Friday, June 24, 2016

Interview & #Giveaway with @VarinaDenman

Super excited to continue on from Tuesday's guest post with Varina Denman! Now that we've learned some of the behind-the-scenes of her latest novel, I'm excited for you to get to learn even more about Varina and her sparkling personality :)


Thank you so much for visiting us today here at the CCC blog! Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?

Jilted, book three in the Mended Hearts series revolves around Lynda Turner who suffers from depression. And no wonder! She’s been jilted by more than one man, abandoned by her friends, and shunned by the church. Even though I haven’t experienced anything as traumatic as Lynda, I suffer from mild depression, so I have great empathy for her. I pray that her story encourages other women who struggle with depression, or helps them to sympathize with friends who suffer.

Of all your characters in this story, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why?

Clyde Felton, the local ex-convict, was a joy to write. He’s a huge, muscular man with a curly blond ponytail, and he spent twenty years in a state penitentiary for statutory rape. In other words, he’s SCARY … to people who don’t know him. Lynda (of course) knows that Clyde is actually as gentle as a kitten, and he wants nothing more than to pull her out of the darkness toward happiness again.

Can you tell us about a scene that you wrote and eventually deleted? It’s always fun to know of the little details that didn’t make the cut J

A major plot point in Jilted has to do with an old pistol, and I wrote a few scenes where teenagers were shooting enormous West Texas wind turbines for target practice. I loved being able to connect the gun with the windmills which are also key to the story. However, *sniffle* during edits, I realized
that the wind turbines weren’t in West Texas at the time the gun was being referenced. Ah, well … I may save that detail for another book.

How did you decide on the setting/location for this novel?

Jilted is set in West Texas, in the fictitious town of Trapp. I grew up visiting my grandparents on their ranch in that region, and that’s where I learned about Mesquite trees, jackrabbits, and rattle snakes … all of which make an appearance in the Mended Hearts series. Even though I never called West Texas home, I lived in a small town during my high school years, and that’s where I learned the nuances of the setting for Jilted.

What made you pick these specific names of your main two characters?

Clyde has always been named Clyde, right from the start when I wrote him in to book one, six or so years ago, and honestly I don’t remember why I named him that except the it just SO FIT HIM. He was Clyde Felton, through and through. Lynda, on the other hand, had her name changed more than once, and it took forever to decide. Nothing quite fit (probably because I didn’t have her personality nailed-down back then.) And then I realized several of my characters had rhyming names, or names that started with the same letter, or were similar in some other way … but I finally settled on Lynda (with a Y), and the name has come to suit her very well. An ordinary name with a slight twist to it, just like the character.

Moving on from your story, tell us a little about yourself. We’ll help! What’s your least favorite household chore and why?

If you could peek inside my house, you would notice that I (apparently) have several least favorite chores. But my least LEAST favorite is probably mopping. I think the reason is because I have to bend over, and it makes my back ache. Or it could simply be that I’m lazy. Who knows?

What are your hobbies outside of writing?
Summer is upon us, and full of events. Are you doing anything special this summer season?

Does reading count? This is a book blog, so probably everyone says that, but there you go. I like to read. I also watch TONS of movies and television shows, and I’m a NetFlix junkie. In the summer months I try to lay by the pool as much as possible. I’m normally very pale, and my summer months are habitually spent trying to master a tan. I usually succeed about the time school starts.

We talk a lot about faith and how it weaves throughout our fiction, here at the blog. How has your faith affected/or not affected your writing?

Oh, my goodness. God has taken me by the shoulders and spun me round and round. All I can do is hold on tight. I never intended to be a writer, but somehow God shoved me into it. And now He keeps pushing me out of my comfort zone which always leads to growth for both me and my characters.

Tell us a little about a day in the life of you? Wake up time? Lounging in your jammies all day, drinking coffee, living the luxurious life of a writer ;)

I THRIVE ON MY ROUTINE. On days when I’m able to stick to it, I’m one happy writer. I get up around 5:30, and actually put on clothes. I head upstairs to my office for devo and a little writing, then come down for breakfast an hour later. Breakfast is also a part of my routine: fruit smoothie with protein powder. Then I write till lunch and eat again. During the school year, my afternoons are spent helping my girls with their schoolwork (we homeschool), but in the summer months I write all afternoon as well, and feel uber-productive. On a good day, I stop working around 5:00, but during deadlines, I might work work work till late into the night.

We have a bit of a war going on here at the CCC blog. Anne and Jaime LOVE coffee and Erica and Gabriella enjoy a joyful cup of tea. What is your preference? Help us break this tie…

I have ridiculous food sensitivities that prevent me from drinking anything that I actually WANT to drink. (no sugar, no milk, no fat, no caffeine, no fun) So when I drink coffee, it’s decaf with sugar-free chocolate syrup stirred in, and when I drink tea, it’s decaf green tea with a packet of artificial sweetener. Don’t those sound like lovely options? I’m not sure I can be a tie-breaker, because I have to vote NEITHER … just give me a glass of water.

And a few fun and quirky questions always reveal of lot from our authors who visit. So, first, if you were to take a boat down the Amazon river, what would you be most interested in seeing?

Traveling down the Amazon river is at the top of my never-want-to-do-it list, so if it were to happen I’d love to see the dock where I would get off and go back home. Then again … isn’t that where “Anaconda” was filmed? (I’m so not a geography scholar) I’d much rather see a ginormous snake from the safety of my television screen … but if I was there anyway …

If you had a choice of living in any era other than the present, what would you choose and why?

It would be fun to live in the Roaring 20’s just to see the clothes and the dancing. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at one of Jay Gatsby’s parties.

We’d love you have you share a snippet from your novel to entice us and hook us! J Please share something below:

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 space 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.
Depression almost killed me.

Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. Her three-book 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. Her passion is helping others make peace with their life situations. Connect with Varina on her website or one of the social media hangouts.

Jaime, Thanks for hosting me on your blog today. I’ve enjoyed being here!
Please visit and be in contact!

Enter to WIN a copy of Jilted!

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  1. I think everyone from time to time has depression in some form or the other. I do. I have an aging mom and father-in-law and it's sad to see once vibrant people changing. There once was a stigma attached but I don't think most people feel that way these days.
    Keeping my fingers crossed! I'd so love to win this book!! Thanks for the chance!!!

  2. Jaime, thanks for the fun interview! :)

  3. Jaime, thank you for the wonderful interview with Varina! I'm sure everyone has battled depression at some point in their life. I believe not being isolated is a key factor.

    Thank you for the giveaway!

    1. I also subscribe to Varina, Jaime and Erica's newsletters.

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