Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Life In Defiance BIRTHDAY PARTY!! Interviews, Give Aways and Lots of fun!!

What a thrill and a joy it is to welcome Mary DeMuth to my Window, and to throw a PARTY for her latest book, Life in Defiance! Folks, this trilogy has rocked my heart off its foundations at times, and I want to encourage you to consider purchasing and devouring this trilogy. It really is amazing!
Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn were my introduction to Mary's work, and it really made me consider very deeply how my faith holds in the storms of life. Joining me here today, Mary discusses her final book in the Defiance, Texas series, Life in Defiance. This book brings some closure, but more importantly, it brings God's grace and mercy into perfect clarity. Welcome, Mary!

“When a woman’s free of a burden, a burdened woman can see it. And gets jealous.” (p. 70)

This quote seems to encapsulate the relationship between Emory and Ouisie. These two share so much, and Emory winds up being a very unlikely teacher, friend and life preserver in this story. Tell us how the idea of this very unusual bond formed in your heart and mind. Why Emory? Why would Ouisie ever open herself up to that relationship?

I wanted to explore grace in relationships, particularly between two very wounded women. And to top that off, Emory has wounded Ouisie in a very painful, specific way. Perhaps it all started when I read the book As We Forgive by Catherine Claire Larson. In that book she details true accounts of the Rwandan holocaust and how the victims of those atrocities came to forgive the people who inflicted them. I felt like I had a small idea of forgiveness at the end of that book. If they could forgive so much, why couldn’t I forgive? So I explored what “forgiving much” looked like between the two women.

The characters of Hixon and Elijah seem to be types of “angels unawares” that are mentioned in the Bible from time to time. Have you ever experienced hope and help from a source that seemed to be only “for such a time as this” and then left as suddenly as they came? Are these characters based in your own reality of this experience? Does everyone experience this from time to time?

Yes, when I was a short term missionary in Malaysia at the end of the 1980s, I was left alone very late at night on a train platform in Singapore. I had no way of finding my lodging and no taxis were running. Out of nowhere this woman found me, located a taxi, hefted my suitcases (she was tiny) into the trunk of the taxi, and gave him specific instructions where to find the place I was staying (it was a very difficult place to find). She shut my door. I turned around to see her, to roll down my window and thank you, but she had disappeared. I can’t say I’ve seen anything like this since, so it’s probably not normative!

Jed and Sissy are two very resilient children. Readers can’t help but ache for all they must endure. Have you ever thought about a second generation of stories based upon their lives? What is the most important thing we can learn from their characters?

That’s a great idea...a second generation telling of how they now cope as adults. Children are very resilient, yes, but they’re also entirely fragile. I expect that they’ll survive their crisis, but (like me) will fall apart later in life when they’re better able to handle what went on “back then.”

Hap Pepper is a man I think I can honestly say I learned to hate. There were many times I wanted Ouisie to stand up for herself and fight back. There are times I think I’d have killed him with my bare hands had I been in her shoes. Why did Ouisie even try to mend such a broken marriage? Why did she feel obligated to study “How to be a godly wife” when Hap was so obviously the one who needed help? Is this one area where the Bible can be used more as a battering ram than a help to those in need?

So many battered women (particularly in the church) feel like they’re to blame somehow. They really feel like there’s no way out, so they try very hard to improve themselves. Although this is not my story, my husband and I have helped a few wives who have been in battered situations (who were married to seminary students, pastors, missionaries). Because of their position, it makes it even harder to try to get help.

Why is it so hard for Christians to realize that their sins of pride, self-righteousness and an unwillingness to reach out to others are just as repugnant as the sins of substance and physical abuse? Why are we so eager to judge others when our own lives are in spiritual shambles?

Because none of us like to look at our own stuff. It’s easier to point out specks in others than yank out the log of pride in our eyes.

