Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Wishing Tree Releases Today

Today my new book, The Wishing Tree is officially available. Since that's the case, I thought I'd post about the book-- where I got the idea and some inside glimpses into what went into the writing. I promise I'm not giving anything away here that isn't alluded to on the back cover. Here goes...

I got the original idea for the book when I was doing research for The Guest Book. I was looking into the history of guest books, wondering if some aspect of this practice would be a good element in my novel. (You never know and it's always worth looking.) When I searched "guest books" the concept of a wishing tree at a wedding came up on some page somewhere. I had never heard of this, and thought it was a very cool idea, one of those things where you snap your fingers and think "Why didn't I have that at my wedding?"

As I read up on wishing trees out of pure curiosity, a story started forming in my mind. What if there was going to be a wedding at Sunset Beach NC? And what if that wedding was going to have a wishing tree because it was a custom in that family? And what if the person put in charge of that wishing tree was struggling with her own wishes for her marriage, now gone wrong? The elements were all there and my mind began chewing on the story, even as I was writing another.

One day I was watching Good Morning America and a guy proposed to his girlfriend on the show. She was a teacher and thought she was being interviewed for something to do with her students. I realized as I thought about this that it would make for a great opening scene-- the contrast of a main character (Ivy) watching her sister (Shea) get proposed to in this amazingly romantic way even as it's becoming unavoidably clear that the romance has disappeared in her own marriage. It became the perfect way to set up the tension that exists in this story.

The other element that somehow worked its way into my idea for this story was the idea of a husband who's desperate to talk to his wife (who is deservedly upset with him and wants nothing to do with him) resorting to Twitter in hopes that he will somehow get to her. It was fun to give readers a glimpse of who this guy is via his tweets. Is he sympathetic? Does he deserve forgiveness? Can he be trusted? What should Ivy do? What would you do?

One thing I have said frequently is that this is a great book for book clubs because it will provoke discussion. Does Ivy make the right decision? Do you feel sorry for her or angry at her? How has her past factored into her present? And how does this story apply to you, the reader?

The more I wrote this story, the more it became clear that it was a story about forgiveness-- the grace we can show each other, the grace we must allow ourselves, what it takes to give and receive forgiveness, and the freedom that can come when we do. It's a concept we can all probably identify with in some way or another and, I hope, a story that will consequently resonate with readers. It was one of my harder books to write, because the characters don't always do nice or appropriate things, and sometimes I wanted to shake them. But I had to let them make their journeys, learn their lessons, and apply those lessons to their lives. It's kind of like being a parent.

And now it's time for this particular baby to leave the nest and be received, for better or worse, by all of you. As for me, I'm immersed in another novel that I will hopefully be telling you about this time next year. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you if you get a chance to read The Wishing Tree!

Here's a Pinterest board I created with the book in mind:

And I'll leave you with the trailer, in case you haven't seen it:

Pin It!


Heather said...

Congrats! I think The Wishing Tree is a great story about how we deal with life when the reality doesn't match up with our expectations and I love how the theme of forgiveness is treated.

Tiffany Lingg said...

Congrats on the new book!! I have read all of your previous novels and LOVED them!! Even passed them along to my mom and sister to read. Now I have to make myself a note to buy this one for my Kindle when I get home. Can't wait to start reading!!!

Kimberly said...

Sounds like a blessing for all of us out there!!

.....Elizabeth..... Polka Dot Skies said...

I enjoyed The Wishing Tree! Wishing you much success with your newest book! I wrote a little post on my blog!

bp said...

I thought it was a great book! I posted my Amazon review and have my blog review scheduled to post this afternoon. Thanks for continuing to write such great books!

Pam said...

Loved this one! I am excited about your next . . . keep us posted!

Kristie said...

Marybeth, I too loved this book! I really connected with Ivy's character and the emotions she was going through. You did good!!!!

IL Nook Lover said...

I don't know you or any of your work, but I ran across your trailer and watched it today. From there, I read some of your blog, and sent trailer and a quote of yours to my granddaughter. Your new book sounds very good and has purpose beyond being a summer read. You may have new followers! We ALL need to learn more about disappointments in life and couple that to FORGIVENESS.

Thank you for your devotion to God and sharing his love.