Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Tag Team -- Part Two

Welcome back to the second part of the tag-team interview with Brad Whittington and Mary DeMuth. Just in case you missed it, here’s the link for part one. If this interview looks harmless, wait until you see the twist I place at the end of the entry. You’ll want to make sure you catch every word. Brad and Mary are book authors. Today I want to introduce a couple of their books:

Welcome to Fred is a moving and hilarious tale set against the vibrant backdrop of the 1960s and rural America. It is the timeless and classic story of Every teen in the hands of a master storyteller.

Mark Cloud has his doubts. He’s not sure if he’ll ever feel at home in Fred, Texas. He’s not sure that he can work up the nerve to declare his love to the girl of his dreams. He’s not sure he will survive another ride with Darnell Ray, Terror of the Back Roads. And he’s not really sure he buys the whole God thing. Which is an uncomfortable position for the son of a Baptist preacher.

Mark’s isolation begins in 1964 when the family moves from Texas to Ohio so Pastor Cloud can begin his career. After a bewildering series of schools, Mark finds his first true friend in his own backyard, a kid composed of equal parts intensity and hilarity with a letter for a name. Their encounters with The Creature fascinate Mark and terrify M. But just as Mark discovers the Sixties, hippies and Flower Power, he is uprooted and transplanted in an east Texas town the size of a postage stamp.

For Mark, the typical teen struggle for identity and acceptance is complicated by his outsider status and his father’s job. His encounters with the natives range from hilarious to heartbreaking. And an old book he finds buried in the library plants the seed of his secret doubt. After four years of alienation, he comes to place all his hopes for fulfillment on the family vacation to Los Angeles.

The vacation is a comedy of errors that intensifies Mark’s dilemma. But what awaits him in California is beyond anything he could imagine, as the answer comes from the most unlikely source. In 2004, Welcome to Fred won the Christy Award for Best First Novel.

You’re willing to do whatever it takes to ground your children in a faith your parents never embraced. Or maybe you grew up in an outwardly religious home that lacked a foundation of Christian grace and moral values. If you’re the first generation in your family to embrace a relationship with Christ but aren’t sure how to give your children a foundation of faith, find guidance in Building the Christian Family You Never Had.

Author Mary E. DeMuth understands firsthand the fears, frustrations, and anxieties of those who lack role models of faith-based parenting. In Building the Christian Family You Never Had she provides needed encouragement, practical tools, and crucial strategies. You’ll learn how you can…

  • shield your children from the negative influence of family members who undermine your values
  • cope with criticism and objections to your faith-based parenting decisions
  • honor (and forgive) your parents without endorsing their behavior
  • find positive parenting mentors

This inspiring, down-to-earth guide will enable you to provide a spiritual legacy of security and strength for your children as you lead the way through Building the Christian Family You Never Had.

Tag Team Interview from 12/20/05 part two

MaryD: Well, that’s cool. You must write it well first time around. Comes from writing a lot and being dedicated to the craft.

BradW: Or from being good at faking it. Here’s one example from Welcome to Fred. I used the phrase “of the first water” and they changed it to “of the first order.” I had them change it back.

MaryD: Yeah, two different things there.

BradW: Yep. So, being with different publishers, you have had varied experiences. That makes sense.

MaryD: The first book was very similar to your Fred experience. Harvest House didn’t have a lot of edits. I talked or emailed them through with the editor and it went to press pretty quickly. So, I was surprised when I got back more edits for Building the Christian Family You Never Had which comes out January 2006. Lots of questions in the manuscript. But that was good. The first book was anecdotal, easy to write. The second was a very difficult book for me to write. So, I really welcomed any feedback. The editing made it a stronger book.

BradW: Knowing a little about the content, I can see how it would be drastically harder to write.

MaryD: Yeah, because I tell the story of my upbringing, and there are parts of that story that are very hard to tell. I have always wanted to be a novelist because I could explore difficult issues and hide behind characters and settings and plot. But, for some reason or another, I have my feet in both pools. I can say that writing nonfiction, especially when the subject matter is personal, is very, very difficult to do.

