Hey, readers! I’m always astounded by writers whose eloquent phrases lend themselves not only to beautiful fiction but engaging and thought-provoking nonfiction as well. Denise Hildreth Jones is one of these writing marvels. Along with Secrets over Sweet Tea, a charming Southern novel about secrets in a small Tennessee town, Denise also penned Reclaiming Your Heart, a nonfiction companion guide to aid emotional and spiritual healing.
This month on Tyndale’s Book Club Hub, Reclaiming Your Heart is our pick. It’s a great read for anyone who has ever said, “Those were the best days of my life.” Sharing stories from her own journey and from others she’s walked alongside, Denise will help you identify ways you’ve given your heart to “lesser gods” like performance, people pleasing, and control. You’ll discover how to find your way back to God’s design for your life—to laughing, loving, and living life to the fullest.
Whenever I read a book, I’m always curious about what the writer is like. Where did they glean their inspiration from? What drives them? Today we’re lucky to have Denise here to tell us a little about herself and her new books.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a pretty simple girl. Southern to the core. I came from two great parents who have been beautifully broken. I grew up in a preacher’s home and a pretty legalistic denomination, which left me with deep wounds and some rather fractured thoughts about my heavenly Father. I fell in love with Jesus when I was little. And I fell in love with football, too. SEC football. I also fell in love with reading and the powerful gift of storytelling. I fell in love with a man in my early twenties and built a life with him, and in building that life I shut down my heart. A heartbreaking divorce was the catalyst to real healing, asking some difficult questions of my heart, and an undoing, if you will, of so many legalistic lies I had believed about my heavenly Father.
What is your favorite genre to read/write? Are they the same?
Southern fiction is truly my favorite. It is the only thing I know to write, and what I love to read most. I love the verbiage and nuance of the South. The way we touch people. The way we are convinced we’re related to everyone. The way we always have enough leftovers to have an entire meal for the family that drops by. It’s just a magical place and what I know.
In your nonfiction title, Reclaiming Your Heart, you talk about the process you went through to reclaim your own heart after a devastating divorce. Was it difficult to write about that?
Sure. Telling your story is never easy. But what I have also learned in the last fifteen years of teaching is that people connect most to us when we are transparent. The most impactful moments of teaching for me seem to come when I lay out the pain of my own story and someone’s heart says, If she can walk through a divorce and God can still use her, then maybe there is hope for me. That is worth being vulnerable enough to reveal old scars. And it also gives me the opportunity to encounter all the healing God has done in my own heart.
Thank you, Denise, for being open with us today and allowing us a little window into what led you to pen Reclaiming Your Heart.
Intrigued by the idea of writing a fiction and nonfiction book together? Follow Denise on her journey to pen Reclaiming Your Heart and Secrets Over Sweet Tea.
Denise can be found online . . .
At her website:
Thanks for reading!