Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Paul Gaus is KIM F.! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (amy@litfusegroup.com)

This week Mary DeMuth is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Mary’s latest book, You Can Raise Courageous and Confident Kids, leave a comment on this post!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in? 

I’m a full time writer (and I’m now a corporation!). I’ve got three kids, still at home and one husband (thankfully). We live in Texas. I love to cook, draw, create, garden, and decorate. Currently I’m planting my garden. I visit it every day hoping for new sprouts. Lettuce is poking its head up now.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I write parenting books, southern literary suspense (fiction), and memoir, though I hope to venture into more Christian living titles next.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

Yes, I had a dream. I was an English major in college, taught English two years, then started having cute children and stayed home with them. I spent the decade of the nineties writing miles and miles of unpublished words in a 10,000 hour self imposed apprenticeship. I met my agent in 2003, sold my first book in 2004, and have had 11 titles released.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

Ten years.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I spend 8-10 hours writing, marketing, blogging, preparing to speak, article writing, etc. I do my best work if I’ve had a run in the morning, and my brain works best in the earlier hours of the day.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

Self imposed pretend deadlines, a terrific critique group, and definitely conferences.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

Yes and no. Yes in that I get to constantly be creative and do what I dearly love and feel passionate about. I know I’m called to write. No in that I didn’t realize how hard it would be to market my books or try to gauge or depend on a fickle publishing environment.

What are your biggest distractions?

Twitter, probably, but I incorporate it into my tribal marketing strategy.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

Best: reading the Publisher’s Weekly review of my first novel, Watching the Tree Limbs. (Scroll down to read). I lived in France at the time. I felt like I was finally an author once someone from PW praised my book.

Worst: This last year has been incredibly discouraging.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

Least: My sore back and neck.
Most: The sheer joy of creating tied with getting feedback from readers that my words have changed lives.

What is the role and importance of an agent?

Absolutely essential. Mine is worth her weight in dark chocolate.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Study, work, make deadlines, write miles and miles of words in obscurity, get edited, be teachable.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

Well, you’d have to be a parent, probably. I’d say: If you’re worried about the culture your kids will face after graduation and you sincerely want to prepare them to thrive in a crazy world, You Can Raise Courageous and Confident Kids will be an essential guide to help you navigate your children’s lives and hearts.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

A novel releasing in July entitled The Muir House.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

http://www.facbook.com/authormarydemuth (Come see my new facebook landing page! It’s cool!)

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

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