Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

News & If Tomorrow Never Comes Interview

Hi Friends,

First, the latest news:

1) As you've probably heard, Beyond the Night was nominated for a Christy Award - Yay!
2) It was also just named a finalist in the Colorado RWA's Award of Excellence contest.
3) Watch for my article on infertility in next months Focus on the Family magazine.
4) Looks like I'm going to be a guest on The Harvest Show, probably in May. Pray for me!

Next, a few requests:
1) If you're in your local bookstore, see if they've gotten in If Tomorrow Never Comes and let me know. I'd LOVE to hear which stores have gotten it in.
2) If you've read it, please consider posting comments on Amazon for it, and on CBD. There are convenient links to the books page on the Fiction page of my website (see links on the top of my blog to get to the Fiction page.)
3) If you'd like to give away some bookmarks for me, just send me your address and let me know how many you'd like. Multnomah made up beautiful bookmarks for me, so I'd like to get them into the hands of readers either directly or by having friends drop off a stack at their local bookstore. Let me know if you'd like to help!

Last, in honor of the BIG RELEASE of If Tomorrow Never Comes, here's part of an interview I did for it recently (the second half of the interview, I'll post next week):

Marlo Schalesky
If Tomorrow Never Comes

Q: How did you come up with the concept for If Tomorrow Never Comes?

A: If Tomorrow Never Comes began with a single image that popped powerfully into my mind – an old man, walking along a foggy beach at dawn, bending to pick up an old locket from the sand. The rest of the story grew from there. The funny thing is, when you read the book, you’ll find that Kinna finds the locket, not an old man. But originally the image of the locket in the sand was so intriguing to me that I kept thinking about it until a story began to develop.

Q: How closely is If Tomorrow Never Comes based on your personal experience?

A: In If Tomorrow Never Comes, the main characters are struggling with the fall-out from infertility. I’ve spent most of my adult life – 15 years – dealing with infertility and miscarriage. I’ve had some successes along the way, and whole lot of failure, disappointment and pain.
So, as far as plot-line goes - what happens to the characters and how they’re changed and challenged through the book - that is uniquely Kinna & Jimmy’s story. But the emotions, the fears, the questions they face are things I drew from my own experience.

The longing for a baby that seems like it will never be fulfilled. I’ve been there. Month after month of trying and failing. Turning into year after year. I’ve been there. Frustration. Doubt. Wondering how God could possibly love me in the midst of this. Been there. Having to pry my white-knuckled fingers off my own hopes and dreams. Been there. Choosing to love anyway. Choosing to believe anyway. Choosing to trust God anyway. Been there.

It seems that just about every deep and meaningful thing I’ve learned about God, I can point to my journey through infertility and say, “Yeah, infertility taught me that.” It taught me that I’m not the god of my life. God is. It taught me there are things I cannot control, cannot achieve, no matter how hard I try. And sometimes we must choose to live the life God has given us, with love and hope, even when it’s not the life we dreamed.

Because infertility taught me that God calls us not to the pursuit of our dreams, but to love. “Love one another,” Jesus says. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” God taught me that through the journey of my own infertility. My hope is that If Tomorrow Never Comes will reveal the same truths to others as well.

Q: How long did If Tomorrow Never Comes take you to complete?

A: About a year. I went through four rounds of infertility treatments, and four subsequent miscarriages (ugh!) while writing If Tomorrow Never Comes, so it took me longer to write than is usual for me.

Q: What is the symbolism for the title If Tomorrow Never Comes?

A: The idea behind the title is that the choices and decisions we make today dramatically impact our future, our “tomorrows,” and not only ours but the tomorrows of others as well. Choosing to love, choosing to do right despite pain, disappointment, and sorrow, allows tomorrow to come. But choices made out of desperation, fear, and clinging to our own desires can cut off the future God wants for us.

We don’t know, we can’t see, what tomorrow holds. So all we can do is do what’s right now, love now, trust now. Because God sees the whole of our lives and weaves all things together, even those hard and painful things, in a way that will make a beautiful masterpiece in the Kingdom of God.

So, really, the title means that if we choose love today, if we choose sacrificial love, God will hold our tomorrows in His hand. That’s what’s at the heart of If Tomorrow Never Comes . . .the choice to love, the choice to believe, the choice to let go of our dreams in order to embrace His. To do it today, for the sake of all our tomorrows.

Q: Do you have a favorite character in If Tomorrow Never Comes? Why?

A: My favorite is Thea (her name is short for Alethia, the Greek word for Truth), who is the old woman whom Kinna rescues from drowning in chapter one. Throughout the story, all the reader knows is that Thea is there for a reason – she has a purpose in Kinna & Jimmy’s lives. With wry humor and odd confrontations, she steers Jimmy & Kinna toward reconciliation and one another. She helps them to remember their past love story.

What I like best about her is her humor mixed with mystery. She’s just fun. J She thinks she’s in a dream, and doesn’t want to become some crazy old lady with a houseful of cats. But despite her doubts, she chooses to care about Jimmy and Kinna and help them, no matter what. She chooses right, and as it turns out, that makes all the difference, for them, and for her too.

Q: How much research did the If Tomorrow Never Comes take?

A: If Tomorrow Never Comes required less research than all my previous books, mostly because I’ve lived the main issues for so long. I’ve even published a previous nonfiction book on the subject of infertility, so most of my research occurred in the smaller issues of the book, like construction equipment, nurse’s schedules, blood types, and Pacific Grove beaches (yay!).

Q: How did you choose the story line?

A: Well, the story line I chose isn’t the one you’ll read in the book. The story line you’ll read is the one the characters insisted on. Mostly it was Kinna’s fault – she simply wouldn’t do what I’d outlined for her to do! In fact, I rewrote the first third of the book a dozen times trying to convince her to act the way I wanted. But she wouldn’t cooperate. Just like in the story, she had her own plans! So finally I gave up and allowed the story to change and flow as the characters dictated. Needless to say, that worked out a lot better. So, I invite the reader to experience the story of If Tomorrow Never Comes much as I experienced it – page by page, scene by scene, being surprised and delighted by each turn of events.

Q: What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing If Tomorrow Never Comes?

A: I needed to research rare blood types for If Tomorrow Never Comes. I was surprised to find out that there are other types besides the regular A, B, and O combinations. There are even blood types that are particular to certain small tribes and races. For this story, the blood type “Lan Negative” fit the needs of the story. Before writing this story, I didn’t even know Lan Negative existed.