Denise Hildreth Jones: Pages of Life
The inspiration for Denise Hildreth Jones’ latest novel came straight from the pages of her own journal.
Secrets Over Sweet Tea (Tyndale House) is a kind
of follow-up to Denise’s nonfiction book Flying Solo,
which was inspired by the loss of her 13-year marriage.
“What I discovered was that my heart was
completely shut down,” Denise says. “I was just a
shell of a person. And after my divorce, I went on a
desperate journey to find my heart again.”
This is a central theme in Secrets Over Sweet Tea. “You actually walk with characters through the process of seeing them at their most shut-down places, watching [them] walk through real catalytic moments of life and then deciding whether or not their hearts are worth fighting for.” Denise added, “It is extremely personal to my own journey.”
In Secrets Over Sweet Tea, three lives cross paths as a scandal threatens their peaceful existence in Franklin, Tennessee. For Denise, setting the book in Franklin was another personal touch; it’s the place she has called home for over 20 years. She describes Franklin “like this big sigh in the craziness of life. It sits in the middle of the Tennessee hills and has a pace that is just sauntering and a heart that is gracious.” “There is nowhere else on the face of the earth I’d rather live. I count it a privilege to let readers come enjoy this place I call home.”
For Denise, writing about the dangers of secrecy was her way to send a message to readers. “In using secrets my desire was to expose the enemy’s greatest lies to our heart. He loves us to keep secrets. They are his breeding ground for destruction. And I’ve learned that when the enemy’s lies are exposed, God is able to but up into all the secrets and bring truth. When you see people grasp a truth about God, and it sets them free you want other people to know.”
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of FamilyFiction digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!