Mary’s Daisy Chain

The moment I saw the cover for my dear friend Mary DeMuth’s new book, Daisy Chain, I was drawn. Mary’s keen talent for the art of story, her authentic voice, her passion for relevant prose – these were already known to me. The haunting cover clinched it. I knew I wanted to get my hands on that book. I was thrilled to get an advance review copy and I was, not suprisingly, carried away by her melodic flair for dramatic Southern fiction.

Mary doesn’t waste anything when she writes, and she takes in the world – in all its beauty and ugliness – to tell a story. She doesn’t back away from the hard truths, and I admire that. Most stories that touch your heart have to wound it a little first.

The story in nutshell is this: The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control-Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom. Here’s Mary in her own words:

Susan: Mary, Where did you get the idea for the book?
Mary: I had a friend who shared a difficult story with me. He grew up in a Christian home. His father was in leadership in the Christian community. From the outside, all looked perfect. But behind closed doors, life was very, very hard. I wanted to expose that kind of abuse. That’s why the idea of family secrets plays heavily into all three books of the Defiance, Texas trilogy.
Susan : What themes have you woven into the fabric of the story?
Mary: The importance (and elusiveness) of authenticity.The devastation of maintaining and keeping family secrets.Redemption comes from surprising people.Feeling guilty doesn’t always equal reality. True friendship involves sacrifice.

Susan: So, how do you research a book like this?
Mary: Having lived in East Texas for two years, I absorbed a lot of the geography and colloquialisms of the area. A lot of my research happened as I wrote. I also researched battered wives and police procedure (Thanks, Officer Woodruff).

Susan: Is there a character in Daisy Chain that you relate to the most?
Mary: In high school, I was a lot like Hixon, living on the margins of life in some ways because I was so flat-out in love with Jesus. I wanted to share Him everywhere, and my speech was peppered with Jesusisms. But like Hixon, I also had another side to me, one I hid. Learning to be honest with myself and others about my own shortcomings—and, oh, they are aplenty—has made me a better Christ-follower in the long run. It’s not about appearing holy. It’s about being holy from the inside out. The only route to that kind of abundance is honest, excruciating disclosure with trusted friends and the God who sees it all.

Susan: What do you hope to accomplish with this book?
Mary: I liken this book to an Oprah book, but with hope. Yes, there is darkness and meanness abounding in this world, but God’s light has a way of fully penetrating that darkness. I hope Daisy Chain cradles the reader through its deep, scary journey clear through to the end because redemption will shine brighter in the midst of darkness. That’s my own personal testimony, so it can’t help but leak out on the page. My hope is that folks will see the need to share their family secrets in order to be set free. I also want people to see that the Body of Christ is probably much different looking than they first thought. Some appear holy. Others, in distressing disguises, actually are.

Susan: Thanks, Mary!

You can view a wonderfully composed booktrailer for Daisy Chain right here. And Mary has crafted a Family Secrets blog that dovetails with the themes in Daisy Chain. Sometimes people just need an anonymous place to release ugliness from the past that fell upon them in the place that should have been a haven; home. Check it out here.

Author: Susan

This post has 1 Comment

  1. Mary DeMuth on March 9, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks Susan! I so appreciating you highlighting the book.

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