Book Reviews

A Glimpse at DEN

Greetings, friends! As someone who seeks to glorify God through writing, I like to support other authors who desire to do the same. In addition to being a literary agent, Hope Bolinger is an author of young-adult literature who has written a trilogy inspired by Biblical accounts! Her second book, Den, releases in a few days and is inspired by Daniel and the lions’ den. (Sounds cool, doesn’t it?!) Book 1, Blaze, is currently available for purchase.

Today, I’d like to share Hope’s thoughts on the Blaze trilogy and her upcoming release, but first, let’s take a look at the blurb for Den:

Danny Belte barely survived his sophomore year at King’s Academy, having to deal with horrible initiation practices, stomach-churning cafeteria food, and the constant threat of arson.

His junior year doesn’t start off much better. Facing a series of mysterious suicide attempts that begin on day one — and a disturbing pattern that appears to connect them — Danny has a feeling something far more sinister is at play. He tries to narrow down a list of suspects as those closest to him disappear, one by one.

Can he protect his friends from a possible murderer on the loose? Or will he find himself trapped in a fate worse than a lions’ den?

Now, here is a glimpse inside the series and writing process with Hope Bolinger:

Where did you come up with the idea for the Blaze trilogy?

“It all started in an Old Testament class in college, and we were covering the book of Daniel. The teacher had mentioned Daniel and his friends would’ve been teenagers when taken into the Babylon captivity. That astounded me. Here we have these teens who are literally standing up to kings who want to stamp out their identity. I wanted to see what that would look like in a modern-day high school. Thus, I created the trilogy.”

So, break down the trilogy for us.

“Gladly, the first book covers Daniel 1-3, which is essentially everything leading up to the story about the fiery furnace.

The second book, Den, takes us to the lions’ den (Daniel 4-6).

And the last book, which the publisher is currently reviewing, covers the last half of the book, all those weird trippy visions. Fun stuff.”

What was the most fun part about writing Den?

“I love the drama and the newer characters. I really tried to flesh them out and give them a good backstory. They all have a little method to their madness (no, really, one does go mad). I had so much fun that I wrote this book in 27 days. I didn’t get much sleep …”

What was the hardest part?

“I realized I bit off a lot with this one. I had several moving parts to deal with and feared I wouldn’t get all the loose ends tied by the end. It ended up working out, but man, did I cut some of those elements down to the wire.”

What is the hardest part about the publishing process?

“Oh boy, just one? I’d say the hardest part overall is you really don’t get to hear a lot of feedback. You assume, besides reviews, that your book got launched into some void. When one of the teachers from my old high school told me, “One of my students read Blaze twice. That’s how much he loved it,” I almost fell out of my chair.

She’d told me that after Vision (the third book in the series) just had missed the contract. The pub board found lots of stuff that needed to be fixed.

The hardest part is worrying that you did hundreds of hours of work for nothing.”

What is the best part?

“Sort of in line with the last response, when you do hear reader feedback. When readers leave you voicemails yelling at you for leaving them on a nasty cliffhanger in the first book. When your church says, “Oh yeah, let’s do a launch party for Den, so exciting.”

It feels like you’ve been heard, and it makes all the painful hours of editing and rejection worth it.”

Tell us three unique facts about yourself.

“Besides all the weird writing stuff, I have swam with sharks, am an extra in the movie “The Song,” (look at the blur in the front row at the Amsterdam concert scene), and I wear costumes in public for no apparent reason. Might as well embrace the childlike wonder before adulthood completely consumes me.”

Any advice to writers?

“Oh, goodness, so much, but most importantly: trust the process.

If God wants your story to be heard, He will find a way to make it happen. It may take years. You may not do the traditional route like I had, but He will help the message reach who it needs to reach.”


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Hope’s new book, Den, releases July 26, 2020. To add to your reading list, or purchase a digital copy, click HERE.

God bless you, and have a wonderful day!

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