Edwina Cowgill's Reviews > A Slow Burn

A Slow Burn by Mary E. DeMuth
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's review
Jun 12, 10

She touched Daisy’s shoulder. So cold. So hard. So unlike Daisy.
Yet so much like herself it made Emory shudder.

Burying her grief, Emory Chance is determined to find her daughter Daisy’s murderer-a man she saw in a flicker of a vision. But when the investigation hits every dead end, her despair escalates. As questions surrounding Daisy’s death continue to mount, Emory’s safety is shattered by the pursuit of a stranger, and she can’t shake the sickening fear that her own choices contributed to Daisy’s disappearance. Will she ever experience the peace her heart longs for?
The second book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, this suspenseful novel is about courageous love, the burden of regret, and bonds that never break. It is about the beauty and the pain of telling the truth. Most of all, it is about the power of forgiveness and what remains when shame no longer holds us captive.

Hi, Mary! Thank you for taking the time to stop by today.

MD: Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.

EC: How did you get involved in writing?

MD: I’ve been writing since college when the bug hit me. I wrote my first short story about a missionary going to Russia (when it was firmly encased behind the iron curtain) and having to do all these clandestine things to share the gospel. I’m embarrassed to write this, but the piece started with these four words: Thump, thump, thump, thump (representing the protagonist’s heartbeat, of course).

I’ve been actively writing since 1992 when my daughter Sophie was born. I created a newsletter that helped moms manage their homes. I bought my first computer from the proceeds. I also designed and edited church newsletters, wrote homeschooling curriculum, and even wrote a script for an ultrasound training video. Soon after, short stories started flying out of me. When we moved from East Texas to Dallas for my husband to go to Dallas Seminary, I decided to get serious. I met my friend Sandra Glahn then, a professor at the seminary and a published writer. She shepherded me through the query-letter-writing process and has been an incredible cheerleader.

In 2002, I wrote my first novel. In 2003, I signed with an agent, then signed two nonfiction books. Since then, I’ve had five books published (those included), Daisy Chain being my sixth book. The first novel I wrote is yet to be published.

EC: How do you find time to write?

MD: I make time to write. I give myself word count goals every day. While my children are at school, I work full time. Lately I’ve been writing and promoting like a crazy woman, pulling 10-12 hour shifts. Even so, it’s a priority for me to have a sit-down dinner with my family every night. It helps that I love to cook.

EC: What do you enjoy most about the writing process?

MD:I love the initial flurry of words on the page where I’m uninhibited. I love fleshing out a story as it comes to me. I see my novels on the movie screen of my mind, which may account for the visual nature of my narratives.

EC: What was the most difficult aspect of the writing process?

MD: I am not in love with rejection. I also don’t cherish rewriting. But it’s a necessary and important evil.

EC: Is the trilogy of Defiance and the stories therein based on a true story? If not, how did you develop this story?

MD: No, not in my own life. I wrote the 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, I explore a teenage boy’s perspective to a family in crisis. In book two I examine what would it be like to have deep, deep mommy regrets enough to want to be free from them. In book three, I tell the conclusion of the story through a battered wife’s perspective.

EC: What did it take for you as the author to dig so deeply into the characters' emotions, especially Emory?

MD: It wasn’t easy. I don’t relate well to Emory on one level. Drugs and addiction freaks me out. But every mom has a bit of Emory in her, a seed of regret, a wish to make over her parenting. So that part wasn’t as hard to explore.

EC: After the 3rd book of the trilogy is completed, what is next on your writing agenda?

MD: I’ll be writing novels set in Southern Louisiana, both relating to finding out the truth of the past. That seems to be a theme for me.
What would you say to someone who wants to become a published author?
Here’s the analogy you need to memorize and internalize: Beginning the publishing journey is like wearing a sweatshirt and toting a sack lunch at the base of Mount Everest, thinking, Hmm, this should be a breeze!
In addition: know you are called. Know you have talent. Know you’re full of tenacity. All three things will help you succeed along the journey.

EC: Mary, thanks again for stopping by to chat with me. I know that A Slow Burn will be a best seller!
MD> It was great being here, Edwina. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my life as a writer and my newest book.

A Slow Burn grabbed hold of me from the first sentence and took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions and feelings that lasted until the last sentence of the book. I smiled, I cried, I rejoiced. I despised, I loved. I worried and prayed—after which I had to remind myself it’s just a book after all—these people aren’t real. But that is part of the beauty of this book. Mary DeMuth went so deeply into the characters, I felt like I had known them all of my life. I was transported from my hometown to Defiance, Texas; from my mundane, everyday life to the life of Emory Chance, failure as a mother in her own eyes and in the eyes of the townspeople. For those of us who feel as though we failed as mothers, or who perhaps feel our mothers failed us, that part of the book may not be easy to read. For those of us who knows someone fighting a war with drugs and alcohol, or perhaps it’s one of us fighting that battle, as Emory did – that part may not be easy to read. I urge you – don’t stop reading! There is redemption, forgiveness, peace, acceptance and love for Emory and for us.


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