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An Interview with Varina Denman, Author of Jilted

VDenmanHeadshot2Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started writing.

I wish I could say I always wanted to be a writer. That sounds so purposeful, but when I was young, all I ever wanted to do was be a mommy. I played with dolls until junior high, and even then, I only put them away because I was embarrassed. But once I grew up and fulfilled my dream of motherhood, I had lots of time on my hands during late night feedings, and I ended up reading a lot. It was at that time I began to think about writing a book of my own.

However, just because I read books didn’t mean I knew how to write them, and it took many re-writes for me to figure that out. So I read craft books, attended seminars, and got bajillions of critiques from other writers. Gradually my confidence and skill grew, and my second dream, that of being a writer, finally began to come true.

Do you have a favorite character from this story? Why is this character your favorite?

Clyde Felton, the hero of Jilted, is precious in this book even though he’s tough. Clyde is so tall he bumps his head on doorways, and he’s so broad he can barely get through the door in the first place. His size, coupled with his curly pony-tail and scruffy beard, make him intimidating, even to those who don’t know he spent twenty years in prison. (For statutory rape, no less.) But in spite of all that, Clyde is a sweetheart. All those years in prison were spent reading tattered books from the prison library while he yearned to get home to Trapp, Texas. Now that he’s back, he’s taken an interest in Lynda Turner, an old friend, and he’s going out of his way to gently help her heal from her own past.

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.

Varina Denman Mended Hearts series How does it feel to be at the end of a 3 book series such as yours?

It feels wonderful! Even though I’ve greatly enjoyed getting to know all the townspeople in Trapp while I worked on the Mended Hearts series, I’m ready to move on and create a bookful of new characters. And besides that, I love the feeling of having completed something. I’m a list person. I make a list for EVERYTHING, and then I check things off my list, and when everything is checked-off, I’m extra happy and content. So at this point, everything is checked-off the Mended Hearts series, and I’m one satisfied writer.

What books are on your nightstand?

I read most books on my kindle which leaves my nightstand fairly clear, but a friend recently loaned me a copy of Interrupted, by Jen Hatmaker. Okay, so it’s been next to my bed for over a year, but I really, really planning to read it … eventually. I absolutely loved 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, so when I get around to it, I’ll probably love Interrupted just as much. As for my kindle, I’m currently reading Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty. I also have an antique copy of A Tale of Two Cities on my bedside table, along with two volumes from James Fennimore Cooper’s Works, but they’re just for decoration. If I ever decide to read Dickens or Cooper, I’ll download them onto my kindle and save the wear and tear on the antiques, but I love seeing them there every day.

A heartbroken woman desires to move beyond old memories, but will her past give way to hope?


Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life in which the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, of a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and of a town that must—once and for all-leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.

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.

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