Today I welcome to the Edge the dearest of friends, Mary DeMuth, so that we can chat about her new novel, The Muir House. Mary is a gift to me; she is a master wordsmith, wise about so many things, and truly loves God with all her heart. It is always a pleasure to welcome her here. Her latest work of fiction, The Muir House, is set in her current hometown, Rockwall, Texas, and centers around a house and woman with memories hidden inside it. (Stay tuned! Giveaway details at the end of the post!)
The main character, Willa, returns to Rockwall, Texas, after turning down a marriage proposal to a great guy. Something in her past prevents her from being able to say yes and she is compelled to find out what it is. She journeys to Muir House Bed and Breakfast, a former funeral home. From the publisher’s description: “But the old place holds her empty memory close to itself. Willa’s mother utters unintelligible clues from her deathbed, and the caretaker of the house keeps coveted answers carefully protected. Throw in an old flame, and Willa careens farther away from ever knowing the truth. Set in a growing suburb of Texas, The Muir House explores trauma, healing, love new and old, and the life-changing choices people make to keep their reputations intact.”
Edgewise: Where does the name Muir House come from?
Mary: From my brain. Actually I did a little research on the word “wall” and found Muir to be a variation of that. Le mur is a French word, meaning The Wall. There is a house redecoration metaphor throughout the book, and Willa, the main character, has many internal walls guarding her heart.
Edgewise: Oooh, I love that. Tell me, who are you in the story?
Mary: I have tried and tried to uncover a mystery from my past to no avail. Here’s a post about it: http://www.marydemuth.com/2011/07/no-matter-your-past-you-can-still-leap-into-life/ But along the way, I learned the hard way that no matter what you do or don’t uncover, that’s no excuse to stop living or withdraw from relationships.
Edgewise: Very good advice, that. What does Willa want and how did you discover how to give it to her?
Mary: She wants to be whole, but she’s pretty confused and needy. I took the journey with her, and found that the steady love of some surprising people in her life helped her find wholeness.
Edgewise: Steady love always moves us into restoration, doesn’t it? What did you learn about yourself in writing Muir House?
Mary: Actually, that I love a good love story.
Edgewise: Ditto, sister!! Did you learn anything new about God?
Mary: He is very, very, very patient with humanity.
Edgewise: Double ditto. What was it like using the city you are living in as your setting?
Mary: It was a blast. Just yesterday I walked around the downtown square and gave the book to several merchants. I love my town, so this was my way of giving back.
Edgewise: Did any of these characters surprise you?
Mary: Blake, Willa’s other love interest, had a lot of surprises up his sleeves.
Edgewise: I love it when a character knows how to make good use of his sleeves. Is there a common thread between Muir House, a stand-alone, and your two trilogies?
Mary: Yes, I always seem to write a mystery with some suspense built in, and I tend to focus on outcasts, so those elements are certainly there. The setting continues to be southern.
Edgewise: I love it that you have a heart for the outcast. My oldest son is like that. And it’s very Jesus of you. That was what people in Jesus’ day understood the least about him; that he offered grace to people like the promiscuous Samaritan woman, the hated tax collector, a demon-possessed prostitute, a Roman centurion. What was it like writing a stand-alone story?
Mary: Liberating. Joyful. Fun.
Edgewise: Tres magnifique! I do believe that’s French for “Awesome!”What’s next on the horizon for you?
Mary: I need a vacation! I think I need to come to San Diego to Cher Meissner and look for hidden treasures at the beach.
In terms of writing, I’ll be writing a nonfiction book that might just kick my behind. And I’ll continue to promote The Muir House (Link: http://amzn.to/lQUf0x ) and my first ebook, The 11 Secrets of Getting Published (link: http://bit.ly/jvgGsi)
Thanks for being here, Mary!