Dee Henderson is the author of eighteen novels, including Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story, the New York Times bestseller Full Disclosure, the acclaimed O’Malley series, and the Uncommon Heroes series. Her books have won or been nominated for a number of prestigious industry awards, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion.

Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois.

The O’Malley and Uncommon Hero series were breakouts for you as a writer. But what was the first book you sold, and how did that sale come about?

The Marriage Wish was the first story I sold. I had finished the manuscript, and sent a query letter asking if the editor would like to read it. She did, liked the story, and bought it. The process is very much the same today.

How does your faith play into your writing?

I like to know what a character thinks about God. Whether they believe in God or not, interests me. So my stories have a faith thread within them. To write a story that doesn’t mention God feels to me like an incomplete story.

Let’s talk about Unspoken, your latest release from Bethany House (October 2013). Please tell us about it.

Unspoken is a story about a woman with a dark past and the man who loves her and helps her heal. It’s one of the deepest love stories I’ve ever written. I get to that point unfolding a layered look at who this woman is, what happened to her in the past, what Bryce will have to help her face, and what her questions are with God.

The title of the story Unspoken, the opening lines of the book:

I never talk about what happened. There are reasons, good reasons, but I keep those to myself.

mirrors the end of the story where she has begun to talk about what happened. That journey to trust Bryce and talk about her past is the spine of this love story.

Charlotte deals with a number of detours during the course of the story. Some are God sent. Others are brought about by evil. Yet, in the end, God is able to use her divergent path to bring about good. Have you ever experienced a detour in life that God ultimately used for the good?

God has plans for all of us that are unexpected and don’t fit our definition of how we would like life to unfold. I think that is normal. I’ve always ended up in that ‘broad place’ God describes on the other side of the problem. It always comes eventually.

Unspoken is a complex story with a lot of unexpected twists. Did you systematically preplan each major plot turn? Or did the story unfold on paper as you sat down to write each day?

I start a story when I know my characters well enough to answer the question who is he? who is she? what happens? And I then let the two of them unfold the scenes as they interact with each other. I knew Bryce would discover who Charlotte was over time, I knew Charlotte would trust Bryce with the details of her past only when she was certain she could trust him, and I knew Charlotte and Bryce would be married in the last third of the book. The rest of the book details about what had happened in the past and what unfolded in the present day story, were often surprises to me that I would figure out as I wrote a scene. The pieces were all there from earlier in the story, but I didn’t them together in my own mind until late in the writing.

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

I just finished the carton of Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream while working on a story idea this afternoon.

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

Not musical talent. I paint as a pure amateur.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

Something slow and peaceful.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

I’m the girl next door.

I’m a dog lover. I know you are too, and you often include dogs in your stories. Please tell us about your real life pets.

I love dogs as one is often my company in the office during days writing. I’m partial to big dogs, collies and huskies and medium size ones like shelties.

Thank you, Dee! It’s an honor to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.

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For a list of Dee’s books, visit her website. Click here to view the trailer for Unspoken.

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