Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fabulous Feature-Evangeline Denmark-Stay (Faraway, So Close!)

Today we welcome author:
Evangeline Denmark

A commenter will win a copy of
Evangeline's book:


Scroll down to see how.

Mary here. I'm so happy to welcome Evangeline Denmark today. Take note of her photo above. I am so amazed. I have read her book and immediately understood the why she chose to have those bottles in the background. My heart stirred after reading her struggles in the post below, struggles so many girls and women face. Evangeline is a new and upcoming star author. Even the cover of her book is dazzling. I asked Evangeline: how has God led you on your writing journey? Here is what she said: 

Stay (Faraway, So Close!)

So I was thinking about how to approach this post and how strange my writing journey might look to an outside observer, and it occurred to me that while it may appear I’ve wandered far away, I’m as close as I’ve ever been to the source of my faith. Whenever the words “far away” and “close” pop into my brain they inevitably bring the U2 song by that name, so there we have it, the title of this blog post.

I started writing ten years ago in January. Yes, it was ten years exactly from the month I began crafting my first novel to the release of my first book. I’d always written. It was natural for me, but in January of 2006 I had a miscarriage and writing took on a different quality. Creativity became the outlet and the healing I needed.

I found myself in fiction. In every book I wrote I faced some question or theme that troubled me. Often I didn’t even know what issue I was confronting until I was a good way into the story, but it became clear that writing was my soul’s wrestling technique.

Pursuing publication made sense considering my mom, Donita K. Paul, had made a name in Christian fiction. I was set to follow in her footsteps. The problem not readily apparent was that I belonged on a different trail. I wrote books about fairies and ghosts that didn’t suit the inspirational market. And when I tried to write more traditionally “Christian” stories my critique group saw right through the attempt and called me out for using Christianese. And I knew they were right.

Adding faith messages went against my instincts, but uncovering deep roots through the magic of creativity made my soul sing. My approach to fiction shifted from trying to impart some principle (which I was never any good at anyway) to eagerly anticipating what mystery would be revealed to me. I thrived on digging deep into strange soil and grasping seeds that looked nothing like an identifiable flower and yet held the blueprints of truth and beauty nonetheless.

I’d reached a turning point. I needed to stop fighting my process and stop trying to fit into a certain box with a clearly stamped label, so I made the decision to pursue publication in the general market.

I wrote Curio with a sense of freedom I’d never experienced before and that freedom soaked into the pages. In the character of Grey Haward I explored being an outsider and the struggle to accept and embrace that otherness. With the rigid oppression of Grey’s home, Mercury City, I pulled on the threads of legalism woven through modern church culture. And in the cruel, beauty-worshipping society within the enchanted curio cabinet I saw reflections of our beauty-obsessed, sexually-exploitive civilization.

But through Grey, Blaise, and Whit’s journeys I also discovered the incredible strength and resilience of young people, and the passion that injustice kindles in those who choose to see it. And because hope is forever pushing back on ugliness, I found the exquisite beauty of first love rippling like a banner of resistance amidst oppression.

This book that I wrote in a state of abandonment found a home with Blink, the general market YA imprint of Zondervan. It’s ironic that I’m straddling markets, finding readers who see symbolism, feminism, adventure, danger, or just a really weird story in Curio. And here I’ll stay, living in an in between space—at home with knowing that I won’t know what I know until I uncover it word by word in my next story.

This has been my journey far away from what I thought was required of a writer of faith, but closer to an understanding of love, beauty, truth and those perfect gifts of Light that we long for soul deep.

Evangeline writes fiction with hints of whimsy, glimmers of fantasy, and strokes of the supernatural. Her debut novel CURIO was an RT Reviews Top Pick for February 2016, and USA Today’s HEA blog called the world-building “two levels of genius.” Evangeline lives in Colorado in a house stuffed full of animals and creative people that would surely go to ruin were it not for the watchful eye of a cattle dog named Willie. 

