March 12, 2009

Katherine Center: Fellow March Birthday Celebratee

Like my title pun? Or, as is more likely, hate it?
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 DAISES, 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 read my review of EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL - the post also contains the book trailer.


I am a March baby, too. And I just had my birthday. I turned 37, and now I am old. Boom. Just like that.

I knew it was coming: 37. Though I wasn’t thinking about it too much—or even seeing it as a Big Birthday, the way 40 will be. It was just another birthday, and, like with many things in life—a due date, say, or a book coming out—it snuck up on me.

I’ve always been struck at how not-at-all different you are when your birthday finally arrives after all that buildup. It’s almost a letdown. You wake up, and you’re still just you. Same old, same old.

But this year, washing my face just before I woke my kids for school, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and saw wrinkles. Deep, significant, there-to-stay wrinkles. And I swear they weren’t there the night before.

And so it was really lucky for me that I happen to be a big fan of wrinkles. I’ve even joined the Bring Back Wrinkles group on Facebook.

I guess the downside of wrinkles is that they remind you you’re not young anymore. But guess what? I already knew that.

And I’m not even sure that I would want to be young again, frankly. As fun as it was.

I’m on a book tour this week, and one of my stops has taken me to a little town north of Seattle where one of my best friends from college lives. Last time I saw her was at my wedding. Nine years ago.

She’s hanging out with me right now at a hotel room, working on her computer just like I am working on mine. We both have a lot going on, and it’s pretty quiet in here, except for the typing. But every few minutes, one of us will pipe up and say, “Remember when we got obsessed with dominos and couldn’t stop playing?” Or, “Remember when we found that train-car diner in Maine?” Or “Remember that time we played that drinking game watching When Harry Met Sally?”

A lot has changed since then: I’ve had two children and written two books. She’s opened the restaurant she always dreamed of. We are, in fact, living exactly the lives we hoped for.

And so I’m not going to complain about the wrinkles. Or that I’m not twenty-two anymore. Or that life carries you away from people and places you loved. Or that the joys of life have to be spaced out over time. You can’t have everything all at once. That’s what memories are for. And also, gratitude: You loved them once. You really did love them. And that just has to be enough.


Book Cover

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.

Book tour by Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

I can't believe how many March babies I'm finding. We're popping out of the snow . . . like . . . like daisies! And now I want to watch Mulan.


  1. Haha nice title pun! I'm always a fan of puns, and so all my friends think I'm dorky for it.

    :0 I live near Seattle! What a co-wink-a-dink. You're really lucky that you got to do everything you've dreamed of in your life! :)

  2. Congratulations on all of your success. I am eagerly anticipating this book.

  3. What's Mulan got to do with March? ;P

    Excellent Q&A - it is amazing how fast time flies and how gradually you grow older (though it feels fast)! This book sounds really interesting and it reminds me of Fairy Tale Blues a little.

  4. Sounds like a beautiful read, I've been meaning to check it out. =) And great interview, it's awesome that you're exactly where you want to be.

    Hehe, Mulan's a great movie!

  5. Thanks, Liviania, for introducing us to yet another terrific author! All of these wonderful women sound like people I'd love to sit down and have a cup of coffee with.

    Mulan IS a great movie but now you've got me wanting to watch more animation, like Lilo & Stitch, Emperor's New Groove, Spirited Away...

  6. I'll read any book with a cupcake on the cover!

  7. i love that you joined the Bring Back Wrinkles group. that is embracing yourself just the way you are

  8. This has been a great book to follow around the virtual tour and I have learned so much about the book and the author during the last week or so, it's sure to be a huge hit

  9. I love getting together with my best friend from high school. The remember when? conversations are always so much fun.

  10. Thanks for all these great comments! And thanks so much to Liviania for inspiring me to think about my 20s. It really seems like a lifetime ago. And, at the exact same time, it feels like I STILL am 20!! So crazy...
    Many thanks!! And PS--Have you guys seen the book trailer?

  11. I have to admit she looks younger than 37! =)

  12. I think people get so wrapped up in age and the numbers of age, that they don't stop to realize the things that you brought up. Why does age matter so much? My best friend turned 25 earlier this month and she was freaking out about it. But for some reason I just don't see the big deal about aging. You live, you experience things... And yah, sometimes things change for the worst and you don't have the good things you had in the past. But things happen for a reason, and I think... well I think that's a good thing, because there's always something better in the future. I think you have to believe that.

  13. Happy birthday?



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