Friday, November 9, 2007

Guest Author: Denise Hunter


This is exciting! I just finished Denise Hunter's "Surrender Bay" which released in October, '07. This book is such a good read and though it's fiction, you'll be fed as if you were reading non-fiction. Yes, the work entertains, but it also encourages a fresh revelation of God's unconditional love.

Before I post the interview, I have to share this funny note with you. Denise and I both served on the ACFW's worship team this year, but when I sat down to read "Surrender Bay," I didn't realize she was the same Denise, even though I recognized her picture from her website. I only knew her as Denise at the conferences (she served last year, too). She plays drums on the worship team at her home church and I'm thankful she's sharing her skills with ACFW, both in writing and in music!

Here's the interview:

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing?

I’m a mid-western girl, married to a wonderful man, and I have three terrific boys. When I was a child, my mother took me to the library regularly, and I was introduced to the world of fiction. In my elementary years, I wore out our school library’s Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, and throughout my middle school years and into high school, I always had my nose in a book. (Still do, just ask my husband.)

In my early twenties, I began to wonder if I could write a novel. I had two of my children at that time, and when my grandfather became very ill, we were told he was going to pass away soon. I visited him in the hospital, and as I watched him lying on the bed, I recalled the many things he had done for Christ during his long life. I knew he’d lived a full life with few regrets, and I wanted to be able to feel that way when my life drew to a close. On my long drive home, I decided I was going to stop wondering if I could write a book and just do it. I wrote my first novels during my childrens’ nap times.

What was your inspiration for writing Surrender Bay?

My earliest vision of the story was simply about best friends who fall in love. The story evolved as it brewed in my head for almost a year and as I brainstormed with my writing buddies (authors Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, and Kristin Billerbeck). But Surrender Bay truly took on a new dimension when the Westbow staff suggested making the romance in the story a picture of the romance between God and us. The story grew, bit by bit, from there, with lots of brain-wracking, hair-pulling, praying, and re-writing. J

I noticed there is no overt Christianity in the story. Why did you write it as an allegory?

I love the way Jesus told stories. His parables made his listeners think for themselves and draw their own conclusions. In his story of the Prodigal Son, Jesus never said, “Listen folks, the father in the story is God, and the Prodigal Son is you.” The son never had a “come to Jesus” moment, he simply returned to his father and was welcomed home with open arms. Jesus required the listeners to draw the connection for a reason.

An allegory allows us to see the familiar in a fresh and powerful way, and that’s what I hoped to do with Surrender Bay.

What would you like readers to take away from this story?

I hope readers walk away from this story with a fresh view of the way God pursues us. I hope women find comfort in the kind of love He has for them, the kind that never fails, the kind that puts our sins as far as the east is from the west. “He will never leave you nor forsake you”.

Nantucket sounds like a beautiful place to visit. Did you visit there to do research?

Nantucket is a lovely island, a truly unique place. My family went with me for a brief visit so I could do some research as part of our vacation last year. I was so inspired, I sat on the beach and wrote the first pages of the story while my kids and husband frolicked in the water. The quaint town, the history, the cobblestone streets, and the people really make this an ideal setting for novels.

Is Surrender Bay part of a series?

Yes and no. Surrender Bay is the first of four books that will be set on Nantucket, romance novels that will reflect the attributes of God listed in Zephaniah 3:17. The books will feature different characters, though, and stand completely their own. Hopefully, they will necessitate another research trip to Nantucket.

Here's her bio:

Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

You can find out more by visiting her website: www.DeniseHunterBooks.com
She is also active at www.GirlsWriteOut.blogspot.com

Thanks for visiting us, Denise.

4 comments:

Betsy Ann said...

Lovely story! I'm almost done with it now and I've cried twice =) Way to go, Denise! You're making me feel!

Thanks for the interview, Annette!

Dawn said...

I enjoyed "Mending Places" and "Saving Grace" by Denise.

"Surrender Bay" sounds like another great read.

Can't wait! :)

Sharon Lavy said...

The story sounds interesting. Thank you Denise for sharing with us.

Denise Hunter said...

Thanks everyone! And thanks to you, Annette for featuring Surrender Bay on your blog. Denise