Evangeline loves to connect with readers. 
You can find her at her:



Trapped within an enchanted curio cabinet where porcelain and clockwork creatures struggle for power, Grey must seek out the only other human in order to get home. But the strange boy disguised as the Mad Tock is on the wrong side of the revolution. Can they learn to trust each other in time to make it out alive?


Enter the contest to win Evangeline's book:
US readers invited to enter!!

Here is how:

1. Leave a comment (and email address)

2. AND sign up to receive my newsletter -in the right column

    (subscribers to Mary Vee's newsletter will receive a special gift)

    AND/OR sign up to receive posts by email if you aren't already

Thank you, Evangeline, for joining us this weekend!

We enjoy chatting with you, Reader, and look forward to reading your comments and questions. Or at least your hi, hello, or hey.

Thanks for stopping by!

Don't forget to comment!


Connie Porter Saunders said...

Mary, thank you for introducing us to Evangeline and her book Curio. Evangeline, you mentioned the doubts you experienced as a writer of faith. Don't we all, at one time or other, have different degrees of faith and don't we all experience feelings of doubt? I wish you continued success in your writing AND in your search for those "perfect gifts of Light that we long for soul deep".
Blessings to both you and Mary!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Good words, Connie. Great encouragement. This book is a perfect read for any teen. Have a daughter, granddaughter, friend, or neighbor? This is the book for them.

Donita K. Paul said...

As Evangeline's mom, I have been blessed with her many stages of writing, starting with vocabulary in school. She'd make up stories using the words. In this small elementary school, her vocabulary lessons would get passed around to the different teachers. When she was in college, I decided she would turn out to be a better writer than I am. She is. So she is the fourth generation writer in the Paul family. And her son is showing signs of carrying on the tradition. Thank you, Lord, for the blessings of the gift You've given us.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Four generations of fabulous writers? Wow. This I know, Evangeline's book is very well done, intriguing, mysterious, engaging, well written, spell binding and a great read!

In case readers are curious, Evangeline is teaching a writing class today with teens. She'll pop in later.

Angie Quantrell said...

I loved reading about the writing journey of Evangeline. I am in the process of fixing my broken Kindle so I can read Curio! Can't wait. I appreciate her struggle in finding her true voice. What a relief to have that figured out! Thank you, Evangeline, for sharing with us. Thanks, Mary! P.S. With such great writers in the family, how could you not become a writer?! Thank the Lord for gifts and blessings. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

I'm so glad you came, Angie.
I agree. . I had no idea when I first asked her. I had read the book and loved it. How amazing to learn the family had authors.
Evangeline's journey is a story of how many feel. What a great ministry Evangeline has to help others. A gift from God.

Evangeline Denmark said...

Hi Connie, yes doubt seems to be a universal human experience, but I think artists wrestle with it more often and more acutely. It's inherent in the process of sharing your art and hoping for a good reaction. Faith really comes to bear when you don't get that human response but feel called to press on anyway. Man, it's not easy!
Thanks so much for the encouragement and good wishes.

Evangeline Denmark said...

LOL. I've got one boy who never stops talking and used to wake up telling stories, and another boy who asks us all to be quiet when certain songs are playing because they make him see stories in his head. Seems the creative gene is strong in our family.
Thank you for your lovely words about Curio, Mary!

Evangeline Denmark said...

Hi Angie! Thank you for your comment and enthusiasm about Curio.

The preponderance of writers in the family is almost becoming funny. At this point if someone said, "I want to be an accountant," we'd all respond, "What? You rebel!" ;)

Donita K. Paul said...

As far as professions, our family gravitates to Engineers or teachers. Then we have our engineer teachers. Evangeline married her engineer. My son is a teacher in the engineering dept. of Purdue, but he teaches them English. My father wrote text books. His mother wrote poetry and the most fantastic letters. That was the age before telephones. I can't wait to see what my grandsons' come up with.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Me either. Stayed tuned :)