Marybeth Whalen’s book, The Wishing Tree (Zondervan), released this June, tells the story
of Ivy who has just discovered her husband’s infidelity as she plans her
sister’s wedding.Ivy must confront her
feelings about love and marriage head on and decide if she has what it takes to
love once more, and whom it is that she will love.
Q: Your new book introduces readers to the concept of a
“wishing tree.”What is a “wishing
It’s actually a Danish tradition of putting a wishing tree up
at a wedding. And it’s just basically branches
stuck in a pot kind of artfully arranged. The idea is you send out tags either beforehand, or just have them there
at the wedding, and then the guests either send in, or bring them, or sign them
there, their wishes for the couple that's getting married. The tree is usually up at the reception
somewhere that the guests will be able to see it. The idea is that the couple gets to take this
home and have all of these wishes for their marriage.
I thought, that's such a great picture, a visual, of what
it's like to go into marriage. The main
character [in the The Wishing Tree],
Ivy, on the day that her sister is proposed to on national television in front
of millions of people, on that same day, she discovers that her husband's
cheating on her. So this idea of this
person who’s sort of disillusioned with marriage, having to interact with
people's wishes for marriage, to me, just became a great tension for her.
Q: This book is set in Sunset Beach, North Carolina. Why did you choose that place in particular?
It is a place that I fell in love with when I was 15 years
old, and that is reflected in my first novel that I did which was set there, The Mailbox. And it's just the place of my heart. I say that I live in Charlotte, but my heart
lives at Sunset Beach.
Q: Adultery is not an easy topic to write about. How did you approach this subject
It's a topic that keeps coming up in my circle of friends, and
it just seems to be something a lot of people face. The crux of the issue of adultery is that
it’s usually just a symptom of a bigger problem. There's always an underlying story that was
going on long before the actual adultery took place.