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 can definitely relate to how you felt about fiction…. although I must say I do enjoy the half dozen or so that I have read this year. Marybeth’s new book, The Guest Book sounds like a must read book to me!

  2. I prefer biographies but I’m open to reading something you write!! I’d like to read some good fiction book and see if I like it.

  3. I love to read! So do all three of my girls, which is great, because if I don’t feel like I have the time to read my own books, I will read theirs instead! Lol! I’d say I read at least 15 a year, but probably much more if you count their books. And I am a “can’t turn off the light; just one more chapter” kind of reader. I haven’t read anything by this author yet, but plan to now! Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Honestly I don’t read as much as I used to (much changes with 4 children, the first three all at once…yes triplets!). I do, however, love books & fiction books. Janette Oke was my favorite for so many years, but that was forever ago it seems!

  5. so far none…busy mom with a 2 and a 5 year old. would love to have some me time and escape with a good book to read.

  6. Hard to say how many books I read a year. Generally 2 -3 fiction books a week, but if not able to be up doing things or not sleeping may read 5 or more. My dad keeps me supplied with Westerns, military/law enforcement type books, which I also enjoy. However my favorite are the ones that point me to God. Those whose characters I can relate to/learn from.

  7. My husband would probably say this number is lower than it really is, but I’m going to say it’s about 50 a year. I go through these phases where I read everything I can get my hands on. I get so wrapped up in reading, that I can get a book done in a day. Obviously, nothing much else gets done, but I HAVE to finish the book. Then I have phases where I don’t want to read anything for awhile. I have always loved to read, and I also like to solve puzzles, so my books of choice usually involve some type of mystery that needs to be solved. Now if only I could solve the mystery of how the dryer eats one of every sock………………….

  8. Oh wow. I love love love Christian fiction!!! I just started looking for new books to ready yesterday for after my state boards which is in two weeks eek. I haven’t be able to read much in the last 2 years due to crazy school schedules and never ending papers, exams, homework and clinical. I think this would be a great inspiring book to start with.

  9. I love fiction books! I don’t know how many a year I read but I read between 1-4 a week depending on what else is going on.

  10. My problem is i have A.D.H.D. and i have a terribly hard time sitting down and being still long enough to read anything. I do love fiction though just because sometimes my brain cells need to slow down long enough for just fun and a good fiction book is a great way to do it. I probably manage about 4 a year if i am lucky to be still that long.

  11. Hi Karen
    My family and I are actually on vacation on the Oregon Coast right now. I read The Mailbox and three other books on the way out here. I love Marybeth’s writing! I enjoy reading fiction but have to limit myself sometimes because it’s easy for me to read all day and forget about cooking etc!
    The Oregon coast is really different from Sunset Beach but we are still enjoying the magnificent beauty that God created here! (even though we are in long pants and sweatshirts. smiles)

  12. I can honestly say the answer is not as many as I would like! I feel like you do, Karen, where reading for “fun” is not something I have a ton of time for. When I check out a book from the library it is usually something that is informative, helpful, or encouraging, not necessarily entertaining. However, after reading your post, I am inspired to include Christian fiction books into my rotation!

  13. I read probably twenty to thirty fiction books a year of all genres.–not easy for a college student but I make it happen! *Funny story alert!* I even bought a Kindle because it was so portable and I could carry a bunch of books with me at once. I had it for a whole week before it fell in the floorboard of my car and I stepped on it and ruined the screen :D

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