Debut Author ~ Marybeth Whalen

Monday, June 21, 2010

Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. The family lives outside Charlotte, NC. Marybeth is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team and a regular contributor to their daily devotions which reach over 350,000 people each day. She served as general editor of For The Write Reason and The Reason We Speak.
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She and her husband Curt co-authored Learning To Live Financially Free and her first novel, The Mailbox will be released in June 2010. Additionally, she serves as director of She Reads, Proverbs 31 Ministries' fiction division. Marybeth speaks regularly to women's groups and enjoys sharing stories from her daily adventures as a wife, mom, writer, and, most importantly, a follower of God. You can find her online at http://www.marybethwhalen.com/.

When did you decide to be a writer?

I have always wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember.

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

Ummm, I will let you know when that happens! Right now my publisher, agent, editor and I are all discussing what my next move should be… I am finding I am still easily swayed by the opinions of others! As a first-time novelist it’s hard to trust your instincts.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

I am very disciplined when I am under deadline. I write 1000 words per day without fail. I find that much past that I lose my excitement and it shows in the writing. So 1000 words per day times 80 days (about 3 months, give or take) will result in a novel the length of The Mailbox.

What kind of activities do you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

It’s summer as I write this so I would say spending time at the pool relaxing with my family, going on vacation, and spending time with friends.

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?

I would probably have to say The Prince Of Tides. I read that when I was a senior in high school and it only cemented the fact that I wanted to be a writer. That book totally captivated me.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

You learn how they do things by example. What works, what doesn’t. I am very influenced by the writers I read. Reading works by great writers helps my writing more than anything. Their writing inspires me to write.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

The Mailbox is a perfect summer beach read; throw it in your bag for the pool or the beach and lose yourself in a story about Lindsey and Campbell, two people who once loved each other, lost touch, went on with their lives but then found each other again. Both hurting and a bit jaded by past experience, they have choices to make about taking risks and being vulnerable. How does the real mailbox on Sunset Beach NC fit into the story? You’ll have to read to find out!

Where did you get your inspiration for The Mailbox?

From visiting the real mailbox. It’s such a special, magical place. I wanted to share it with others and realized that wrapping a love story around it was the perfect way to do that.

Which character is most like you?

There are pieces of me in each of the characters. There’s not one that is most like me. I like spreading my sense of humor, my perspective, my interests, etc. amongst all the characters.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Probably Holly, the best friend of the main character. She doesn’t have a ton of scenes but I love the way she talks to Lindsey and the relationship they share. Holly tells the truth whether Lindsey wants to hear it or not. I think that’s what the best friendships are based on: the truth.

Did you know how The Mailbox would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

Yes, I knew how it would turn out from the beginning. In fact the twist was the first thing I thought of and I had to structure the rest of the story so that the twist would make sense.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

That God never gives up on us and that He pursues us even when we want nothing to do with Him. He is a gentleman, never forcing Himself into our lives, yet patiently waiting for the moment we choose Him. That’s what He did for Lindsey and that’s what He’ll do for you.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

Lots of social media—Facebook, Twitter, blogging. The book was selected for She Reads www.shereads.org and featured on Christian MomLogic as a book club pick. I’ve had lots of good response also from readers who’ve read my devotions for years on the Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today devotions. It all seems to work together—I can’t say one thing has worked better than the other.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I have a book coming out in June of 11 with Cook. Beyond that, I am not under contract but am going to begin writing another book soon. I don’t want to lose the momentum I’ve gained!

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Reading is wonderful and will bring much benefit to your life. Whether it challenges you, informs you, or just offers you a great escape through the power of a story, reading is never wasted time.
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Marybeth is giving away a copy of her book The Mailbox. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

2 comments:

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

This is a beautiful cover, Marybeth. Congratulations on your first sale!!

liz white said...

We found you once again Mary Beth thanks to your mom finding me after 34 years just yesterday! Congratulations on publishing six books that I plam to read
cant wait to see you with love your aunt liz greensboro nc

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