About the book:
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.
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.
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?
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.
Thanks, Mary! May the Lord bless all you do!