Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth.
In a town she personifies, Ouisie Pepper wrestles with her own defiance. Desperate to become the wife and mother her husband Hap demands, Ouisie pours over a simple book about womanhood, constantly falling short, but determined to improve.
Through all that self-improvement, Ouisie carries a terrible secret: she knows who killed Daisy Chance. As her children inch closer to uncovering the killer’s identity and Hap’s rages roar louder and become increasingly violent, Ouisie has to make a decision. Will she protect her children by telling her secret? Or will Hap’s violence silence them all?
Set on the backdrop of Defiance, Texas, Ouisie’s journey typifies the choices we all face—whether to tell the truth about secrets and fight for the truth or bury them forever and live with the violent consequences..
I had never read any of Mary DeMuth’s books until this series came to my attention. I honestly didn’t know what I was missing. Mary is they type of author that grabs you from the first phrase and keeps you wrapped completely in the stories she tells until the very last syllable.
Life In Defiance is the final book of the Defiance trilogy telling the story of the horrifying murder of Daisy Chance and its reprecussions to not only her family but the towns people around them. Ouisie Pepper, knows who killed Daisy and refuses to tell, she doesn’t even let anyone else know that she knows. As things escalate, Ouisie is confronted with difficult decisions all the way around. Trying to save an impossible marriage by becoming the perfect wife, keeping her children from learning the truth, and being the best friend, confidant to Daisy’s mom Emory all take Ouisie on a path of deep introspection and she learns more than she ever bargained for about herself.
Laced with suspense and intrigue Life in Defiance shows how God’s mercy, and grace are intertwined in our every moment even when we don’t notice them.
Author and speaker Mary DeMuth helps people turn their trials to triumph. Her books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God; Building the Christian Family You Never Had; Watching the Tree Limbs; Wishing on Dandelions; Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture and the first two books in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy: Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn.
National media regularly seek Mary’s candid ability to connect with their listeners. Her radio appearances include FamilyLife Today, Moody Midday Connection, Point of View and U.S.A. Radio Network and is frequently featured on Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint. She has published articles in In Touch, HomeLife, Writer’s Digest and The Writer.
Mary lives with her husband Patrick and their three children in Texas.
Learn more about Mary at http://marydemuth.com.
Tell me a little bit about your background and your family.
You can read my testimony on my website (www.marydemuth.com). I came from a difficult upbringing, but Jesus saw fit to find me at fifteen. He has utterly changed my life.
I’ve been married 18 years to my husband Patrick (who’s been told he looks like George Clooney on more than one occasion). Interesting side note: I’ve been told I look like Laura Dern, and we share the EXACT same birthday. Twins separated at birth? Possibly. If you’re reading this and you’re chums with Laura, could you probe a bit?
George (er, Patrick) and I have three kids: Sophie, Aidan and Julia. Sophie’s learning to drive—and what’s interesting is that I’m not worried about it. She’s a careful driver. My son Aidan is thirteen. He’s passionate about finding water for a small village in Ghana. We got to go on the trip of a lifetime to meet the village of Sankpem last summer. Our daughter Julia is ten and is deeply kindhearted, beautiful inside and out. We also have an overly needy (farting) dog and a fat & fuzzy (sometimes cranky) cat.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Hobbies?
I love to cook and garden and sew and decorate and take pictures. I’m really quite a homebody. I also keep in shape by training for small triathlons, emphasis on small.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
This may sound strange, but I wanted to be a doctor. But even then, the writer in me came out because I liked the cadence of my maiden name with the title doctor. Mary Walker, Medical Doctor.
Where are you headed next?
I just finished a standalone book for Zondervan—a mystery set in Rockwall, TX, which is where I live! And it has a romantic element to it. I’m also dabbling into YA (young adult) fiction, hoping to write for that demographic. So many of the things I write about can impact teen girls (identity, authenticity, beauty, abandonment, etc.). I look forward to see how God orchestrates that.
How did you get involved in writing?
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.
What is your goal or mission as a writer?
To write and tell stories in such a way that readers find healing and no longer feel alone.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Balancing marketing, writing, and speaking. Worrying about making ends meet. Pushing against burnout. It’s hard to walk the tightrope between thinking in terms of the Kingdom of God (and having lasting, eternal impact) and having to pay bills. It’s ministry, but it’s also work. And anyone who has tried to make a living at writing knows it’s usually feast or famine (with lots of dips into the famine pool).
What do you enjoy most about the writing process?
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.
What was the most difficult aspect of the writing process?
I am not in love with rejection.
I also don’t cherish rewriting. But it’s a necessary and important evil.
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.
Another idea is hang out at The Writing Spa and its corresponding blog WannabePublished. I tackle nearly every question a new writer would have. I offer weekly free critiques and I have guest authors cameo there. I evaluate the saleabilty of a book idea. Hop on by at http://www.thewritingspa.com.
Life in Defiance, the book
Where did you get the idea for the book?
My husband and I have helped women caught in the middle of domestic violence, and we’ve seen the church grapple with how to help women in this situation. Writing about Ouisie Pepper, a pastor’s wife who is trying to hide a huge secret helps bring to light the complicated issue.
I have encountered folks who hide, who seem to be upstanding Christians in public, but who hide their issues behind closed doors. I’ve seen the tortured state of their souls, and I’ve wondered why folks hide so much. Based on those encounters, I formulated the Defiance, TX trilogy to address hiding versus authentic, amazing faith.
Is any part of the book true?
Only in terms of walking alongside women who have experienced domestic violence. My story is not that at all. But I have seen the devastation up close with friends.
And then of course, I am writing the book, so there’s always a lot of me woven through all the characters.
Do you have a favorite character in Life in Defiance? Why?
I would say Emory Chance because she is so lost throughout the series, and deeply broken, but in this book she truly starts to absorb the beauty of Jesus. That, in a way, is the story of my life. I was a broken, needy girl who Jesus rescued.
What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
That you may encounter Jesus in outcasts. It’s not always the folks who promote themselves as believers who truly walk as Jesus did. Jesus comes in distressing disguise. Will we miss Him?
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