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!

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About The Author

Denise Hildreth is a novelist and international speaker. She has spoken for the last ten years to women's ministries, churches, and for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Her novels have been featured in Southern Living; hailed as "smart and witty" by Library Journal; and chosen for the Pulpwood Queen's and Women of Faith book clubs.