When I first conceived the idea of Corner Booth, that’s all I had. A restaurant, a corner booth, and a guy who works there every Wednesday. Originally, Dean was an accountant with a firm in town. Carlie showed up, plopped herself into the booth, and voila! Everything changed about three thousand words in. I had to go back, rewrite that opening scene, and the next thing I knew, I was working with a child prodigy. Seriously??? Hmph.
But Carlie refused to remain the spunky girl with a sarcastic streak I’d originally intended her to be. I thought she’d bully Dean out of shyness. Instead, she insisted on being a broken woman with a distorted picture of herself. So, I thought it might be fun to have a short interview with her. Get her .02 on the whole thing. But first, the 3 things I love most about her.
- Carlie is teachable. She’s not perfect, she doesn’t just latch onto anything anyone says or have instant insight into herself or others. But she’s teachable. And man, I want to be teachable until the day I die.
- She’s sensitive without being an emotional basket case. I like that about her. I can learn from that. I’m not a very sensitive or emotional person, so I really learn from my characters. Usually what NOT to do. Carlie gave me a few pointers on what TO do.
- Carlie is a fighter, but she’s not in your face aggressive. She’s not the kind of person who plows down others in her attempts to keep herself going. But no matter how hard you try, you just can’t keep her down. And I like that.
On to the interview!
Chautona: So, Carlie, tell me. Asking a strange man if you can share his booth seems a bit out of character for you. Was it?
Carlie: It was absolutely out of character. Like I told Teresa, I had to put on a more confident air just to do it, and once I did, it became easier to feel like I acted. I say Dean brought out a more confident me even before I said a word.
Chautona: Why do you think you saw yourself so differently than those around you?
Carlie: Well, the story demonstrates some of it, of course, but really, the biggest part is that it’s easier for some of us to believe the negative stuff than positive. So every negative one compounds… builds up like an iceberg whereas positive stuff slides off and dissolves in the water. Add to that a boyfriend who treats you like dirt but no other guy treating you better, and you believe it all.
Chautona: Do you think your rekindled faith helped?
Carlie: Definitely. The more time you spend with the Lord, the easier (not that it’s necessarily EASY) just the easier it is to see yourself through His eyes. The Bible says so many things about our worth in Jesus and us being His workmanship. Jesus just doesn’t make garbage.
Chautona: So when I was plotting out that book–you know, on that trip to San Diego to visit Teresa (the real one, not yours), I remember planning how you wouldn’t be interested in that other guy–whatshisname. Do you think I made the right choice for WHY you weren’t?
Carlie: Definitely. I mean he could have had some terrible fault that made him just as bad as Blaine, or he could have met someone else… I like what you did because it happens, you know? Sometimes people–well, I can’t say, can I? It’ll give it away. Suffice it to say, I really appreciate you giving me a normal, basic, average reason that he wasn’t right.
Chautona: Some would say it’s a boring reason. Some might say it’s too commonplace. I mean, a fiction book is supposed to take you out of the ordinary and give you “an escape” so to speak.
Carlie: But you can make the ordinary interesting by showing it in a way that people can relate to while framing it in something less average. And that’s why it works so well. If everything you do is crazy out of the ordinary, then nothing stands out.
Chautona: I couldn’t have said it better. So, what’s your favorite thing about Dean?
Carlie: The way he cares about people. I mean, he brought me little gifts, before he even cared about me, because he could tell it would encourage me. He came to the funeral. Dean helped Hannah. He put himself–whoops! Almost did it again. So yeah. He’s a caring guy, and he’s great at showing it.
Chautona: So, if you could tell my readers anything right now, what would it be?
Carlie: Everyone needs to feel loved and valued. It’s in our DNA I think. And you can. Open the Bible. Read the words. See the whole course of human history–what God has done to demonstrate His love for us. The Bible is a love letter from God to us. Revel in it.
Chautona: Well, thank you for that. And thank you, everyone, for reading this. I’ve added a couple of my favorite quotes from the book below!