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.
Katherine will be on virtual book tour in March 2009 to promote her latest romantic comedy novel, Everyone is Beautiful. We interviewed her to find out more about her wonderful new book.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Katherine. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose romantic comedy to write?
A: It’s a perfect genre for the things I like to write about—love, family life, and the comedy and heartbreak of getting through the day. My books are comedies, but they also have some meat on their bones, too—they’re bittersweet.
Q: Did you outline before you wrote your book or did you just go with the flow?
A: Both. I make an outline—so I can at least feel like I know where I’m going—but then I never follow it. Once they characters come to life, they are in charge.
Q: Who was your favorite character in Everyone is Beautiful and why?
A: I love them all in different ways. I love the main character, Lanie, a lot—because she’s just totally honest about everything going on with her. She’s telling the story, and she doesn’t hold anything back in the way that your very best friends don’t hold anything back. That makes me feel very close to her.
Q: Who was your least favorite character?
A: It’s hard for me to pick a least favorite. I feel the sorriest for this guy Nelson, who has bad Ted Koppel hair and whose life is spiraling downwards a bit in the story.
Q: Can you tell us about the setting and why you chose it?
A: It’s set in Cambridge, Massachussetts—in an apartment where I lived for a summer about ten years ago. I loved Cambridge, and I loved the summer I spent there. So setting the book there allowed me to spend some time back in that apartment.
Q: What was the hardest part to write?
A: The writing itself is never hard for me. But getting the time to write can be hard. I have two little kids, ages three and five, and so I have to fit my writing life into the margins around my parenting life. Every now and then, though, my husband will take the kids for a few days, and I’ll head to a hotel to really sink into the story and really focus.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the story? Where were you when you came up with the idea?
A: Almost everybody I know who is a mother of young children is working pretty hard to figure out how to take good care of her family and herself at the same time. Suddenly, once you have kids, there aren’t enough hours in the day. I wanted to write about a woman who has been swept into motherhood and forgotten about herself—and then decides to get herself back.
Q: Do you plan on writing more romantic comedies?
A: Yes! I’ve just turned in my third novel, Get Lucky, which will come out next year. And I’m just starting a fourth.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Katherine. Can you tell us where we can find out more about you and your wonderful new book?
A: Thank you! My website is katherinecenter .