Today on Writer Wednesday we welcome Denise Hunter, author of Summer by the Tides.
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Writer Wednesday with Denise Hunter: A Day in the Writing Life
I’ve been writing novels for twenty-two years. Much of that writing was done at home while I was raising our three boys. I wrote when they were napping at first and then when they were in school. As they got older I found myself shuttling them around a lot. For several years, my minivan was my mobile office. At this pace, I could only manage one book a year.
These days my boys are grown and (almost) gone, so I’m able to write a book every six months. Every day M-F I take my laptop and head to my local coffee shop. Once there I order an Americano with steamed half and half and settle into my favorite nook.
There are a few tools I always have with me:
- A copy of The Emotion Thesaurus, which helps me figure out what the characters might be feeling and show how that feeling might manifest itself in thoughts or actions.
- A master “Bible” for my series or book so I don’t lose track of what color eyes a character has, the name of her best friend from second grade, or the name of the town’s book store.
- A story calendar, on which I write each scene on the appropriate day of the year. This helps me keep track of time in the story.
- A calendar on which I keep track of how many pages I’m writing. I write six pages a day, which is thirty pages a week. I’m pretty good about staying on track.
During my first draft of the novel, I stay at the coffee shop until my six pages are done. Sometimes it’s a breezy three hours. Other times it’s a tortuous six. Whatever is left of the day is spent on other business—and authors have more than you might think. Filling out marketing forms for the publicity team, writing a guest blog, designing graphics and writing posts for social media sites, responding to an editor’s email, responding to readers on social media, reading a critique partner’s chapters, researching for the novel, managing a street team, calling a publisher or agent, writing a newsletter, or updating the website. There’s plenty to keep a writer busy even when she’s not writing.
During subsequent drafts and edits, my writing days are longer, pushing seven or eight hours. I have a working lunch at the coffee shop that usually consists of a toasted bagel and/or banana eaten over the keyboard, notes spread all around me.
Once the book is done I send it into my editor, imagine the hallelujah chorus is singing in the background. Then I’ll often celebrate with a massage or facial—both of which allow me time to noodle on my next story.
Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 30 novels, including The Convenient Groom and A December Bride which have been made into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on The 700 Club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.
Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.
In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!
When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking good coffee, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband raised three boys and are currently enjoying an almost empty nest.
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More about Summer by the Tides
From the bestselling author of The Convenient Groom (now a beloved Hallmark Original movie) comes a heartfelt story of family secrets, forgiveness, and unexpected romance.
Following a painful betrayal, Maddy Monroe’s love life is a wreck, and her restaurant career is in shambles. When her grandmother goes missing, she and her estranged sisters converge at the family beach house in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma at the place where their family broke apart is a struggle, and undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the sisters under. In the midst of the storm, sparks begin to fly between Maddy and Gram’s maddening neighbor, Connor Murphy.
As the sisters pack up the family belongings, memories of idyllic, slow-paced summers are resurrected. But long-buried secrets also come to light as Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven—nor today in the seemingly perfect lives of her sisters.
As family tensions rise and Connor causes tumult in Maddy’s heart, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they’ve become before the bitterness of the past destroys their hope for a future.
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