Archive | Daisy Chain

A Behind The Scenes Look At Daisy Chain

Andy Meisenheimer Andy Meisenheimer is in his seventh year at Zondervan, his tenth year of marriage, his third year of fatherhood, and his first year playing in the band Group Dancing for Dutch People, an accordion duo cover band he co-founded with band member Jim Kast-Keat. Andy lives with his best-friend-and-muse Mandy and their three-year-old cutest-little-boy-in-the-world near Grand Rapids, MI. They are the best part of his life.

Today we welcome Zondervan editor, Andy Meisenheimer, as he shares a few thoughts on Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth.

It’s one thing to hold a finished novel in your hand, but something else to see a book idea come across your desk. What went through your mind when you were first presented with the idea for Daisy Chain and how did you know this was a book Zondervan should publish?


Actually, the trilogy was pitched to me by Mary in person. I met her at a writer’s conference, and we ended up sitting at a meal together with a bunch of industry professionals, and she told the group that her next idea was three books about how one tragedy changes three different lives. Each book would be from one character’s perspective. So immediately I thought, boy, that could be really good. And frankly, I think I was right. I’ve read the whole trilogy now, and I think Mary has pulled off exactly that–one tragedy. Three changed lives.


Who was your favorite character in Daisy Chain? Did anyone make you laugh out loud? Make you cry? Lose sleep at night?


Now you’re testing my memory, see if I can think just of the first book. I tell ya what, the very first moment you meet Hixon, that’s one of my favorite of that book. It’s so creepy and mysterious. But I think the real shining character is Daisy herself. There just couldn’t be enough of Jed remembering Daisy. But I think that’s because I like the paradox of every Daisy flashback–you get this idyllic image that’s browned at the edges because she’s gone. I feel like every character Mary creates has that tension, and that’s what makes them interesting. It’s not just flawed characters, but contradictory characters. Even Hap for the briefest of moments, if you can detach yourself from Jed’s perspective, has glimmers of humanity.


Time for a little Mary DeMuth trivia. What quirks come out in her during the editorial process? Does she chew her fingernails? O.D. on chocolate? Throw herself across the bed and cry for three days? Do tell.


Yeah, you know, whatever she does, she doesn’t necessarily do it in front of her editor. And being edited is a terribly intrusive process that requires no small amount of humility on the writer’s part. Whatever Mary might do for the first three days (and I really don’t know), the important part is that she wants to grow as a writer, and so in the end, she emerges as a good writer should–with respect for the process and willingness to accept me as a co-laborer for the book. Just to be clear, the same thing happens when as an editor–whatever I might do for the first three days of editing a book (and she really doesn’t know), I’ve got to be willing to be wrong, to grow, and to be humbled myself. Good editing is not about “fixing” things, it’s about challenging an author to think even deeper and consider wider possibilities than they ever have before.

We know that you are a well-respected editor, but we also have it under good authority that you are a very talented musician. What are the creative similarities between literature and music? How does one strengthen the other?

There’s actually a lot of similarities. My primary instrument is the piano–I grew up training in classical music, tried to learn jazz in high school, played as an accompanist and theater musician in college, and since then have found creative expression through playing in a band at church. I find different satisfaction (and different levels of difficulty) in each one–and I find that I enjoy them most the more I try to learn about them. But I’ve come to grips with my huge inability to really play jazz well–and my ability to play really cheesy church music well. But I always am trying to grow in both, and I recognize that some people think my jazz sounds good and my cheesy church music speaks to them. There’s all sorts of correlations there with literature, but the one that’s most important for me not as creator, but as consumer, is that I don’t understand everything. There are genres that I’m just learning to appreciate, and I have to approach them with a learning spirit. And there are genres in which I can be more discerning, because I am familiar with them. And then there’s the stuff I just don’t get. So when I’m reading something, most likely I tend to let go and enjoy the ride. Though I really believe in the craft of writing and that good writing makes a difference, on the other hand, nothing is perfect and nothing will satisfy everyone, so as consumers I encourage people to seek better books but also to enjoy the book they are reading if they can. You never know where a book will take you–just like you never know where a song will take you. And there’s always new frontiers to explore, even if you end up saying “this just doesn’t work for me,” at least you’ve given it a shot.


Book Two in the Defiance Texas Trilogy, A Slow Burn, releases October 1st from Zondervan. What can readers expect from Mary’s second installment?


A really good book. The middle book of a trilogy can be a difficult thing as a reader–you’re getting the middle of a story. But remember that this is the story of one tragedy, three changed lives. A Slow Burn gives you another changed life–maybe even two. So expect more of Mary’s signature writing and a larger view of the town of Defiance, TX. You haven’t met everyone yet.


Thanks for hanging with us today. We’re big Mary DeMuth fans around here and it’s been fun getting to know her a little better through you.

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Helpful Resources for those touched by domestic violence

Mary DemuthI’m humbled that you’ve come here from the Proverbs 31 devotion to explore more about the issue of domestic violence, whether it be your experience or the experience of a friend. My husband and I have found ourselves in the middle of helping women get safe, and we’ve learned a little about the journey along the way. Take some time to explore some of the following resources available, and if you know of other great places that help victims of domestic violence, please share them in the comments section.


Mary E. DeMuth

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Online resources:

For friends of those who are battered:

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To Those Who Have (or want to) Read Daisy Chain…

…a special message from Mary DeMuth:

Dear reader,

I’m so thankful you’re taking the time to read Daisy Chain. The book birthed from several conversations with a friend who experienced an abusive home, and yet, since the father held a prestigious position in ministry, no one knew or suspected anything. This made me mad. And when I’m mad, I write.

I wondered how someone’s picture of God could form naturally if his/her father figure showed this kind of dichotomy: living as an upstanding Christian citizen in public, yet a raging violent man at home. And in the midst of that, how would a family with such secrets ever find redemption in the light?

Daisy Chain is my exploration of these issues. I didn’t write it to impugn or to harass. I wrote it to shed light on a sad reality for some families. So that readers would no longer feel alone. So that God’s redemption could shine on such a dark family canvas.

I like to say Daisy Chain is like an Oprah book, but with hope. Full of rich settings only the South can muster, unforgettable and quirky characters, and the heart of a fourteen-year-old boy who wants to be a man, Daisy Chain is one of those books that sticks with you after you turn the last page.

Thanks again for reading this book!

With joy,
Mary E. DeMuth

Have a family secret you’d like to share?

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Fall 2009 Book Club Selection Number One

She Reads is proud to present our first selection for Fall, 2009: Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth!

The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control–Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.

In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.

A child of a broken and unsafe home, Mary learned early on how to pray to an unseen God for protection. Like the characters in her stories, she encountered mentors and friends who helped guide her through many trials and scrapes. And through all that, she told stories. To herself. To imaginary friends. To her diary. Stories of sadness, redemption, and hope. Today she pens literary Southern suspense. Her desire is that readers would experience surprising redemption amid the gritty realities of life. Through page-turning stories, Mary helps readers see her characters’ trials turn into unexpected triumph.

Mary’s parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, Building the Christian Family You Never Had, and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God. Her real-to-life novels inspire people to turn trials into triumphs: Daisy Chain, Watching the Tree Limbs (2007 Christy Award finalist, ACFW Book of the Year second place) and Wishing on Dandelions (2007 Retailer’s Choice Award Finalist). Book Two in the Defiance Texas Trilogy, A Slow Burn, releases from Zondervan on October 1st.

Mary and her husband Patrick live in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual growth in Southern France where they planted a church.

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