By: Marlo Schalesky (A wonderful writer and a GREAT friend!)
A Bit About If Tomorrow Never Comes:
They say you should reach for your dreams.
This time, they’re wrong…
Childhood sweethearts Kinna and Jimmy Henley had simple dreams—marriage, children, a house by the sea…everything they needed for happily ever after. What they didn’t plan on was years of infertility, stealing those dreams, crushing their hopes. Now, all that’s left is the memory of young love, and the desperate need for a child to erase the pain. Until…
Kinna rescues an elderly woman from the sea, and the threads of the past, present, and future weave together to reveal the wonder of one final hope. One final chance to follow not their dreams, but God’s. Can they embrace the redemptive power of love before it’s too late? Or will their love be washed away like the castles they once built upon the sand? The past whispers to the present. And the future shivers. What if tomorrow never comes?
A Bit About Marlo:
Marlo Schalesky is the award winning author of seven books, including her latest novel, If Tomorrow Never Comes, which combines a love story with a surprise ending twist to create a new type of novel that she hopes will impact readers at their deepest levels. Marlo’s other books include Beyond the Night (just nominated for a Christy Award – yay!), Veil of Fire (winner of the 2008 ACFW Book of the Year, historical category), and Empty Womb, Aching Heart- Hope and Help for Those Struggling with Infertility.
She’s had over 600 articles published in various Christian magazines, including Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, Decision, Moody Magazine, and Discipleship Journal. She has contributed to Dr. Dobson’s Night Light Devotional for Couples, Tyndale’s Book of Devotions for Kids #3, and Discipleship Journal’s 101 Small Group Ideas. She is a speaker and a regular columnist for Power for Living.
Marlo is also a California native, a small business owner, and a graduate of Stanford University (with a B.S. in Chemistry!). In addition, she has earned her Masters in Theology, with an emphasis in Biblical Studies, from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Marlo lives with her husband and five young children in a log home in Central California. When she’s not changing diapers, doing laundry, or writing books, Marlo loves sipping Starbucks white mochas, reading the New Testament in Greek, and talking about finding the deep places of God in the disappointments of life.
Odds & Ends:
For more information, including an audio interview with Marlo about IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES and helps for the infertility journey, visit www.marloschalesky.com
If Tomorrow Never Comes is available for purchase here and fine bookstores everywhere!
An Interview with Marlo:
How did you come up with the concept for If Tomorrow Never Comes?
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.
How closely is If Tomorrow Never Comes based on your personal experience?
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.
What is the symbolism for the title If Tomorrow Never Comes?
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.
Do you have a favorite character in If Tomorrow Never Comes? Why?
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. 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.
How did you choose the story line?
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.
What message would you like your readers to take away from If Tomorrow Never Comes?
Our culture tells us that we can do anything we set our minds to, we can accomplish any dream . . . and we should. “Reach for your dreams,” we say, as if that is the highest goal of humankind. Success posters (and platitudes) abound.
But 15 years of infertility and miscarriage have taught me that we are not the gods of our lives. There are things we cannot control, no matter how hard we try.
Perhaps that is why God calls us not to the pursuit of our dreams, but to love. “Love one another,” Jesus exhorts in John 13:34-35, and also gives, as the second greatest commandment, the exhortation to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev. 19:18, and all 3 Synoptics)
So, in our Grasp-Your-Dreams culture, I hope this book will stand against the tide, calling people instead to the way of love – to the way of laying down their lives for others instead of clutching their own dreams and plans.
I hope readers will be inspired to fight for their marriages with sacrificial love, and will be challenged to look to the future for the rewards of loving sacrificially, and to the past to remember the seeds of real love.
What is your goal or mission as a writer?
I hope to make God’s love in the midst of trials and tragedies evident and unmistakable. I dream of opening readers’ eyes to the wonder and mystery of our incredible, vivid God. And I hope the vision of Him will take their breath away.
Are there any other new projects on the horizon?
Yes! My third “love story with a twist,” currently titled Shades of Morning, is due out in early 2010. I’m in the midst of writing it now and am enjoying the characters and plot. For those who read If Tomorrow Never Comes, watch for Marnie, the quirky owner of the coffeeshop and bookstore, who will be the main character in Shades of Morning.
Marnie has her life just where she wants it. At least that’s what she tells herself – her past is hidden, her regrets locked tightly in a box on her shelf, and her bookstore and coffeeshop business is booming. No one knows what she’s done, who she’s been. That is, until the man she once loved finds her again and brings startling news – she’s now the guardian of her 15-year-old nephew, a boy she never knew existed. And to make matters worse, when the boy arrives, she discovers he has Down Syndrome. The past collides with the present, the box of regrets is exposed, and Marnie’s world shattered and rebuilt through the love of one special boy who makes all things new.
Screwed Up Texan says
Tricia, Thank you for the post and interview. Persuades me to want to read the book. Your blog is always a pleasure to visit.