A Slow Burn

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Mary DeMuth to the Edge to chat about her new book A Slow Burn, a richly told story of regrets and redemption. Mary has a wonderful book trailer for this book, which you can find right here. A Slow Burn takes us back to Defiance, Texas – the setting of the first book in this series, Daisy Chain. Here, we enter into the shadowed, hollow world of Daisy’s mother, Emory Chance – a woman who wishes for all the world she could have what her name suggests – another chance.

Mary, Where did you get the idea for the book?

I wrote the series of stories based on hearing friends of mine talk about their Christian homes that appeared great on the outside, only to hide abuse on the inside. This really bothered me. Daisy became the inciting incident to explore three people’s stories relating to authenticity and hiding. In book one, Daisy Chain, I explore a teenage boy’s perspective to a family in crisis. In book two, A Slow Burn, I examine what would it be like to have deep, deep mommy regrets enough to want to be free from them. In book three, Life in Defiance, I tell the conclusion of the story through a battered wife’s perspective.I am not a teenage boy. Nor am I a neglectful mother. And I’m not a battered wife. But I’ve interacted with folks who are. It’s for them that I wrote these stories.

What’s the significance to you personally of the town’s name, Defiance?

Several characters in different ways embody the act of defiance. Hap, certainly. But even Emory has her own form of defiance convention. Muriel, who is battling cancer in the book, certainly defies it, defies untruth. Hixon is the gentlest form of defiance I can think of, more of a Martin Luther King Junior defiant than an in-your-face Hap defiance.

What are the major themes of the book?

You’re never too far from God’s grace and love and forgiveness. That God is a pursuing, redemptive, relentless God. He loves His children, even when they run far, far away. That Jesus comes to us in surprising packages, and sometimes we’re so bothered by appearances that we miss Him.

What kind of research did you have to do for A Slow Burn?

I had to figure out how a drug addict acted and thought. I had to research what drugs do to a person, particularly the lure and the trips they take folks on. I had to get into the mind of a drug addict, which wasn’t easy for me, someone who is terrified of drugs. I created Defiance from my head and my two-year stint in East Texas.

In your first book in this series, Daisy Chain, we spend a lot of time in the point of view of young Jed Pepper. In A Slow Burn, Daisy’s mother is continuing the story. Did you find Jed wanting to “talk” to you during the writing of A Slow Burn?

No, weirdly. He didn’t say much, probably because I was so entrenched in Emory’s head. I tend to absorb myself in my point of view characters. But I did miss Jed. Great kid!

Did you ever see yourself as a child in your portrayals of Daisy? What did you draw from to form her character? In some ways, yes. Daisy was much more of a free spirit, less afraid than I was as a child. Perhaps she’s how I wish I would’ve been. She faced her own world head on, not too concerned about her problems. And she found a really good friend who made everything so much better. I could relate to Daisy’s home life situation, the neglect, the drugs. So that part came more naturally to me.

Where does your inspiration for writing southern drama spring from? From my own southern drama! Just kidding. Not a native, I’m fascinated by the south—its sometimes-darkness. Its secrets. It feels like the perfect place to set the types of novels I write.

With which character do you, personally, identify most and why?

That’s really hard. I see myself in all of them. When I feel guilty about my parenting, I relate to Emory. When I feel like an outcast, trying to do the right thing, I understand Hixon and Muriel better.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

That God is bigger than our sin, our regret, our hopelessness. He takes delight in intersecting the darkest of circumstances. He is there, available.

You can find Mary at home on the web right here. And you can find A Slow Burn right here.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Author: Susan

This post has 3 Comments

  1. Ashley Weis on October 3, 2009 at 1:08 am

    Mmmm… wonderful interview! And great answers! I am halfway through A Slow Burn. Can't wait to make a book trailer for it. 😉

  2. Mocha with Linda on October 3, 2009 at 1:55 am

    I just love Mary and the book was great! (I posted the interview I did with her at the Expo right after I talked with you!)

  3. Mary DeMuth on October 3, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Thanks so much for having me here, Mrs. Meissner, my literary heroine!

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