart to Landon or anyone else, but Landon is determined to make her see that his love is steadfast.

Although there’s no overt faith thread in Surrender Bay, it’s told as a parable so there is a faith message. Landon loves and pursues Sam the way God pursues us. I hope it will help readers see God’s love in a fresh way.

I can hardly wait to read it. However, I've promised my readers that I would read Christmas books and review them in November. So Surrender Bay is on my to-be-read pile for when I've finished with the Christmas books. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I also have a blog with authors Kristin Billerbeck, Colleen Coble, and Diann Hunt at
Thank you for spending this time with us, Denise. I'm sure many of my readers will want to get a copy.
Readers, check out both of Denise's web sites. Remember to leave a comment on this interview for a chance to win a copy, but if you don't win, you'll want to get a copy.
You can still leave comments on these interviews for a chance to win a free book:
Toni V. Lee - Expectations
Kathleen Y'Barbo - Beloved Castaway
Lynette Sowell, Carrie Turansky, Gail Sattler, Vasthi Reyes Acosta - A Big Apple Christmas (4 copies)
And sign up for FeedBlitz to receive a copy of each post in your email inbox. You can do that in the right hand column under my profile.


Stormi said...

Nice Interview. I may have look up that book she gets her character names from, it sounds interesting. Would love to win her book.


Katy McKenna said...

Great interview, ladies! I am always surprised to read about an author who fears the blinking cursor, and yet is meeting with such great success. I often still give in to the fear and shine those toities. I want to follow your example, Denise!!

Unknown said...

Great interview. Denise is one of my favorite authors. I keep practicing what I learn in the hopes that someday I can write as well as she does. It was wonderful to hear that she still approaches the craft with fear and trepidation. And yes, I'd love to win her book.

Anonymous said...

This book looks awesome!!! I would love to read it!! Please enter me!!


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Norma said...

I would love to win this book.

lollipops said...

Great interview! I love Denise's writing - pick me!!!!

Hannah said...

i'd love to enter! great interview!

Tina Helmuth said...

I've been hearing great things about this book. I'm grateful for a chance to win it.

SHARLENE said...

Excellent interview! Lena, when I saw your question about "fear" up on the ACFW loop I knew I had to check out this week's interview.

Sign me up for Denise's book. It sounds wonderful. Oh, I love a good romance.

BTW, Lena, I rec'd your book in the mail a week or so back, and I hope you also got mine. I'll dig into your book -- hopefully before the holidays set in. I have quite a TBR pile lying on my bedstand. haha!

Much love,

Melanie Dickerson said...

Don't take this the wrong way, Denise, but I'd say you're pretty quirky! (But that's a good thing!)
Your book, Mending Places, is one of my favorite contemporary novels. LOVE the romance and the way it made me love God more for showing us how to change and how to forgive.
I'd love to win Surrender Bay. I'm sure it's going to be great!

Annette M. Irby said...

Hi Lena and Denise,

Oh, I have to say Surrender Bay is fantastic! I'm reading it right now. And I LOVE the allegory!!! Thank you, Denise, for this great story.

:0) Annette

Rose McCauley said...

Thanks, Lena, for another great interview and Denise, for some insights on writing. I'd love to win this book. rose

Anonymous said...

great interview!
the book sounds wonderful!
please enter me!

Cherie J said...

Great interview! Love the story!

Anonymous said...

Oh, now I'm going to have to pull out my Kansas Brides book and move it to the top of my to read pile. I got it on the free table at the library. I'd love to be in the drawing for this one.

WK said...

Ohh wonderful interview. Very interesting and insightful. Also helpful, as I write as well.

I will certainly have to look up this book.

BTW Denise tell Colleen, WendyK says "Hi".


elizabeth said...

Once I decided to write, seriously, I mean,the world became a scary place.

Thanks for this oasis of encouragement and hope.

Anonymous said...

would love to win, thanks!

ChristyJan said...

I enjoyed the interview. (I'm also a big fan of dark chocolate)

Surrender Bay sounds like a great read.

Anonymous said...

Denise is a great writer. I'd love to win a copy of this book.

Anonymous said...

Just ordered Jennifer Jason from PBS (PaperBackSwap)! Loved the interview. I'm a wishiwas turned wannabe - started my first manuscript several months ago - pray for me. Would love to win Denise's book - I'm a grandmother from the East Coast (now Texan). Thanks Denise for encouraging us all! K

Denise Hunter said...

Hi everyone. Thanks for your kind comments and Lena, thanks for the interview. I wish you could all get a free book!

Unknown said...

Lena -
Please enter me for the book.

windycindy said...

Hello, Please enter me in this contest. Thanks, Cindi'

Janna said...

Please enter me! I posted about this book, but haven't gotten to read it yet!


Pamela J said...

I'm thrilled reading about this book, Surrender Bay, and hope to win a copy. Please enter me in the drawing.
Thanks. Pam

Martha A. said...

It sounds great....I would love to read it!

Dona Watson said...

Please enter me to win a copy of Surrender Bay.

Thank you!
dl watson at verizon dot net