It’s my great pleasure and honor to have author Mary E. DeMuth on my blog today. Mary started out as a newsletter editor, then moved on to be a novelist, columnist and freelance writer. Originally from Seattle, her family Texas to become church planters in Nice, France. She’s a Christ follower, wife, mother of three, and has a heart for God you just can’t miss. Her latest releases include a non-fiction parenting book titled Building the Christian Family You Never Had and a fiction title Watching the Tree Limbs.
DM: Mary, thank you so much for stopping by. I just love reading your posts on the ACFW loop and exploring your awesome website and blogs. Can you tell us what’s behind the “passion to communicate truth through relevant prose”?
MD: God has done so much in my life—a real overhaul of my soul—that I want to proclaim it to the rooftops. And I love to proclaim that through the avenue of well-crafted words.
DM: When did the light turn on, so to speak, that writing was what God had called you to do?
MD: I wrote a bit about this on my blog (www.relevantblog.blogspot.com) where I’m serializing my road to publication. One instance: I wrote a short story called “Five Hearts One Hand” When I was finished, I felt God’s presence so strongly. I knew I’d be writing stories for His renown. Then, before I finished my proposal for Building the Christian Family You Never Had, I brought a chapter to the Dallas Christian Writers Guild. I wondered if writing this book was a mistake. But after someone read the chapter out loud, I glanced around the large circle. Several folks were crying. I felt then that God was up to something.
DM: Wow, that must have been amazing. You seem to have many roles, especially in writing. How do you keep track of it all?
MD: I don’t know. It’s hard. I am a church planter, a mommy trying to raise my kids in another culture, a writer, a worship leader, a publications person. It’s pretty darn crazy. I try to remember to be kind to myself, to take runs (because that’s when the Lord pours into me), and to rest on Sundays.
DM: Mary, you’ve written both fiction and non-fiction books. Do you have a preference? And do you write both in similar manner or do you plan one and write SOTP on the other?
MD: I prefer both for different reasons. I’m utterly jazzed by writing fiction because I believe my strength is storytelling. But with nonfiction, I tend to have a broader audience.
DM: As a writer, what do you find most challenging in your work?
MD: Keeping my soul quieted, particularly about worrying about sales. It’s like pregnancy. You read all those pregnancy books and then something strange happens: a baby is born. And you have to know what in the world to do with the baby! So, yeah, I’m published, but now what? There are so many more stresses once you’ve grasped that golden apple.
DM: Tell us about your latest book, WATCHING THE TREE LIMBS. What has this book meant to you?
MD: It’s the book of my heart. It poured out of me like an overzealous garden hose. It’s my hope that many, many will read this book and set it down encouraged. God sees. Even the most horrific of abuses. And He can heal.
DM: As a former European transplant, I remember well the challenges of living abroad. What have you found most challenging about living in a foreign country?
MD: Not being able to communicate my heart. I speak like a three-year-old here. As someone who makes a living (sort of!) from my words, it’s terribly disconcerting to not be able to communicate.
DM: Do you find your experiences living abroad seeping into your writing? What influence does it have?
MD: The Lord has taken me through a very dark almost two-year valley here in France. So my heart has been changed, stretched, pulled. I believe there is more depth to my writing now because of the trials of moving away from home and starting a church in a relatively hostile culture.
DM: What do you feel God is directing you to write about for the future? Do you see a need that is un-ministered to or overlooked?
MD: I want to write about hypocritical homes and their effects on children.
DM: Can you share a little more about that? What do you see happening to these children?
MD: I’m speaking here about parents who appear to be Christians, who say all the right words in public but don’t live out Jesus’ teaching in private. The Lord has brought many adults across my path recently who were raised in homes like this. It’s pretty crazy-making. Kids who grow up in homes like this either resent God or have to go through an intense process of coming to understand authentic Christianity. So much of parenting, we think, has to do with task—saying and doing all the “right” things. But my theory is that it always boils down to the heart. What is in our hearts will come out in our children’s lives. Thankfully, God is gracious and supersedes it all, but it’s still important that we as Christian parents not only speak Christianity, but live it.
DM: Mary, thank you so much for sharing yourself with us. I can see how your work and writing blesses so many people.
MD: Thanks so much! It’s been a joy to be here.
Don’t miss our on Mary’s website. It’s packed with all kinds of information about writing, her work, life in France, and some very yummy recipes. Her latest book Wishing on Dandelions releases September 15.