Bio: Mary DeMuth is the author of twelve books, including her latest novel The Muir House, and her first ebook, The 11 Secrets of Getting Published. She’s spoken around the country and the world, helping writers grow and succeed, and she loves to help people live uncaged lives. She lives in Texas with her husband and three teenagers. Find out more at Marydemuth.com.
AHD: After a brief swim through www.marydemuth.com it’s clear you’re extraordinarily active. When meeting someone for the first time, how do you describe who you are and what you do?
MD: I tell them I’m a writer, simple as that. If they’re curious, they’ll ask more questions. Often folks will tell me that they’ve always wanted to write a book, and then they share their story. So it’s a great way to connect with people.
It’s hard to explain, in a nutshell, what I do, though. I write books, blogs, articles, and marketing copy. I teach other writers. I speak at retreats. I’m learning how to market myself. I wear far too many hats.
AHD: You’ve published fiction, parenting and writing helps, and memoir. Is there one genre, subject or style of writing you prefer?
MD: I adore the power of story, so fiction is my first love.
AHD: Two prominent themes in your work are thriving after pain and healing through writing. When and how did you realize your intimate journaling might lead to a career in writing?
MD: I’ve always journaled, which was God’s sweet gift to me when life spun out of control growing up. The only way I could make sense of my chaotic world was defining it in the pages of my journal. After I met Jesus at fifteen, I continued writing down my thoughts, prayers and dreams. Eventually this morphed to writing for friends and family in very small ways. I spent ten years writing unpublished words in complete obscurity. During those years, I set pretend deadlines for myself. I trained myself to meet those deadlines early. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I found my voice. So when I started pursuing publication after those ten years, I had a strong foundation from which to build. It didn’t take long before I started getting published in national magazines, becoming a columnist, and eventually meeting and landing a literary agent.
All my books deal with healing in some way or another. I believe God wants us to live uncaged, free lives. My heart is to help others, through vulnerable and real words, to be set free.
AHD: How does your faith influence your writing?
MD: It can’t help but infuse it. Jesus is everything to me. He rescued me from a very dark place, set my feet on a rock, and whispered peace and healing into a shattered heart. I’m just so grateful for that, I nearly explode. So Jesus makes his way into everything I write, not necessarily in a didactic, out there way, but often with subtlety. I want to woo my reader, not knock them over the head.
AHD: You once wrote that you might be called to writing if you can’t help but mentor other writers early in their publishing path. Why is it important for successful writers such as yourself to mentor up and coming creatives?
MD: Because the kingdom of God should always be expanding. There’s no place for jealousy or hoarding information to yourself. I would be remiss if I didn’t mentor others toward publication. Just think of the beautiful multiplication that takes place. It’s been a huge joy to watch writers I’ve come alongside publish their first books. Recently I had a sweet conversation with an author who’s now a NYT bestselling author. She thanked me for mentoring her. I felt such joy knowing I played a tiny part in her success. Many, many lives have been changed by her book. What a privilege!
AHD: What is The Writing Spa?
MD: It’s thewritingspa.com, where my team of nonfiction and fiction professionals mentor writers toward publication. We like to say we’re like an agent before you get an agent. We help you get your proposals and sample chapters ready for the eyes of an agent.
AHD: Can you talk about the distinction between being called to write and being called to publish? Is it wrong to seek validation in publishing?
MD: Not all who are called to write are called to publish. If you feel God has burned a message into you, it doesn’t necessarily mean He’s calling you to publish that. I wrote a piece that deals with this idea of validation and publishing. You must settle your worth before God as you seek publication. Publishing cannot validate your life. It can’t. Jesus does.
I meet many pre-authors who are more enamored with having their name on the cover of a book than they are learning about the craft of writing. This journey is a long one, full of discipline and heartache. You have to count the cost before you endeavor to be published, and you must settle your motivation for being published.
AHD: What is your latest project, and how can we learn more about it?
MD: I have two.
One is The Muir House, a southern literary novel set here in Rockwall, Texas. (Zondervan). You can watch the book trailer and read the first chapter on my website. In the book I explore the notion of figuring out your past, and discovering whether finding that out helps free you to live today. It’s also a love story.
The other is The 11 Secrets of Getting Published, my ebook that helps writers figure out the publishing/writing industry. It’s over 300 pages for $4.99, and it includes pretty much everything I know about how to get published. You can find out more on my website.