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Monday, March 23, 2009

Guest Post: Katherine Center, Author of Everyone Is Beautiful

On Friday, I posted my review of Everyone Is Beautiful by Katherine Center. I absolutely loved this book, and was thrilled that I also get to share a guest post with the author with you!

Katherine Center’s second novel, Everyone Is Beautiful, is featured in the March issue of Redbook. Kirkus Reviews likens it to the 1950s motherhood classic Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, and says, “Center’s breezy style invites the reader to commiserate, laughing all the way.” Booklist calls it “a superbly written novel filled with unique and resonant characters.” Katherine’s first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster, was featured in People Magazine, USA Today, Vanity Fair, the Houston Chronicle, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. BookPage named Katherine one of seven new writers to watch, and the paperback of Bright Side was a Breakout Title at Target. Katherine recently published an essay in Real Simple Family and has another forthcoming in Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers on the Mother-Daughter Bond this April. She has just turned in her third novel, Get Lucky, and is starting on a fourth. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two young children.

You can visit her website at http://www.katherinecenter.com/.

Lanie Coates’s life is spinning out of control. She’s piled everything she owns into a U-Haul and driven with her husband, Peter, and their three little boys from their cozy Texas home to a multiflight walkup in the Northeast. She’s left behind family, friends, and a comfortable life–all so her husband can realize his dream of becoming a professional musician. But somewhere in the eye of her personal hurricane, it hits Lanie that she once had dreams too. If only she could remember what they were.

These days, Lanie always seems to rank herself dead last–and when another mom accidentally criticizes her appearance, it’s the final straw. Fifteen years, three babies, and more pounds than she’s willing to count since the day she said “I do,” Lanie longs desperately to feel like her old self again. It’s time to rise up, fish her moxie out of the diaper pail, and find the woman she was before motherhood capsized her entire existence.

Lanie sets change in motion–joining a gym, signing up for photography classes, and finding a new best friend. But she also creates waves that come to threaten her whole life. In the end, Lanie must figure out once and for all how to find herself without losing everything else in the process.

Katherine Center’s Everyone Is Beautiful is a hugely entertaining, poignant, and charming new novel about what happens after happily ever after: how a woman learns to fall in love with her husband–and her entire life–all over again.

And now, without further ado. . . a guest post from Katherine Center:

Comedy and tragedy are not the same thing. Of course not. We all know that. Comedy is funny and tragedy is—um—not.

They’re opposites. One is happy and the other is sad. One is hopeful and the other is hopeless.

In the novel I’ve just finished writing (which won’t hit the stores for a year) two characters—sisters—talk about love and hate between men and women:

She raised her eyebrows. “Hate is kind of the same thing as love.”

“Not really,” I said.
“They’re two sides of the same coin.”
“Sure,” I said. “Except one side is love and the other side is hate.”

The sisters talk a little more, and then one concludes that hate, because it’s a strong emotion, is good.

“Listen to yourself talking,” I said. “Hate is not good. It’s the opposite of love.”

“No,” she said, making sure I held her gaze. “The opposite of love is indifference.”

Some people don’t think comedy and tragedy can be mixed up together in the same novel. It’s like a story must either be serious or lighthearted. But my favorite stories are often both at the same time. I love novels that can make you laugh and make you cry. I love stories that examine that intense connection between opposites—funny and sad, light and dark.

Real life is that way. It’s jam-packed with opposites. Humor makes heartbreak bearable, and heartbreak gives meaning to humor. They are not the same, but they exist together. They need each other. They help us make sense of the world.

My husband is the funniest person I know. He has many gifts, but one of them is that he can find humor in almost any situation. And in the years since we’ve been parents, there have been plenty of occasions to use that gift. Once you have babies, your heart is so naked. You love them so desperately, and they are so tiny and so hard to understand. So much is out of your control.

When my son was a baby, our doctor thought he might be very sick. He turned out to be fine, but for months and months we didn’t know. We just had to watch him and hope for the best. And I was almost overcome with worry then. I just walked around all day with my entire body squeezed into a fist.

Many things about that time in our lives amaze me, looking back. The fact that I even made it through the day, for one. But also: The amount of joking we did. The way we sought out ways to laugh about our sorrows. The way that laughter kept us all afloat. It was impossible that we were laughing. But we did it. And that’s how we carried on from one moment to the next.


bermudaonion said...

I'm looking forward to reading Everyone Is Beautiful - I've watched the trailer and it looks so wonderful. Great guest post.

Library Cat said...

I am getting an ARC of Everyone is Beautiful from LibraryThing and I am so excited. As the mother of three sons and a daughter, and an ex-husband who worked night, I know I will have lived this book. Thank you for the post. And thanks Wendi - wonderful as always.

kalea_kane said...

This looks wonderful, Wendi! Great guest post too! I am definitely putting this on my TBR list. :)

Kelly :)

Anonymous said...

What a great guest post! I'll have to add the book to my ever expanding wish list :)

thewriterslife said...

"I love novels that can make you laugh and make you cry.."

Me, too, Katherine, me too!

Thank you Wendi for hosting her today!

Kelly said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful post! I look forward to reading this one!

LissaL said...

I am looking forward to reading all of Katherine's books. Everyone is Beautiful sounds as if it could be about my own life and I am well acquainted with the comedy/tragedy thing. As always Wendi, I thank you for leading the right books to land into my lap and onto my shelves:)

kalea_kane said...

P.S. Wendi, I know you are busy, but I wanted to post you an award. :)


Anna said...

Katherine is a wonderful writer. Thanks for sharing this.

Diary of an Eccentric

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