MaryLu Tyndall is a Christy Award Finalist and bestselling author. Although she holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years, she has had a longtime passion to write transformational fiction—or as she likes to call it, “page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but open people’s eyes to their God-given potential.” She now writes full time and is the author of fourteen published novels. Forsaken Dreams is the first in a new series.

MaryLu lives on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and three cats.

I’m always fascinated when writers come from a math and/or science background. What sparked your writing journey?

Honestly, I should have never majored in Math and Computer Science! It was interesting and there were aspects of computer programming I enjoyed, but for the most part I was definitely a square peg trying to squeeze into a round hole. The entire time I was working my way through school to get my degree and then during the fifteen years I worked at IBM, I always wrote stories in my spare time. I started several novels, finished a Science Fiction one, and always had new ideas spinning in my head. But the world says that very few authors ever get published, let alone make a living at writing, so I never tried to get published. Then one day… I distinctly heard from God to write a story about a Christian Pirate. It had to be God because who else would have such an incredibly off-the-wall idea! I obeyed. The Redemption was born, and I’m now working on my fourteenth published novel!

Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?

Yes! My writing! I was working an 8 to 5 job that I absolutely hated, thinking that I was stuck the rest of my life dragging myself to work every day. I never thought in a gazillion years I’d be writing full time as a published author. The truth is, God has given each of us unique skills, skills He wants us to use for His glory doing something that we were created to do… something we will love! Yet, so few people ever find their calling. The trick is to get close to God, listen to Him, and then obey… trusting Him when the detour He takes you on seems a bit scary at first.

How does your faith play into your writing?

My faith is my writing. Every day it takes faith to sit down and believe that God can use me to tell a story that, not only will others want to read and enjoy, but that will bring them closer to Him. At least that is my hope. I believe most of the churches in America are dead today. I want to wake people up to the awesome presence, power, and love of Almighty God working in their lives in a real and tangible way.

Let’s talk about your new book, Forsaken Dreams, the first book in your Escape to Paradise Series (Barbour Publishing, March 2012). Please tell us about it.

Forsaken Dreams is book one in the trilogy and follows the voyage of a group of Southerners who set out from Charleston after the Civil War to sail to Brazil, where they hope to recreate a Southern Utopia. It’s based on factual historical accounts where close to 20,000 Southerners attempted to settle in that new land and escape their war torn country. Of course the voyage to Rio de Janeiro is not a smooth one! Several mishaps and tragedies occur on the way, some of them seemingly of a supernatural nature, while the passengers are dealing with their own issues of unforgiveness, alcoholism, post traumatic stress disorder, and one passenger who turns out to be a Yankee traitor! Of course there’s a strong romance on board the ship too and a host of other fascinating characters.

God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?

The heroine Eliza is a bit of a dreamer. She’s a romantic at heart who didn’t want to be forced as a young lady to do anything she didn’t want to do! She wanted to live, to experience all that life had to offer! And she didn’t want anyone dictating the direction of her life. She was run by her emotions and passions, instead of reason and obedience to God. Consequently, she got herself into a bit of trouble!! A lot of trouble, in fact, that had grave consequences for the rest of her life.

As I wrote her story, it reminded me so much of myself as a young woman, running here and there, following whatever made me feel good. And boy, what a mess I made of my life!! Like Eliza, I had to learn that God doesn’t want to restrict our happiness, He wants to create it! And when we stray from His will, we end up being very unhappy.

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Popcorn!! I don’t know what it is about a bowl of popcorn, but it makes everything in my life, all my problems, struggles and sorrows, seem a little bit better! Also, if you toss up the pieces of popcorn in the air and try and catch them with your mouth, it really breaks through that writer’s block!

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

Oh my, I wish I did!! I took piano lessons as a young girl, but never pursued it very far. And I can’t even hold a tune, though I love to sing. I have the greatest admiration for people with musical talent!! What would the world be like without music?? A very dreary place.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

A movie score from a romantic, adventurous movie like Last of the Mohicans or Braveheart, or better yet, The Pirates of the Caribbean!

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

Definitely the mysterious woman behind dark glasses!!

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

Though I adore dogs, I’m definitely a cat person! I think it’s because my personality is more like a cat’s. I’m quiet, aloof, and I probably won’t come to you when you call me. : )  My husband and I take in strays and we currently have three cats. Buster, Hershey, and Katie. They are all very odd cats and none of them get along with the others!

Thank you, MaryLu! It’s a pleasure to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.

Thank you!! The pleasure is mine!

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For more information about MaryLu, visit her website at and her blog at

To purchase Forsaken Dreams and other books by MaryLu, logon to: