About Denise

Denise Roosendaal received a Master of Arts in Creative Writing degree in 2015 from Johns Hopkins University and has attended a variety of writing conferences, including those at Wesleyan University, Yale University, and Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has authored a number of short stories and flash fiction pieces. An early version of her short story Speaking of Harleys won an honorable mention by Glimmer Train’s Family Matters contest, 2012.

She is a nonprofit association manager in Washington D.C. and resides in Manassas, VA, with her husband, Pete, and a twenty-year old cat named Sheba. In pre-pandemic times, her writing schedule focused on her one-hour train ride in and out from the city and on her couch on the weekends. In pandemic times, she writes in her house whenever her husband is not entertaining (i.e., distracting!) her with his wit and wisdom.

Originally from Southeastern Virginia, Denise attended the University of Virginia for her undergraduate degree and Syracuse University, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs for a graduate degree in Public Administration. She spends her spare time at her beach house in North Carolina.

Published Works

Speaking of Harleys, short story, 2017,
Origins, Volume 4, 2017: Intersections

Hidden Things, flash fiction, 2019,
A Million Ways: Stories with Substance. AMW3

Work in Progress

Barefoot Over Broken Glass

A completed but, as of yet, unpublished, 90,000-word novel.

The first chapter of her novel, BAREFOOT OVER BROKEN GLASS, was recognized as a semi-finalist in the University of Arizona Book Festival contest 2020. The novel was also a finalist in the Hal Bernard Memorial Award from the Southeastern Writers Association 2020.

Description: In 1961, Clara—a wife, mother, and a hopeful PhD student in history—receives an old photo of herself as a child, attending a lynching and smiling. She has struggled her whole life with her family’s history of racism, and particularly her father’s behavior. He once shattered a beer bottle on the wall behind her after she confessed to telling her Sunday school teacher about the lynching.

When Clara receives news that her father has been injured and may not recover, she travels to her hometown of Zona, Florida, to finally confront him. She’s racked with insecurities about her family’s racism and the impact on her own desire to be a good parent. Clara desires to bring the family secret out into the open but encounters overwhelming obstacles. She learns that without healing from the past, we can’t create our best future. Facing the past includes facing what is in her own heart.