Tell Me Something True: A Visit With Marybeth Whalen

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Today’s post by our own Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Marybeth Whalen

My new book has many of the elements I love to see in a novel– the beach, a wedding, and baked goods. I didn’t set out for those elements to be in the book, they just emerged as I thought through what this novel would look like. In some ways I feel that my stories are already there, in their entirety, long before I start thinking about them. I just have to wait for them to reveal themselves, piece by piece.

Once I knew that a bakery was going to be part of this novel, I had to do the best kind of research. I contacted the real Seaside Bakery at Sunset Beach, NC where the book is set (the owner so graciously allowed me to name my fictional bakery the same name) and asked the owner, Carolyn, if she’d mind if I dropped by. She did me one better– inviting me and my family to come to her bakery for a full wedding cake tasting like she puts on for brides. That experience– tasting all the yummy cake, filling and frosting flavor combinations to our hearts’ content– became a scene in the novel. And an experience our family will never forget.

My children, incidentally, think a bakery should be part of every book I ever write, from now on.

The Seaside Bakery in my book is not the real Seaside Bakery– it is a combination of the bakery I visited at Sunset Beach and the bakery I visited near my home, incorporating the unique things each place offered and creating a place that was truly fictional. The owner of the bakery in my book, the main character Ivy’s Aunt Leah, is nothing like the two bakery owners who opened their doors to me. Except for the fact that all three women love bringing smiles to people’s face through the magic of flour, sugar, butter all working together to create something sweet. In some ways, I am like these women. I hope that the magic of character, setting, and story work together to  add a little sweetness  to your summer in my book, The Wishing Tree.

* * *

Savvy, determined Ivy Marshall discovers that her husband has cheated on her on the very same day her sister’s perfect boyfriend proposes on national television. When Ivy’s mother asks her to return to her family’s beach home to plan her sister’s upcoming wedding, she decides to use the excuse to escape from the pain of her broken heart. When her return to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, brings Ivy face to face with her former fiance, old feelings are rekindled and she wonders if there is a future for them. However, when Ivy refuses to talk to her husband, he resorts to tweeting to her, expressing his remorse and making it clear he doesn’t want to give up on their marriage. As she helps prepare the wishing tree for her sister’s wedding, she must examine her dreams for her own future and what true love should be.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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5 Responses to Tell Me Something True: A Visit With Marybeth Whalen

  1. Amy Sue Nathan June 3, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Love your “one true thing,” Marybeth! And the book sounds wonderful. The idea of a wishing tree is fabulous.

  2. Marybeth Whalen June 3, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks Amy! It’s not great literary fiction but it’s a sweet story. Literally. :)

  3. Louise June 3, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Marybeth:

    Loved your column today! How lovely of those ladies to allow you and your family to come for a cake testing party! Fantastic. Hmm…maybe I should write a book about cabbage rolls, someone might invite me to come taste test too somewhere. lol

    Great column, thanks for sharing!!!

    Cheers,
    Louise
    Ontario, Canada

  4. Katherine Jones June 3, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    How fun is that? Can’t wait to see how this scene works into the novel. Thanks for sharing this, Marybeth!

  5. Barbara June 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Mary Beth,
    I love Seaside Bakery and Carolyn is so much fun to talk to…I won’t even start about how delicious the bakery goodies are!
    I’m really enjoying your new book…it makes me want to head out to Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach for another adventure but for now I’m content to be reading by the pool.

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