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: