Saturday, April 29, 2017

Character interview with Cecily Ross (based on the novel Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman)

Varina Denman enjoys writing fiction about women and the unique struggles they face. Her novels include the Mended Hearts trilogy: JadedJustified, and Jilted, as well as her latest release, Looking GlassLies. She seems to have a knack for describing small town life, and her debut novel, Jaded, won the ACFW Genesis Contest, the BRMCWC Selah Award, and the INSPYs Bloggers’ Award for Excellence in Faith-Driven Literature.
Varina attended three universities over a span of five years, majoring in four subjects and earning zero degrees. However, she can now boast sixteen years as a home educator, volunteering in her local cooperative where she has taught numerous subjects including creative writing and literature. Varina lives in North Texas where she volunteers in local marriage and family ministry. She is represented by Jessica Kirkland of Kirkland Media Management.

Looking Glass Lies: A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations.
For most of her adult life, Cecily Ross has compared herself to other women—and come up short. After a painful divorce from her emotionally abusive husband, Cecily returns to her hometown of Canyon, Texas, looking to heal.
But coming home isn’t what she expects. In a town as small as Canyon, her pain is difficult to escape—especially with her model-perfect ex–sister-in-law working at the town’s popular coffee-shop hangout. With help from her father, a support group, and an old friend who guides her to see her own strengths, Cecily may have a shot at overcoming her insecurities and learning to love again.
The true test comes when tragedy strikes, opening Cecily’s eyes to the harmfulness of her distorted views on beauty—and giving her the perfect opportunity to find peace at last.

Heidi here. I read Looking Glass Lies about a month ago and let me tell you, it was an amazing, amazing read. My review of it is here. I interviewed Varina a couple of years ago and you can see that interview hereso instead of an author interview, today we’re going to interview the main character of Looking Glass Lies Cecily Ross!

Inspiration for Cecily Ross, main character  in Looking Glass Lies
Cecily, welcome to our blog today. It was wonderful meeting you in Looking Glass Lies. When I first met you, you were a broken woman, but today you’ve . . . healed. I wonder, what made you stay with Brett for all those years when you knew you were unhappy?

Well, I truly loved Brett (at least at one point), and I remembered a time when he loved me back. But in the last few years, I admit, I was motivated by pride, embarrassment, and fierce determination. In my eyes, the only thing worse than a failed marriage, was everyone knowing I had a failed marriage. Besides … I just kept thinking things would get better.

So you stayed with your cheating husband, Brett, because of other people's perception of you. Sad. I am glad that you eventually did get out and returned to your home town to attempt to heal. While you were married, many nights you slept in the large walk-in closet, why? Were you hoping to get Brett's attention? Did you think that somehow he'd notice you?

It’s humiliating to think about that now, but yes, I suppose I wanted to get Brett’s attention. But that’s only part of the reason. Probably more than anything, I was mentally and emotionally hiding. Hiding from Brett, hiding from the world and its expectations, even hiding from myself and all the pressure I placed on myself. The closet felt safe to me back then, and when I crawled beneath the hanging clothes, I felt almost like a small child, being held in the arms of my mother. Silly, I know.

No, not silly, I can understand the need to get away from it all. To feel safe. So, when your mother died, do you think that you fully grieved over her death?

Definitely not. At the time, I was too young to know the difference, but now I can see that I didn’t know the first thing about grieving. Not that there’s a right way or a wrong way, but I wasn’t taking any way. I was “stuck in a rut” of denial, or something, and in my mind, everything my mother ever said to me took on a larger-than-life importance. I think I internalized much of my grief, and it sort of ate me up inside.

It seems like your mother's death, in a way, defined you and your behavior as an adult in many ways. Why did you stop playing the piano?

I haven’t ever really thought about that, so it’s funny that you should ask. Hmm. Let me think. The last time I regularly played the piano was in college, after I married Brett. A few years into our marriage, I quit school though, and when I quit, I didn’t practice as much. Then I gradually stopped playing altogether. I guess it ought to have been obvious to me, because it seems clear now: music was part of my life when I was happy. The unhappier I became, the less I played … until I turned my back on music completely. It makes me sad to think of it now.

Do you think, at some point in your life, you can put the past behind you and fully trust a man?

I … think so? I hope so. God has brought me a long way through a lot of muck where I thought I would be mired forever. So I guess if He can bring me this far, then He can help me to trust men again.

Cecily, thank you for stopping by to visit with us today, it was nice getting to know you a little better. I hope you get your happily ever after . . . with someone special!

Heidi, thank you for inviting me. It’s been a pleasure visiting with you and your readers today!

Readers: we are doing a giveaway, so leave you email addy for an autographed paperback of Looking Glass Lies. US and Canada.


  1. Thank you for sharing about this book - I am glad that God is healing you - He truly is able to help us rise from the muck and mire. I am so sorry that you suffered so under an unfaithful husband and glad you found the courage to escape and share with others what you experienced. I'm praying that through the power of words others are helped by reading your story.

  2. Heidi, thank you for hosting me (and Cecily) on your blog today!

    1. Happy to have you and Cecily join us today!!!

  3. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing, Varina. I'm thankful for God's amazing touch upon your life and the way He has allowed you to share your past and His grace and mercy through writing. Working with survivors, I truly encourage them to read books that nonfiction and fiction to see they are not
    alone but others have experienced similar situations. God's blessings and continued healing.
    marilynridgway78 at gmail [dot[com

    1. Marilyn, I agree one hundred percent! During any trial, one of the greatest comforts is knowing that you aren't the only one who's ever been through it. Thanks for your kind words. :)

  4. Loved the interview and looking forward to seeing more of Cecily's story! Varina, you really have a God-given gift of reaching others through your words!

    1. Connie, thank you so much! That means a lot to me. :)

  5. Varina is an author that I need to get around to reading! I know I have at least one of her books on my TBR shelf.


  6. Patty, I encourage you to read her novels. Her Mended Hearts Trilogy is awesome, but Looking Glass Lies is unbelievable, a break from her prior novels. It is very raw and emotional. You'll love it!