Some Serious Fun! -- Q&A with Mary Griffith and Dana Rose
This is a first here at Slices of Life--a guest. Or, I should say, two guests. Marilynn Griffith's book Made of Honor, released on December 27th. I've also asked Dana Rose, Mary's heroine from Made of Honor, to join us. Welcome, ladies!
MG: Hey Lynette! Dana and I are honored to be here. Hopefully we won’t bump heads too much.
DR: I hope not, girl. You’ve already bumped my head enough telling my story.
MG: Shhh. We’re guests here.
First, a question for Mary. I'd like to hear about your slogan on the cover… "life, faith, and getting it right." When did you discover this would be your focus?
MG: That’s Steeple Hill’s slogan actually. I love life, have faith, but seldom get it right. God does though.
Your book is filled with scents that bring many delightful, delicious moments. Does this come naturally in your writing? Where did the scents come from (besides the obvious fact that Dana is a scent diva)?
MG: I had asthma as a child so I couldn’t really sniff things like I wanted to. (I still can’t really). When I got married and started trying to be crafty and domestic (only the crafty part worked out) I started making soap and bath and body products. I could sniff all I wanted and it was big fun. Though the products were marked, I always had to explain the smell to people, so I guess some of it came from that.
Made of Honor is chock-full of laugh-out-loud moments, like Dana trying to stuff herself into size B nylons and avoid the horror of having naked legs at church. But I also found some Dana-isms in the book, little nuggets of wisdom that jumped out at me. Dana, I'd like to ask you about some of these moments. I hope you can share without telling too much of your story.
DR: (Looking down to check her legs) Well, I’m wearing off black queen hose today so I think I can handle your questions. I can look back now and laugh but those pantyhose were just torture.
"We were all a little crazy. Isn't anyone worth knowing?"
Dana, would you say that you and your sistahs and family put the "fun" in dysfunctional?
DR: We definitely do. Rochelle, Tracey and I all have our own brand of crazy, but we manage to stay friends somehow. I’ve finally accepted that normal only exists in fiction. (Not Marilynn’s of course)
MG: (shaking head) Dane, didn’t I tell you to hush? LOL
Back to you, Mary. Which character was the most fun to write? Who showed up first in this wild 'n crazy family?
MG: Dana came first actually, along with her mooching cousins and aunt. It was just a scene basically. Then came Rochelle and Tracey. Dana’s Messianic Jewish friend Austin and her nephew’s girlfriend Shemika came out of nowhere. Dana’s father and Adrian were both a joy to write as well.
Here's another Dana quote: "I tried not to be offended by his surprise, remembering what a pistol I'd been growing up. Judging from the way I was acting today, I still had a few bullets left in me. "
One of the delightful things about you, Dana, is that you're real. What would you suggest to someone who's wrestling between the urge to pour out grace or fire bullets?
DR: Go for the grace. Bullets mean blood (usually Christ’s to cover the wound) and leave behind a mess. There’ll be all that crying and praying either way, so why not cut to the chase and get the forgiving over with? That’s what I ask myself at any rate. I’m trying to do better about it.
"Maybe when these couples smelled my stuff, they'd catch a whiff of the smell that had filled my imagination growing up when tempers grew hot and patience grew thin. A scent that said to my mind, 'God is here… and He's got flowers.'" Could you comment about this? It's a beautiful thought that expresses Dana's passion.
MG: Dana doesn’t think she wants to be married, but she respects and wants people to be happy. Though her mother is dead, she tries to give to people the gifts she wanted to give her parents. Something sweet, something sacred.
"Today, I realized that no matter how close people are to one another, there's always a place--a secret place--that only God can see."
We have the ability to alternately wound and bless those we love, depending on what's inside us. Dana, how did you discover what was inside you?
DR: I’m still learning what’s inside me. Some of it is amazing and some isn’t so pretty. Often it takes me being wounded to recognize my own hurtful words or actions. Just as I open my mouth to say something, I hear a whisper in my heart saying,”It’s not so nice, is it?”
"I didn't know what to think of Trevor's presence. How could someone act such a fool and traipse up in church the next morning with a Bible and a smile?"
Okay, this is a heavy question for a chick-lit, but Dana, you went there and I'm there too. How do people do this, especially in the church?
DR: Oh, Lynette, now you realllllly read that book, didn’t you? I have no clue how folks live two lives. I guess I’ve lost my phony skills because I can’t pull it off. If I’m not right, I’m likely to let you know. People know better to ask “How are you this morning?” if they really don’t want an answer.
"I'd loved him all my life, but how could I consider being in love with him, devoting my emotion to someone else when I wasn't sure how to love myself? "
I loved Dana's frank honesty with herself. Loving yourself when you're supposed to be selfless. Mary, how does a girl do that?
MG: Whoa, Lynette, you’re pulling out the big guns! LOL It’s a hard thing. Christians are taught to die to self. Some of us take that a little farther and just…DIE. I know I did for a while. There has to be a balance between loving God and allowing God to love us. Love your neighbor as yourself is in the Bible too. Sometimes we forget that and aren’t able to love anybody.
"I'd forgiven Dahlia--again--that day at the shower, but somehow her wrong had grown wings from the altar where I'd left it and dropped disease all over my spirit."
"Getting it right" is a process. Thanks for the reminder!
DR: It’s a process indeed. In the movies, people hug and everything is all right, but in real life, sometimes things go up and down and around as the healing continues, even in the church. All scars itch sometimes.
Mary, thank you for dropping by. I hope this little visit with you and Dana will prompt readers to drop by their local bookstore or favorite shopping web site and order Made of Honor. Buy two. One for you, one for a girlfriend. This book is some serious fun. Check out Marilynn Griffith's web site at www.marilynngriffith.com.
MG: Lynette, thank you so much for having us and for reading Made of Honor. This interview was some serious fun!
DR: I’ll say. You really brought back the memories for me. Those days were something else! Blessings to you and all your girlfriends!