Valerie Faulkner 

Author Interview

Valerie Faulkner Interviews Our Featured Cover Author - Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter
It’s August. The sun is high, and not a cloud mars the blue sky. I take a moment and thank God for the huge old oak tree with limbs stretching across my yard. Today it’s offering me just enough shade as I retreat, laptop in hand to my favorite spot . . . the back porch.

I check my notes and prepare my imaginary road map. It’s time for my “‘virtual jaunt” up north to interview another author!

Husband, Bill, joins me outdoors. He hands me a bottle of water and asks, “How’s it going?”

“I’m hot! I’m also eager to get started—for a couple reasons. One, the author writes romance. Two, I love romance!”

“Romance?” Bill winks.

I wink back. “I’ll grab the camera; you get Jake (our dog), and I’ll meet you at the Jeep. “We’re going to Indiana!”


Denise Hunter lives in Indiana with her husband, Kevin, and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since!

Her most recent title, The Convenient Groom, is in bookstores everywhere. It features Kate Lawrence, a marriage expert who gets jilted on her wedding day. Like Surrender Bay, this book is surely headed for the best-seller list.

Currently Denise is busy writing Sweetwater Gap, a love story set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which will be available December.


Ms. Hunter indulges me and my imagination and suggests, “There’s a park I used to take my boys to when they were younger. There are ducks and geese, tall shade trees, a river. Shall we escape reality for a while and spend the afternoon there?”

I’m drawn into the setting and picture this as an ideal spot for an afternoon chat. Yes, we’ll find a picnic table. We’ll relax! I can almost feel a cool breeze, ah. . . . Let’s begin.

Valerie: You’re from Indiana, yet you’ve staged your stories in wonderful places like Wyoming, Nantucket, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fiction or fact, how do you research these dreamy locations?

Denise: Yes, I’ve set books in all those places. A research trip is a must for me. It adds so much to the story and helps me as I write it to “see” it. But it’s not easy to work in trips with three kids and school and writing schedules. So far, my family has been great about letting me work our family vacations around my research trips.

Valerie: Have you ever considered Florida?

Denise: Not yet, but you never know. 

Valerie: In The Convenient Groom, how did you come up with Kate Lawrence—her name, occupation? Was her character or any part of this story derived from someone you knew who had this happen to them?

Denise: When I began brainstorming that story, I wanted to write a modern-day marriage of convenience. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to make it plausible, so I had to come up with a really strong motive for Kate to marry a man other than her groom.

That’s how her occupation came into a play: What if a celebrity relationship expert gets dumped at the altar?

Then I raised the stakes. What if her debut book is releasing on her wedding day as part of the publicity? What if her publisher has forked out big dollars for her fancy island wedding?

Fortunately, I’ve never had a friend go through this. I knew who Kate was before I decided what would happen to her. I’m organized and can be a bit of a perfectionist, so I drew from that well when writing about her. Her name came to me quickly, but I have a great book called Beyond Jennifer and Jason that I use to name my characters.

Valerie: Before or after the completion of any of your novels, have you ever met someone who resembled one of your story-line characters?

Denise: I can’t say that I have. It might be a little freaky if I did.

Valerie: Wife, mother of three sons, a book or more per year . . . How do you do it? How do you cope with deadlines when your family wants dinner?

Denise: Papa John’s? Yeah, life is pretty busy right now. The boys all play sports and that keeps me busy running them around. During the school year, my writing hours are from nine AM to noon. I schedule appointments around those hours and protect them with my life—if I don’t, no one else will. The hours of noon to three PM are for writing business, appointments, errands, grocery shopping, housework, interviews, et cetera. Then I pick up the kids, and things turn really hectic with homework and sports.

I try not to write too much on summer break, though I always have edits or galleys or something writing related to do.

Valerie: Assuming you share your progress with your family and/or friends, are they always eager to hear your rough drafts? Do you feel their criticism or praise is effective in continuing your project?

Denise: My family and friends are very supportive. They do ask about my writing and they may even ask what my story’s about, but I don’t give more than a one-sentence blurb. I think most people’s eyes glaze over when we describe our stories. It's one thing to read a story, another to listen to someone describe it!

On the other hand, I do brainstorm every story with my Girls Write Out friends Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, and Kristin Billerbeck. They know the ins and outs of all my plots and vice versa. If we’re stuck at some point during the writing, we often bounce ideas off each other. It’s a wonderful thing to have.

Valerie: You’re also musically talented. You play the drums! Do you play in a band? Do you sing and/or dance, too?

Denise: The only band I’m in is my church’s worship team. That’s the whole reason I learned to play drums—we had a guitarist, a keyboardist, an electric guitarist, a bass player, but no drummer. I’d always wanted to play.

I used to dance on my high school drill team, but my dancing days are over. Singing? I leave that to my husband, and my kids thank me for it.

Valerie: Do you feel your faith has played a role in where you are today?

I honestly don’t think I would’ve started writing without my faith. It was my grandfather’s godly life and his ultimate death that served as the catalyst for my first book. My initial dream was just to finish a manuscript and see if I had any talent for writing, but God has taken that dream and turned it into so much more than I ever imagined.

Valerie: Amen to that! You have won many awards, and being recognized for your God-given talent has to be among your “flying high” times as an author. Which award totally thrilled you, and whom did you call first to share your good news?

Denise: Awards are great and I’m always honored when I receive one. I don’t think there’s one particular award that meant more than the others, but the first ones to hear about them are always my girlfriends. I can’t tell you how much their friendship means to me. This can be a very lonely occupation, and it helps to have others to share with, whine to, and laugh with.

The Convenient Groom

Valerie: Not to change the subject, but I’ve heard a number of woman authors constantly complain about having to sit too long at a desk and end up with “wider” instead of “tighter” ends. You’re beautiful and slim—just good genes, or do you have a special secret?

Denise: Thanks. Considering I still haven’t lost my Christmas weight, I’ll hold on to that compliment. I do have good genes, but I also have to be careful of what I eat and do the treadmill five times a week. I devised a way to put my laptop on the treadmill, and that makes the time pass quickly.

Valerie Please tell me how you would finish this sentence: “When I’m writing . . .”

Denise: I’m afraid. That first draft . . . so scary for me. Some parts flow along, but mostly, I’m just afraid it’s all drivel, and this makes me not want to put my rear end in the chair. It’s not the frozen-in-terror kind of fear, but rather the doesn’t-the-toilet-need-scrubbing-right-now kind of fear. It’s amazing how appealing household chores can be when I’m afraid to write.

That fear really does keep me on my knees though, and I do make sure I meet my daily quota because meeting that deadline is important to me—not to mention to my publisher. Once the first draft is down, the writing gets easier. I love rewriting and polishing and tweaking sentences.

Valerie: Denise, I have enjoyed the afternoon so much. Thank you for meeting with me; it’s been such a pleasure.

Denise: Yes, it has!

If you want to keep up on all her new releases and see all her great novels, visit Denise at

Valerie Anne Faulkner, a New York native moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida in 1973. Author of I Must Be in Heaven: A Promise Kept, she spends her days working side by side with her husband, Bill, as an electrician, then evenings, as a writer. The CFOM interviews have been a great way for her to meet other authors and hone her writing craft. This back porch writer’s family is very important to her, and she cherishes time spent with her three grown children and six grandchildren. A few hours with family or a day enjoying one of Florida’s Gulf beaches are her favorite ways to relieve stress and refresh from her busy lifestyle. Valerie’s motto is “A day with prayer . . . seldom unravels.” Visit her at

I Must Be In Heaven