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Guest post | Katherine Center, author of Everyone Is Beautiful

February 17, 2009

everyoneisbeautifulLast year I had the pleasure (my thoughts) of reading Everyone Is Beautiful by Katherine Center. I’d like to thank Ms. Center for taking time from her busy writing schedule to stop by The Printed Page.

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One of my taglines for “Everyone Is Beautiful” is: “Love. Marriage. Chocolate cake.” Another is: “What happens after happily ever after.”

From the beginning, I wanted “Everyone Is Beautiful” to be a love story about married people. Which turned out to be more of a challenge than I’d expected.

Any good love story needs a good obstacle. Right? An obstacle heightens the tension, frustrates the characters, and drives the story forward. The intended couple wants to be together, but they can’t. It’s horrible! It’s delicious!

It’s why Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” was so brilliant. What better obstacle could two young lovers face than one of them being un-dead and wanting to drink up all the blood of the other? Obstacle-wise, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

When I started writing “Everyone Is Beautiful,” I thought the children of the central couple would make a wonderful obstacle. The weary mom and dad want to be together, but—because of the craziness of parenting young kids—they can’t. Horrible! Delicious! Perfect!

Except young vampires have it easier than parents. They don’t need to sleep, for example.

I am always interested in the real heartbreaks and hilarity of family life. I always want to write about those things in a completely authentic way. I’m not even sure that the kid-antics in my books are heightened for comic effect. They don’t need to be: Real life with kids is already heightened. It’s the Three Stooges and Jerry Lewis and Lucille Ball all rolled into one never-endng reel of gags, pies-in-the-face, and yuks. And tears, too, of course. And fevers.

The trouble with writing honestly about kid-life, it turns out, is that kids are too good of an obstacle for a love story. Exhaustion isn’t sexy. Potty training isn’t sexy. Three kids with the stomach flu? Not sexy.

And so I had a problem to solve. First, I had to get these people away from their children—at least for a little bit—so that they could reconnect. And second, I had to broaden the definition of love.

Because love, when you’ve been married a while, can be hard to describe. It’s not the same thing as that early, breathless infatuation that hogs our attention.

But maybe it’s better.

It’s easy not to notice how good things are. We are always forgetting to count our blessings. But every now and then a moment knocks you sideways. Like when you catch a glimpse of the person you’ve been with all these years across the room at a party, say, or standing at the sink washing dishes, and you feel that crazy flutter of infatuation again, just like it was back in the beginning—except now a million times better. Better for the lessons life has taught you. Better for the miracle that anybody ever stays with anyone else. Better for all the things you know now that you couldn’t possibly have known then. And better for the blessings that have been forgotten.

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5 Comments
  1. February 17, 2009 5:22 pm

    Great post! This book is in my TBR pile, as you well know, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

  2. February 17, 2009 7:32 pm

    I really enjoyed this guest post! I should be receiving this book soon for a tour next month. Can’t wait to read it!

  3. February 17, 2009 11:28 pm

    I love that this plot has been tackled. The romance novels I’ve liked the best are those where the couple gets together early and then has face a conflict together (Jayne Ann Krentz tends to do this).

    I look forward to reading EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL.

  4. February 18, 2009 9:19 am

    Along the lines of seeing each other across a room–the part where he walks right by her at the gym was kind of devastating.

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  1. EVERYONE is officially BEAUTIFUL! « katherine center

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