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Interview with Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter suffers from testosterone poisoning. At least, she admits the possibility. As a mom with three boys, she has a knack for understanding the male psyche, which helps create fantastic characters, especially in her new book The Goodbye Bride.

Denise is a world-class writer of more than 30 books, has enough awards to crash a bookshelf , and articles, interviews, and broadcasts that could stretch to the moon and back. But her humble beginnings give hope to those starting out.

In her twenties, Denise wondered if she could write a book. Why not? She was an avid reader. “But then I got married and was soon juggling college and kids.” The dream lingered for a time, but when her grandfather died, the need to do something more for God came roaring back.

“I was only going to write one book,” she said, to see if she could be published. “If it didn’t get published, I would figure I didn’t have what it took. I didn’t realize that writing is a craft that would improve with knowledge and practice.”

She didn’t know the manuscript would sell and lead to an actual career, but, “God’s dreams were bigger than mine.”

Practice helped hone her craft

“Every good writer has some God-given talent,” Denise said. “But it’s up to the writer to improve his/her craft.” After writing more than 30 books and reading tons of books on writing, she believes a lot of the process now comes organically for her. But doubt still creeps in.

“ are moments when I think my WIP (work in progress) is the worst thing ever written. That’s when my crit partner steps in and reminds me I always feel this way in the middle of the book.”

The practice has paid off, especially in getting quality books in readers’ hands quickly. “I have a book due every 6 months, but I write each one in about five.” She uses the month off to recharge her mind and brainstorm the next idea.

Where do ideas come from? Maybe coffee

“A quote I saw on Pinterest inspired me to write The Goodbye Bride. The quote said, ‘She didn’t know who would go or who would stay so she pushed them all away.’ Next thing I knew, there was a bride, amnesia, and paparazzi.”

Early in the morning, Denise starts her routine. Coffee and news with her husband, then breakfast, devotions, then get ready. By 9 a.m. she arrives at a coffee house where she settles down to write six pages—and drink more coffee.

Sometimes the pages are done by noon, sometimes not. Writing at the coffee shop keeps her from distractions at home, like laundry, cleaning, and other waiting chores.

A special career highlight

Denise has had many memorable point in her career, but a recent dream come true would send anyone’s mind reeling. Hallmark made a movie of her book. “I was beside myself,” she said. “The whole thing was an amazing experience.” First reading the book, then watching the movie was an awesome experience for both her and her readers. “They were so supportive and encouraging.”

Watching her stories create an impact, both in print and on screen, has more meaning than just writing stories—all Denise’s books have a message, a theme, putting God first. Sometimes the readers catch them. Other times, they find gems she didn’t put there intentionally. “I love how God customizes a story for the reader.” “I most love to write books that speak about an issue I ‘ve dealt with. Those are my favorite. They get me in the gut.

“But sometimes God has me write about things I haven’t experienced, and those tend to not be my favorite stories because they don’t speak to ‘me.’ I’ve been learning lately that those books are for someone else. Someone struggling with that very thing, and for them, the story, the theme will resonate.”

Denise is currently pounding away on a new series that takes place in the North Georgia Mountains. When not working on the novel, she reads, spends time with family, watches movies, and loves to travel to places she’s never been. Whether she suffers from testosterone poisoning or not, her success as a storyteller involves the perfect mixture of humility, personality in spades, and a focus on God that can’t be quenched.


Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. For entertainment, he reads historical books, where he finds ideas for new novels. Whenever he has a chance, he takes his wife and two homeschooled children on crazy but fun research trips. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at

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