Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Tracie Peterson is Marsha Pratt! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com)

This week Denise Hunter is in the spotlight! To win a copy of her Trouble with Cowboys, leave a comment on this post! 

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 23 years. We have 3 sons ages 13, 16, and 20. I’m currently suffering from testosterone poisoning.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I’m a romantic at heart so it’s only natural that I write novels with a strong romantic thread. I’m a believer in happily-ever-after, but I’m also intrigued by what makes people tick, so my books always delve into the psychology of the characters.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

I started dreaming of writing when I was in my early 20s but, newly married and juggling college, then kids, I put my writing dream on the back burner. I was visiting my dying grandfather in the hospital in 1996 when God gave me a wakeup call. One day it would be too late for me to pursue my writing dream. I had a dream, but I needed a plan. A couple weeks later, I began writing my first novel.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

Two years. That first novel did get published (a real blessing!), but believe me, I’ve accrued plenty of rejection slips.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

Unfortunately, I can’t even depend on coffee! I had to give it up when I developed adrenal fatigue. Green tea is a poor substitute, but it’s all I’ve got. ☺ Routine is critical for me. I don’t think I’d get a word written without it. My goal each day is 6 good pages (“good” is so subjective, isn’t it?) After I get my boys off to school, I do my devotions then write. Okay, maybe a little email first. I write until my goal is met, then I give myself a little checkmark on the calendar—it’s my version of a “well done” sticker.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

I’d have to say my best buddies (and authors) Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, and Diann Hunt. We’ve been friends and brainstorming partners for years. Colleen and I are also critique partners. It’s priceless to have someone reading my story as I’m writing it. We can bounce ideas off each other, and if (okay, when) we get stuck, we can talk it through with each other.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

More or less. I think the biggest surprise is how much time an author has to spend on promotional stuff.

What are your biggest distractions?

Email and Facebook.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

Least: promotion. The thing I love most is getting to work at home. My schedule is flexible so writing has allowed me to have my own career and also be a stay-at-home mom.

What is the role and importance of an agent?

The left side of my brain is kind of broken, so I’m thankful for an agent who can handle all the legal stuff. I can’t even figure out what the contract says half the time, so her input is invaluable.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Writing is a craft, so study it and practice, practice, practice. You will get better, and if you keep at it, good things will happen.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

Ugh! My least favorite part of being a writer. ☺ Here goes: Annie Wilkerson is contracted to write a lovelorn column for Montana Living—only trouble is, Annie’s never been in love. When she hires smooth-talking ladies man Dylan Taylor to help, she gets more trouble than she bargained for.

Give us your favorite paragraph from The Trouble with Cowboys.

She paused a minute, her heart skittering across her chest like a marble over a hardwood floor. She told herself she had no choice. She told herself she could handle Dylan Taylor and his flirtatious ways just fine. Then his hand closed over hers, and she felt the same shiver run through her as last time, and no matter what she told herself, she knew she’d just signed up for all kinds of trouble.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

Next I’m starting a new romantic series set in the Midwestern river town of Chapel Springs, IN. The first book, Barefoot Summer, is due out June 2013.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

My books are available at most bookstores and Amazon, etc. You can learn more at my website: www.DeniseHunterBooks.com. I’m also hosting a Facebook party later this month. Be sure to go here to get all the information, sign up to win a Kindle and RSVP for the party!

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

Thanks so much, Suzanne!

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