Monday, September 18, 2006

Interview with Mary DeMuth

Captain’s Log, Stardate 09.18.2006

Mary DeMuth is one of the COOLEST people on the planet! She is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and she's a wild karaoke singer. She and her family are missionaries in France. I met her online and then met her in person at ICRS in July this year.

Mary’s latest book is Wishing on Dandelions.

At seventeen, Natha admittedly has some trust issues. Though the abuse by a neighbor boy has stopped, Natha is anything but healed. Now her best friend has left for college, the trials of dating have begun, and God, ever since he spoke to her underneath the pecan tree years ago, has remained elusive. So when brash Georgeanne Peach blows in to take over the only place Maranatha's ever called home—leaving trails of fabric swatches and cloying perfume in her wake—she rouses Maranatha's issues with trust.

Like every teenager, Natha tries to sort out the confusing layers of love—of friends, of family, of suitors, and, desperately, of God. Natha struggles to find herself before she gives in to the shadow of a girl she used to be in this moving follow-up to the critically praised Watching the Tree Limbs.
And now, here's the magnificent Mary!

Tell us a little about Wishing on Dandelions and how it continues Maranatha's story. Also, are there other books in the works for more of her story?

I always knew I wanted Mara(natha) to grow up from the first book (Watching the Tree Limbs), but I wasn’t sure exactly how I’d do that. The number 17 kept popping into my head, so I decided to explore Maranatha’s life at seventeen. That meant there could be romance . . . so there’s a very strong romantic thread throughout the book, though it’s certainly not your typical romance, particularly for southern drama.

I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. I simply saw Maranatha riding a bike really fast out of Burl, toward an old burned-out house. So I started writing her doing just that. (You can read the first chapter here: And then this character, Georgeanne Peach, just showed up and made a mess of things. So I took off from there.

I sure hope there is another Maranatha book, but I can’t guarantee it. I’ve mapped out a third book, but as you know, you can lead a horse to water, but…

How can we pray for you and your family's church-planting in France?

Pray that we wouldn’t get discouraged. It’s such a hard, hard place to plant a church, and discouragement lurks around every single corner. The spiritual warfare here is relentless and thick. Pray the Lord would protect my children in the French school system.

Are you planning any novels set there? (I'd read them!)

Yes, I’m working on one now, but I haven’t yet signed the contract so I can’t say much more.

Any juicy/funny/weird France stories?

Um…well…once I tried to communicate with the checkout lady at the grocery store, trying to explain why I had such a large turkey in my basket (for Thanksgiving). I’m embarrassed to say this, but I tried to act like a pilgrim and then a Native American to get my point across. She shook her head.

Once, Aidan’s friend invited him over and asked him to bring his costume (he is a British kid). I thought that was very original, believing that British kids apparently had great imaginations and loved to play make believe and dress up. However, I forgot Aidan’s “costume.” When we got to the house, the boy’s mom said, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. We have a whole drawer of them. Are you sure you don’t mind if Aidan wears one of Timmy’s costumes?” I said no, not at all. Then I chastised myself as I walked home because I had donated all of Aidan’s costumes. I’d ruined his chances at fitting in here in France! What a terrible, terrible mother! Well, turns out, a costume is a SWIMSUIT!!! Aha!!! What an idiot I’ve been in France!!!

A swimsuit??? No way! I'd like to see him as a pilgrim in the pool. LOL

Finish this sentence: Writing a novel is like . . .

Eating Red Vines. Once you start, you just can’t stop.

Now that's something I didn't know about you!

Do you have a favorite scripture verse for your writing?

Jesus wept. No, just kidding. It’s 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, my life verse. “And He has seaid to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Okay, I did warn you I'm a weird and irreverent interviewer, right? If you were an ice cream, what flavor (or kind) would you be and why?

Well, I wouldn’t be pistachio, if that’s what you’re asking. Last fall, I bit into a hunk of pistachio ice cream at a French restaurant, only to find a ROCK in it. It broke a piece off my molar, which then sent me to the French dentist who took like seven visits to do a root canal. It was NOT pleasant. The best ice cream EVER EVER EVER is gelati from Italy. My favorite flavor is hazelnut. So I’d be that. Because I like to be things I like.

Yum! One day I'll make it to Europe for a vacation.

What's your favorite karaoke song and why?

LOL!!! As you know, dear Camy, I’ve only done that once and you were there. So, I’d have to say the most favorite one from that experience was STAYING ALIVE by the BeeGees. Susan Meissner and I did a rip-roaring rendition.

I admit, it was a faboo performance! Oh, and guess what! I finally got around to posting my pictures from ICRS here.

If you could create your own candy bar, what would it be like, and how would it reflect you?

Are you hungry? Is chocolate calling your name, trying to get you to do the raspberry to your diet??? I would be an already-existing AMAZING Lindt chocolate bar. It has dark chocolate, dried cherries, hazelnuts, and nougat bits. It’s heaven on earth, believe you me. It’s sophisticated, naughty, fun, and adventurous…just like me.

You're off the hotseat! Any last words?

Phew! Yes. Everyone needs to email Camy and write this: GET A NOSE RING! Tee hee!

Camy here: BRAT! I'm green with envy at yours. But a part of me is cringing at the pain it would entail. I’m looking forward to seeing you at ACFW conference in a few days!


I posted another "Health and the Writer" post at WriterQuotes, and a query letter post at my Story Sensei blog.

Diet: Dismal. Hopefully I’ll exercise today and also exercise in the hotel gym at the conference. A girl can dream, right?