*image from the publisher’s website*
MBA&M:  What inspired you to write romantic novels?
MBW: I’ve always loved a good love story so it made sense to write one when the time came. While I want to cover women’s friendships and family dynamics and motherhood and other subjects, I’ll always have a romantic element in what I write. I just think it adds to any story.  
MBA&M:  Give our readers some background on your title “The Guest Book”,how it originated,the characters and such?
MBW: The idea for The Guest Book came out of a reader letter. She wrote me after reading my first novel, The Mailbox, to tell me how the novel had reminded her of the trips she used to take to her grandmother’s beach house and how the one thing her grandmother asked of the family members who used the house was to write in the guest book. She told me that when she was really little and couldn’t write yet, her father encouraged her to draw a picture, explaining that pictures tell stories just like words. All I can say is that even as I read that letter I knew that image– of a little girl furtively drawing in a guest book as her proud father looked on– would be the impetus for my next novel. I had no idea how the story would go from there, but I had that first glimpse I needed to go on.
MBA&M:  What is the allure of “beach” town stories to readers?
MBW: Many of us grew up going on family vacations in little coastal towns and have fond memories and feelings attached to those places. Setting a story in a place like Sunset Beach, NC evokes that “step out of time” feeling in a reader– that escape I think many of us are looking for when we open a book.
MBA&M:  I see you multi-task, can you share your special brand of expertise with our readers?
MBW: My best advice would be to find a system that works for you. For me, simple is key. Too complicated and I’m going to give up. Once you find a system, you can learn to fit your writing into that system. I spent a long time getting my family into smooth working order before I started writing– in hindsight, that was time well spent. (Not that things don’t go haywire regularly, because they do.)
MBA&M:  If “The Guest Book” was to be made into a movie,who would you cast as the characters?
MBW: Macy: Though she’s older than Macy is in the book, I pictured someone like Elizabeth Banks as I was writing
Wyatt: Chris Pine
Nate: Ryan Reynolds
Dockery: Chris Evans
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  • Reading level: Ages 18 and up
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310334748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310334743

Book Description

Publication Date: July 3, 2012
When Macy Dillon was five years old her father encouraged her to draw a picture in the guestbook of a Carolina beach house. The next year, Macy returned to discover a drawing by an unidentified little boy on the facing page. Over the next eleven years the children continue to exchange drawings … until tragedy ends visits to the beach house altogether. During her final trip to Sunset, Macy asks her anonymous friend to draw her one last picture and tells him where to hide the guest book in hopes that one day she will return to find it—and him. Twenty-five years after that first picture, Macy is back at Sunset Beach—this time toting a broken family and a hurting heart. One night, alone by the ocean, Macy asks God to help her find the boy she never forgot, the one whose beautiful pictures touched something deep inside of her. Will she ever find him? And if she does, will the guestbook unite them or merely be the relic of a lost childhood?
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We are offering  5 print copies of “The Guest Book” by Mary Beth Whalen to 5 lucky commenters. Yes, readers, that is 5 lucky winners. Please remember to leave a valid email address! Please spread the word on your social networks! Giveaway will run from today August 3 until August 10,2012.
Check back for our “Thoughts” on “The Guest Book” by Mary Beth Whalen!
We hope you have enjoyed your time with our guest and will please spread the word about “The Guest Book”!