How difficult was it to write this trilogy? These books reveal some very painful and personal realities in the lives of every believer. What is the one thing you hope readers take away from this experience with the characters of Defiance, Texas?

It was a difficult experience, particularly as a storyteller. I had three plots, all subsequent, that needed to be tied up in book three. Not easy. And what I dealt with in the books was deep too: neglect, abuse, substance abuse, murder, judgmentalism, legalism, etc. But I want readers to come away with the beauty of the fringe characters. The love of Hixon. The enigma of Elijah. The heart of Bald Muriel.

Defiance is really the state of every soul, is it not? We are all Living in Defiance to some degree or another. Why do we so readily reject the grace that is offered to us?

Probably because we either believe the lie that it’s not available for the likes of us, or we think we’re above grace. Neither is true. God sees us, offers us grace, and longs for us to walk in it.

So now, an obvious question…what’s next? How on earth do you leave our beloved Defiance characters behind?

I will miss them, that’s for sure. I’m writing a standalone novel right now that I’m really enjoying, and I’m playing with a love story. Very fun.

What is God doing in your life right now that is particularly exciting?

He is asking me to slow down, say no, and truly understand my life’s mission. All difficult but exciting things.

Are there closing words of encouragement you’d like to share with your readers?

Authentic Christianity is available to anyone willing to be real with Jesus and others. It’s not worth it to live in secrets or lies. Let go. Just let go. Be real. Be loved by God.

Mary has graciously chosen to offer the entire Defiance Trilogy as her birthday gift to you! To be entered to win, please leave a comment and your contact information on this post. If your name is drawn, Mary will send you autographed copies of her books!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Life in Defiance!!


Mocha with Linda said...

I just love Mary. Seeing into the heart of the author makes good books even better.

Although I would love to have autographed copies, I already have this trilogy so don't enter me.

Virginia C said...

What a great reason for a party! Congratulations to a fearless author who tackles the toughest issues with depth and sensitivity! I'd love to win!

US Resident, Follower, Subscriber

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Mary DeMuth said...

I don't need to win! I have a closet full of books, but I wanted to thank you for reading, reviewing and highlighting Life in Defiance and the series. You've been such a blessing!

whimzie said...

Great interview! This trilogy is on my list of books that I want to read! What a great opportunity to win them! Thank you!

snoodlings at live dot com

Andrea Schultz said...

Thanks for the interview with a lovely lady - from another lovely lady! I'd love to read all three; thanks for the opportunity!

Blessings -


Please swing by my blog for book reviews and giveaways - http://andrealschultz.blogspot.com


Lisa L Keck said...

I enjoyed Mary's writing in Thin Places and the thoughts she shared. It looks like I'm missing something by not finding her sooner. I would love the trilogy. I too write and hope to grow up to be like Mary--imparting truth in a style that encourages reading.

Grandmommy said...

Mary is a great writer and I can't wait to read Life in Defiance.
Karen Arthur

Unknown said...

Great interview! I have never read Mary's books before but these sound like wonderful reads and i will have to start looking for them! I think I could really get into reading this trilogy!


karenk said...

what a fabulous giveaway! i'm a huge fan of mary's novels.

karenk said...

ooops...i forgot to post my email address on my previous comment...so sorry.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Julia M. Reffner said...

I found you from Mocha with Linda and now I find this beautiful interview with one of my absolute favorite authors. Mary's novels are so beautiful and filled with such grace. I love the way she weaves faith into her novels and I love hearing about her heart for the hurting. Thanks for a great interview.


Julia M. Reffner said...

I found you from Mocha with Linda and now I find this beautiful interview with one of my absolute favorite authors. Mary's novels are so beautiful and filled with such grace. I love the way she weaves faith into her novels and I love hearing about her heart for the hurting. Thanks for a great interview.


Kim said...

Virginia C. Your name was drawn for this awesome give away!! Be looking for my email!!


Virginia C said...

Thank you so very much! I am quite delighted to have won : ) I have emailed my info.