The Debutante Ball Welcomes Marybeth Whalen!

We are so excited to welcome author Marybeth Whalen to the Deb Ball today!

Many of you may already be familiar with Marybeth’s wonderful novels (she has authored several) but she’s visiting here today in the midst of her new release, THE GUEST BOOK, which just launched into the world a few days ago! Just read this summary and tell us you aren’t as anxious as we are to get your hands on a copy and dig in:

The Guest Book is about Macy Dillon, who has returned to Sunset Beach NC after a ten year absence, anxious to see if the artist she used to exchange pictures with in a beach house guest book has left her one last picture. Hoping to find him and convinced he’s the man she was always been meant to be with, she utters a desperate prayer one night as she walks on the beach. Within two days, three men show up– and they all could be him. Is one of them the artist she feels a connection to?

Does that not sound like the perfect summer read??!! Yes!

And guess what? Marybeth is offering to give away a signed copy to one lucky commenter (US and Canada only, please) so make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Now, without further ado…

Marybeth Whalen Takes the Deb Ball Interview!


Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.

Summer! It’s by far my favorite season. I love the clothes, the sun, the pool, the beach, the schedule-free days, the popsicles, the ice cream, the tomatoes and peaches from the roadside stand down the street.

Where do you love to be?

Home with my family. For one thing I get more done when I can stay home– both on the writing front and the family front. If I’m gone too much things get chaotic. Be it ever so humble there truly is no place like home.

Which talent do you wish you had?

I have metaphor envy. In my writing I can make up for my lack of metaphors by developing my characters and setting, pacing the plot in a page-turning way, and other little tricks of the trade I’ve picked up along the way. But when I read a beautiful metaphor written by an author I admire, I turn more than a little green.

Share something that’s always guaranteed to make you laugh.

Snarky humor. The more sarcastic, the better. I love dry wit coupled with the spark of intelligence. Also the moment in The Money Pit when the bathtub falls through the floor and Tom Hanks stands there and laughs maniacally.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Write the book you want to read. Write it because you love it and can’t wait to get back to it when you’re away from it. I wrote my first novel, The Mailbox, that way and I think it comes through in the writing. I may have improved as a writer since then, but I will always have an affinity for that story, because of the love that went into it.

What’s your next big thing?

My next book will be out next summer. It’s already turned in– yay! It’s another Sunset Beach love story, this time centering around a beach wedding. Beyond that, I’m playing with a new idea and just enjoying writing for the fun of it without being on deadline.

Have you ever met someone you idolized?  What was it like?

Last year I got to meet Pat Conroy at an author event. I had looked forward to this opportunity, rehearsing what I would say to him. (His book The Prince of Tides made a huge impact on me when I read it as a high school senior.) When the event rolled around, he had something come up and didn’t get to participate to the degree he normally would’ve. So all my rehearsing was for naught. But I did shake his hand and tell him my name. It’s probably best we left it at that because I surely would’ve embarrassed myself.

Has anyone ever thought a character you wrote was based on them?

Not that anyone’s admitted. However every time I write a main character, everyone thinks she is me. Of course there are parts of me in all my characters, or I couldn’t write them. But none of my main characters are thinly disguised versions of myself. If I did that, the book would be so boring no one would finish it. Unless they were really interested in the life and times of a mother of many who is always hovering near the point of insanity.

Marybeth Whalen is the author of The Mailbox and She Makes It Look Easy. Her newest novel, The Guest Book, is out this month. She also runs a site called She Reads, dedicated to selecting and discussing the best in women’s fiction. You can find the site at Finally she blogs at her own personal blog and the group blog, Southern Belle View She’s been married to Curt for 21 years and they have 6 children ranging in age from 20 to 7.

* * * *

Such great answers, Marybeth! Thank you so much for stopping by the Ball—and for those of you who want to learn more about Marybeth and her novels, you can find her on the web at her website, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

And remember to leave a comment to be entered to win a signed copy of THE GUEST BOOK!

39 Replies to “The Debutante Ball Welcomes Marybeth Whalen!”

  1. Ha! I adore snarky humor, too. And The Money Pit — so painfully funny. Seriously, I laughed so hard my belly muscles got sore.

    Thank you for dancing with us here at the Ball today! THE GUEST BOOK sounds like the perfect summer read to me — I can’t wait to dive into it.

  2. I love the premise of THE GUEST BOOK and wish you all the best with it (and that cover makes me desperate for a vacation!).

    I’m very much a homebody, too. I love kicking back and feeling comfortable, surrounded by stuff and people I love.
    Thanks for being with us today, Marybeth!

  3. Good morning everyone! This is very special for me. I meet Marybeth through Twitter and lo and behold, we realized we lived down the road from one another here in NC–it was amazing! I have since come to cherish her insight as a friend and a fellow writer so I am so thrilled to see her here at the Ball today sharing her thoughts with us!

      1. I’ve known MaryBeth since she was a little girl and she is a wonredful person with an awesome family. These pictures are absolutely gorgeous and it’s not every day you see love between two people like you see with her and Jeff. And the love they have for their two children shows in these photographs. They are truly blessed.

  4. You guys sure know how to make a girl feel welcome! Thanks for all the kind words here this Saturday am. Erika, the feeling is more than mutual. I am pretty fond of you myself and thank Twitter for bringing us together. Serendipity is one of my favorite words and it certainly applies here. And Kathy, can’t wait to see you in Greenville in August!

  5. I met Marybeth at a book festival in 2011 and I’ve admired her and her work since then. This book looks like a fabulous summer read! Thank you Debs for welcoming her here.

    1. Hi Anita! I’m so glad you’ve come by to share in Marybeth’s visit–she is such a doll, isn’t she? And I agree–THE GUEST BOOK sounds like the perfect summer read!

  6. Marybeth, you wonderful thing, congrats on the new book AND on having the next one turned in! So fun to see you here.

    1. Hi, Deb Eleanor! Oh, this is such fun! (Friends, I had the pleasure of the company of Eleanor AND Marybeth a few months back when Eleanor came through Charlotte on THE WEIRD SISTERS book tour–If no one objects, I’m going to call this a virtual reunion!)

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  7. Just wanted to hop in join the chorus saying that I adore Marybeth! She’s an amazing writer and a gorgeous human being. I’ve got a copy of The Guest Book so no need to toss my name in the hat.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Ariel. I feel so fortunate to have met Marybeth and I can’t wait to read THE GUEST BOOK!

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  8. Loved the Mailbox and Sunset Beach!! Thanks for the chance to win The Guest Book because I would love to read it too!!

  9. Ever since I was a girl, I have LOVED reading the comments in the guest books at various houses/condos rented for beach vacations! I love this premise for a novel.

    1. Hi mep! Thanks so much for stopping in! Oh, I’m with you on that–my family just came from a fun rental this summer and I PORED over the guest book. This book will be right up my alley!

  10. Reallly hope I am not to late to e in the runing for a copy of the new book. I really want to read it. I just finished SHE MAKES IT LOOK EASY AND lOVED IT. I HAVED ALSO READ THE MAIL BOX. i AM FROM nNC myself and hope to go th the beach one day soon and find “the mailbox” Iwrote down the “address where it is “supposed” to be.:) I am unable to drive due to seizures so I have to order my books online most of the time and have to pay for shipping…so it would be really nice to win this one:)

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