“Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason. They made no such demand upon those who wrote them.” - Charles Caleb Colton
My first novel, The Mailbox, was a light, fun beach read. While writing it, I basically went to the beach every day in my mind and thought about love all the time. What's not to like about that?
It's not that the book didn't demand much from me— to actually write a book in any form is demanding. It just didn't always feel like work. So it didn't prepare me for writing my second novel, and what that writing process would take out of me. To write She Makes It Look Easy, I had to write about something that hit close to home: my own tendency to compare myself to other women and come up short— and how damaging that behavior has been to my marriage, my motherhood and myself. I had to not only write the part of the character, Ariel, doing the comparing, I had to find something sympathetic about the woman, Justine, she was comparing herself to. Try as I might to leave her out, Justine wanted to be heard. And what she had to say was quite surprising.
Seems her life wasn't as picture perfect as she had us all believe. It seemed that there were some things she was hiding— trapped in a prison of perfection and desperate to get out. Her desperation ultimately broke my heart and gave me so much grace towards her. Grace I didn't start out with when I typed those very first words.
I once heard it said that all plots for all books can be expressed in six words: Things are not as they seem. That was certainly true of She Makes It Look Easy— things were not as they seemed with Justine, or Ariel. They both had a lot to learn about themselves... and each other. The truth is, we all do. She might make it look easy, but it's not. For any of us.
Justine taught me that. I'm certainly glad I let her have her say.
- Marybeth Whalen
The author's inspirational mainstream novel, She Makes It Look Easy, is in stores now. For more book reviews and features, please visit our Everything Inspirational page.