This year’s Frasier Contest has come to a close. The finalists and semi-finalists have been announced, and we are all eagerly awaiting the Pizza Party to find out who the winner is. In the mean time, lets meet one of the Judges that made it all possible: Denise Jones, with her new book Secrets Over Sweet Tea!
Q: Denise, can you give the MBT Audience a little blurb about your story?
A: Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well—a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life.
Q: What is one piece of writing advice you could give to the MBT audience.
A: I hear people say often, “I’m too afraid to start.” I find this so interesting, because I feel the same way. Each day that I sit down to write I am afraid nothing will show up. The screen is blank. The cursor blinks. The fear settles in like a familiar friend pulling up a chair to share a Coke. It’s almost as if that fear is daring me to touch that keyboard.
Starting is the hardest part. Each day. But I have learned something in writing. Following my divorce I honestly didn’t know if I would ever have another story to tell. When grief settles in there are moments it convinces you it isn’t going to leave. And each day I would avoid the computer too afraid of what “wasn’t” going to happen. And that was when I took that fear to The Lord. And He spoke something that has never left me. “If you show up, I’ll show up.” And do you know what? He has. Each day.
Some days it may feel like the fear of the “what if’s” or “what won’t be’s” will suck the story right out of you. But I have learned, when we are doing what God has called us to do, our obedience brings about His reward. The reward of His presence. You show up. He’ll show up. It’s not technique in writing, or a profound tool to hone your craft. Because honestly, I’m not qualified for those types of lessons. But it is a truth that can create one more powerful story. And I am proof, that it is totally true. So, show up today. Let Him know that you’re there and you need Him. And then start. And then let the story He births be written. He’s always been really good at stories.
Denise Hildreth Jones has had her booked hailed as “smart and witty” both reviewers and readers alike. Since her first novel “Savannah from Savannah” Denise has gone to write seven others as well as two non-fiction offerings including “Flying Solo: A Journey Back to Laughing, Loving and Living”, the journals of the year following the loss of her thirteen year marriage. Featured twice in Southern Living and chosen this year as the INSPY Winner in General Fiction with her novel “The First Gardener” Denise loves the gift of story.
She also leads the ministry she founded called Reclaiming Hearts. After finding her heart sadly shut-down after the wake of her divorce, Denise went on a desperate journey to reclaim her heart. She now leads a ministry for men and women to help them rediscover the abundant life they were created for, through her Bible Studies and weekend retreats. Focusing on the truths written in “Reclaiming Your Heart: A Journey Back to Laughing, Loving and Living” and its companion novel, “Secrets Over Sweet Tea”.
She makes her home in Franklin, Tennessee with her husband Philly, her five bonus-kids and one shih-tzu. She loves good books, close friends, SEC football and Coca-Cola.
“What is one piece of writing advice you could give to the MBT audience.”