BradW: Lisa Samson said writing historical romances was like pulling teeth, but when she changed to contemporary it was still like pulling teeth, but now they were her own teeth. Meaning it was more personal and more painful.

MaryD: Interesting point.Lisa rocks!

BradW: Heck yeah she does! Would you say you experienced the Lisa-factor going from your first book to your second?

MaryD: Oui. Yes. Pulling my own teeth. Which hits home because I had to have a root canal IN FRANCE this year. Not so much fun, I can assure you.

BradW: Ha! Not to laugh at your pain, but Ha! To go completely off topic how, different is dentistry in France?

MaryD: Longer. No Novocain.

BradW: Sheeeeeesh! I’m cringing just thinking about it.

MaryD: Ooops. I mean no laughing gas. I did have Novocain. They’re not completely barbarians!

BradW: Only partially. Speaking of laughing gas, how does Lisa’s statement compare with your different experiences from Book1 to Book2?

MaryD: Book1 was easier to write and edit. Book2 was harder on both accounts, but I feel like the impact this book will have on the Kingdom will be much bigger (by God’s grace of course). Maybe I’m a masochist, but books born from pain and authentic human experience (whether novels or non-fiction) impact readers.

BradW: I agree.

MaryD: But the emotional price I paid for that book was high. Thankfully, God kept at me to write it; otherwise I would have abandoned it.

BradW: Well, as I always say: Authenticity is essential. If you can’t fake that, you’ll never get anywhere.

MaryD: [Laughing]

BradW: Holy cow! Pardon me, but I was surfing your blog while you were typing and I see have a Korean version?!?!?

MaryD: Oh, yeah, Korean. I’m quite multilingual, you know. Now that I live in France I can speak millions of languages. It’s amazing really.

BradW: Heh.

OK, that’s it for the second part of the tag-team interview. There is a lot more to come with parts three and four.

While some of today’s interview is good fun, they address a serious topic—pain. After interviewing more than 150 best-selling authors and working with a number of others, I’m convinced that almost every writer I know has had some painful experience in their background. Not every writer chooses to write about those painful experiences. Yet often when these writers put words on the page, they return to those painful places to find the words necessary for their readers. I understand some of the details that Mary is telling us in this conversation.

I have a favorite Chinese proverb that I’ve used often (so if you’ve heard it, bear with me). It says, “He who writes taste life twice.” Particularly when writing personal experiences or even living through the eyes of a character for fiction, you often have to return to those painful places and pour out words. It’s not easy for any of us. But we face that pain and pour out those words and thoughts on paper, so they will help others or as Mary says, “impact readers.”

Tomorrow we will dig into part three of this tag team interview.

11 Comment:

At 7:03 AM, Blogger Katy Left a note...

Very much enjoying the Brad/Mary team! Thanks, everyone... Katy www.fallible.com

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Cindy Thomson Left a note...

It's so true. The more experiences you have to draw from, the more you'll have to say. Who's going to read your book if you have nothing to say?

Thanks, Terry , Mary, and Brad.

At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous Left a note...

Just discovered this blog and love it. So much info to digest. I'm an aspiring writer and will be back regularly. Thanks.


At 1:45 PM, Blogger Dineen A. Miller Left a note...

Enjoying the interview. That proverb is perfect, Terry. So true, so true...

At 2:10 PM, Blogger C.J. Darlington Left a note...

Thanks to all for the great interview.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Mary DeMuth Left a note...

It's good to see folks reading our interview! I can say this: Brad is hilarious!

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Camy Tang Left a note...

GREAT proverb. I'm enjoying the interview.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Brad Whittington Left a note...

Don't tell anybody, but I just found out that in a previous life, Mary was actually Milton Berle.

At 10:02 PM, Blogger Dineen A. Miller Left a note...

Mary—you weren't kidding. LOL!

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Mary DeMuth Left a note...

...and Brad was the wee parasite living on Berle's dog. :-)

At 1:27 AM, Blogger Brad Whittington Left a note...

That's the problem with comments. You can never get the last word. But every dog parasite has its day. Or so I hear.


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