Monday, March 30, 2015

The Imperfect Hero by Varina Denman

Good morning! I'm pleased to welcome Varina Denman to The Writers Alley today. Varina's novel, Jaded, released last month and focuses on a under-touched topic in Christian circles - being wounded by the Church...and what to do about it? Though set in a fictional world, it portrays the very real hurts Christians can inflict on one another - but also the very real healing God brings from the brokenness.
Welcome, Varina!!

As a child, my favorite stories were Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. Each was a magical fairy tale of a beautiful princess saved by a handsome (and seemingly perfect) Prince Charming. I would read and watch these stories repeatedly, never tiring of the predictable plot because—every time, without fail—the prince saved the damsel, and true love reigned eternal.


When I hit my teen years, I embraced the quest to find my own prince, and soon I married, planning to live happily ever after. Except I didn’t. Sure, my husband was a prince and we were happily married, but my life was no fairy tale. Marriage is difficult, and real men are not storybook characters.


It took me a while to realize I had placed my prince on a pedestal, setting him up for a fall. And it took me even longer to realize I should have placed God on that place of honor long before I went looking for a husband. I had things twisted up a bit, but God and my husband were patient while I figured it out.
Now I’m writing contemporary romance, and every time I start a new book, I tend to draft my hero as a tall, dark, handsome (and seemingly perfect) prince. After all, that’s the character I fell in love with as a girl, the one I dreamed of as a young woman ... but also the one I discovered didn’t exist in real life. Anywhere.


So as I work my revisions and edits, I whittle and polish my hero. If he’s incredibly handsome, then I won’t allow him to be hugely successful. If he’s the CEO of a pharmaceutical company, then he may end up with a receding hair line. If he always says the right thing to make the girl feel better, then he probably has trouble holding down a job. In short, I make the guy REAL.


This is no fun. It reminds me too much of real life when I’d rather disappear into blissful storyland. However, I resist the urge to write perfect stories with perfect characters because of my tendency to get my priorities out of alignment. If I spend eight hours a day creating a flawless man, it makes my real-life husband pale in comparison. (Even though he’s remarkable)


So instead, I write real men—like my real husband—and at the end of the day when I shut down the laptop, my imperfect hero reminds me that even though life is difficult and real men are flawed, it’s all right. This damsel will still be saved. Because my first love, my true Prince Charming, my savior ... is the Lord Jesus Christ.

You can learn more about Varina at her website -


Varina Denman said...

Thanks for hosting me, Pepper. I love your blog!

Pepper Basham said...

So glad to have you here, Varina! And congratulations on your book!

I'm so glad that God gives grace, strength, and healing to those of us who know the sting of pain from our own 'Family'.

And I LOVE writing imperfect heroes. They may be close - but the only perfect Hero is our Savior :-)

Casey said...

So glad to have you here, Varina! There is much to love about a great hero--I personally love the bad boy turned good in my fiction. Thank you for sharing your insight!

Mary Vee Writer said...

I enjoyed readying your visits to other blogs, including mine. Your story here on the Writer's Alley is a-mazing! What an absolute truth you've told...people are real. This is such an important component for writers to grasp.

Thank you Varina for joining us today!