The Guest Book Giveaway with Marybeth Whalen

The winners of the three Seek packages from Donna Jones are: Luz, MO gal and Deborah. My assistant Kim will contact you to get your home address.


I have a confession to make. I’m not a huge fiction fan.

I have friends who always have a novel tucked in their bag or loaded on their Kindle ready to read when they can find even a tiny pocket of time.

The practical side of me says, “Reading fiction isn’t using my time wisely. I’m not getting anything done nor am I learning anything I can use in real life.” That is the “do-er” in me talking.

However, I have a little problem. I have a few friends who are fiction writers.


Marybeth Whalen is one of those friends. She challenged me a few years to look at fiction with different eyes. Fiction helps to relax us. (I’m a nervous Nille who doesn’t kick back much.) Fiction can inspire us. It can cause us to see the good in humanity or the glory of God. It can teach us important life lessons.

Reading fiction helps the “do-er” in me pause long enough for the “be-er” in me to emerge.

So, I took her up on the challenge and she was right. I read her book The Mailbox and I learned of a God of second chances. I read her book She Makes it Look Easy and I was reminded that comparisons kill contentment. (Which is the entire point of one of my talks!)

Marybeth has just released another novel called The Guest Book. Hear what she has to say about it:

How did the idea for The Guest Book come about?
I got a letter from a woman who had read my first novel, The Mailbox. In the letter, she mentioned a guest book she used to draw pictures in when she was little. That image– of a little girl drawing in a guest book– became the impetus for the story. The rest of the story elements emerged over time.

How do you come up with the characters personalities and their names?

I keep a running list of names I might use. I try to look for uncommon names, or names that reflect a certain personality. As for their personalities, it seems my characters just come with theirs, strange as that may sound.

What do you hope your readers gain from experiencing this novel?

I hope that they feel hopeful about their own situations. This is a novel about moving forward in life, about getting unstuck and learning to believe again. I love hearing that my characters’ situations have helped readers reflect on their own situations and gain a different perspective.

What is next on the writing horizon for you?
I have another Sunset Beach love story coming out next summer. This one is called The Wishing Tree, about two sisters, a beach wedding, and the hopes and dreams we carry into marriage.
Thanks Marybeth!
Now, to be entered to win The Guest Book giveaway, leave a comment on how many fiction books you read a year.  You may win the package which includes the book, a beach tote from Target, some decorative beach shells, some coconut-lime breeze lotion and a Yankee Candle in Ocean Breeze scent. Winner announced Friday.


  1. I LOVE reading christian fiction……Karen Kingsbury & Beverly Lewis are two of my favorites!! Would LOVE to win a copy of this book as we don’t have any of hers at our tiny local library.

  2. I loved The Mailbox so much! I picked it up at The Pelican in Sunset Beach, NC where the owner told me about the book and the author and a bit of the local story. I couldn’t put it down, especially since I recognized so much in the novel.

    Anyway, I probably go through a good 50 novels in a year…but I cheat. I have a 45 minute commute each way to work and I listen to audio books in the car. So my total is made up of books I actually read and those I listen to. With that said, I love to read and have two daughters who are also avid readers. We often share books and love our local library.

  3. I usually read non-fiction so to be honest I read only about 2 fiction books a year but I am starting to mix it up more.

  4. I read a handful of fiction books each year, mostly in the summer or while I’m on Christmas break (I’m a teacher). I would love to read more, but just don’t find the time, and like Karen, I often feel a little guilty, like I’m wasting time, not learning anything. I really love Christian fiction though, and I almost always am reminded of some Truth that grows my faith.

  5. I just finished reading She makes it look so easy. It is a must read. I hardly ever get a chance to read a book and I could not put this book down. Loved it and am looking forward to reading The Guest Book.

  6. I love reading Christian novels. I probably read 15 or more a year. I also love reading the books I have found on Proverbs 31 also. I use them for my devotions and read my Bible. I journal also which helps me alot and I make notes I can refer to later.

  7. I am not even sure I can quantify the number of books I read in a year. I do read quite a bit of non-fiction but by far I read way more fiction. My brain is constantly whirring and has trouble turning “off”. I learned as a child to quiet my brain right before going to sleep by reading. To say I am an avid reader is an understatement. I have books loaded both on my kindle and my phone but still find all kinds of pleasure in holding a book in my hands. I look forward to reading Marybeth’s books. I love this giveaway!!

  8. I can’t think of any adult fiction I’ve read in the past year. Just baby books to my 10 month old. But I would enjoy a good novel, and I only have three weeks left of working outside my home!

  9. Well, if you count the books I read with/to my daughter, I’d say I read about 400 a year! :o) Ok, personally, I get to read about 2-4 a year. Thank you for the chance to win!

  10. I normally don’t have much chance to read because I am a do-er also and don’t take the time to sit and read. This year I have read only 1 fiction book.

  11. I read 2-3 books per week. Most always it’s fiction and always Christian. Reading a good book is like watching a favorite tv program except you can pick it up and put it down anytim
    e…it’s always on!

  12. Reading your confession made me look to make sure I had not written that as a comment. Those are the exact words I have as my standard answer when someone offers me a new read. I had to stop telling then that I felt it was a waste of time since that made most people feel as though I thought they were wasting time. I like your perspective & I’m wiling to give it a try.

  13. I don’t often allow myself the time to sit down and just read for pleasure, and if I do it’s normally not fiction. I’ve been intrigued by Marybeth’s books and would love the opportunity to enjoy one of them.

  14. I don’t read fiction generally, because I also have the mindset of it not being productive. I “fantasize” about reading fiction though. But I wouldn’t know where to start, even if I did start…….so the “Guestbook” would certainly answer that question, wouldn’t it!?! Would love to win!

  15. Icould easily read 2-3 books a week but I work and have a family. Love read but have a hard time putting books down. Now I keep it to maybe a book a month.

  16. I occasionally read children books (they’re my favorite). Usually biographies or based on some event in history other than the best history book, the Bible. Always looking for a good book at a sale, or at the library.

  17. I love to read fiction books, some authors really know how to pull you in. I would say I read about 12-20 books in a year depending on what my life allows.. LOL, I know when my kids are grown I will read a lot more, as I can finish a novel in a few days if I get some undisturbed reading hours.
    This would be awesome to win…

  18. I enjoy reading fiction. I don’t have a lot of time to spend reading, but when I do get the time, I love reading something that I don’t have to think about or remember – I just have to enjoy reading. It’s a great destressor after a long day at the office. If I can stay away on the bus ride home, then I have almost 1 1/2 hours of solitude to enjoy my books. I guess there are some perks to having a lengthy commute. :)

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