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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Spotlight on....Mary DeMuth

This week's spotlight author was a recent "hit" at the national ACFW Conference in Dallas. Everyone who attended her continuing session came out inspired and encouraged. I'm honored to feature her here so you can learn more about her and her latest book too.

And as always, post a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of Mary's latest release...Wishing on Dandelions. Please also tell your friends and other fiction readers about this blog. The more the merrier! :)

From Mary: I'm so thankful to be a part of Amber's blog today. Thanks to all of you who've stopped by. I am a nonfiction and fiction author, writing from the south of France where my family and three other families are endeavoring to plant a church. My books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), Watching the Tree Limbs and Wishing on Dandelions (NavPress, 2006). When I'm not writing or church planting or cooking or helping my kids with homework, I enjoy hiking, running, making small-scale art projects, and leading worship. My life's message is that God's redemption shines brighter in impossible situations.

1. You once again crafted a moving tale and emotional follow-up to your previous book, Watching the Tree Limbs. In Wishing on Dandelions, Maranatha's longing for the reassurance of God's love--while she sorts through her understanding of other kinds of love--resonated from page 1 to the last. Were there any of your experiences which helped craft Natha's character? What aspects of Natha became traits that were hers and hers alone?

I have struggled my life through trying to understand and feel God's love, so in that sense, I have walked this same path with Natha. Having grown up in a difficult home, I often felt like I deserved what came my way, as did Maranatha. That bred in me a keen need to understand (and often to disbelieve) God’s love for me. What's different about Natha is that she had more folks in her life really trying to help her see God's love. She had a posse of people who made it their aim to help her.

2. What themes exist in in Wishing on Dandelions that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Shame and guilt evolved over the manuscript. Initially, Uncle Zane did NOT have a stroke, but adding that helped solidify Maranatha's struggle with overwhelming guilt, feeling like the stroke was her fault. So that one evolved. I also want the reader to see how fear prevents us from really living life, how it keeps us living half-dead. And of course, I want readers to see God's relentless pursuit of love for His children and how He often uses unlikely characters to show us that love in surprising ways.

3. What was your most difficult part to write? Your favorite?

The most difficult was Georgeanne. I wanted to make her really heinous, but as I kept writing her, she started endearing herself to me. Isn't that how our "enemies" are? We try to make them out to be villains, only to see spots and pieces of redemption sticking out from their prickly facades. My favorite part was writing the love story. I have always shied away from writing romance, but I found I really enjoyed setting Maranatha's love story to words.

4. Describe your writing space and schedule. How many words per day do you write? Do you have a minimum goal you hope to reach before you push away your keyboard?

I'm attaching a picture here. I write in my bedroom. We live in this little three story villa, with our bedroom tucked under the eaves of the third story. There is a five foot by five foot nook in one corner where I have my desk crammed, along with lots of pictures, a filing cabinet and a printer. It's pretty cramped, and I long for my own office someday.

When I'm on fiction deadline, I write about 2000 words a day. On non-fiction, about 1500 words. I tend to see my goals in weekly increments, though, so for fiction, by the end of the week I will have made myself type 10,000 words.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

The next book coming out is tentatively titled Postmodern Parenting. It releases next July. It's a book for parents who are trying to raise their kids in this postmodern world. In a sense, it's a response to so many of those do-these-ten-steps-to-raise-godly-kids books. Sometimes formulas fall short. My main premise in that book is that what is inside us as parents (our hearts) is what we will duplicate in our children. We go full-bent superimposing methods upon ourselves, but we neglect to let Jesus change our hearts.

I also have a novel releasing sometime in 2008, but it's not written yet so I can't tell the story.

Thank you, Mary, for joining me in the spotlight.


Cherie said...

Great interview! it is always great to learn about a new author.

Cherie Japp

Mary DeMuth said...

Hi Cherie,

It's always great to learn about a potential new reader! And thanks so Tiff/Amber for hosting me here!

Shannon McNear said...

Oooh! Very nice interview. I especially love the peek into other writers' personal space ... and Mary, thank you so much again for sharing your heart with us at the conference. I only got to sit in on ONE session (I did buy the recordings and look forward to lapping those up), but it was just what I needed ... you spoke on things the Lord has been showing me this past year. How awesome to have His words confirmed.