Friday, May 28, 2010

Guest Post by Wendy Wax and Contest Announcement!

I am so pleased to welcome Wendy Wax, author of The Accidental Bestseller and Magnolia Wednesdays to The Book Chick! Today Wendy tells us about her favourite beach:

Wendy: "Jonita asked me about my favorite beach, and I have to confess that despite years of seeking out beaches wherever I find myself, I’m still madly in love with the beach I grew up on.

St. Petersburg Beach, on the west central coast of Florida is a comma shaped barrier island that curves into the Gulf of Mexico. It was beautiful all year round, but the summers were especially wonderful. We spent most days at a beach hotel owned by family friends, where the moms played cards and the children, well, romped.

Some of my earliest memories include holding my breath. Family lore has it that I learned to swim before I could walk. I’m not sure if that’s actually true, but I do remember standing on the edge of the deep end where I would wait until people were watching (I guess I’ve always loved an audience) and then throw myself into the swimming pool and swim underwater to the other end where I’d come up for air to adult gasps of relief. I could and did spend hours in the pool doing handstands and trying to talk underwater clearly enough to be understood. Then there were the summersaults — how many you could complete without having to come up for air was a matter of pride. I’m happy to report that it looks like not breathing while ingesting large quantities of chlorine has had no long term effects.

Those long, hot summer days were spent eating ice cream sandwiches and racing across the sand between the hotel’s freshwater pool and the salty gulf with occasional stops to build sand castles or dig for coquinas. Other days we’d cartwheel down the hard packed sand near the waters’ edge for what seemed like miles.

During the school year, I went to the aptly named Sunshine Elementary, where we had a fish broil every fall and art class and P.E. sometimes took place on the beach.

My mother used to say that people who lived there had ‘sand in their shoes.’ I thought she meant this literally; after all there was sand everywhere—and not just in our shoes!

It took me a long time to realize that she was referring to the pace at which everyone and everything moved—or didn’t. I grew up assuming that everyone lived across the street from the beach under the shade of palm trees and spent hours perfecting their underwater summersaults. And by the time I’d finished high school, I couldn’t wait to leave for somewhere more exciting. It took going away to fully appreciate how lucky I’d been to grow up in such an incredible place. I’ve searched out sandy spots around the globe, and never found a beach I liked more.

Because I consider myself something of a beach aficionado, I fell in love with the cover for The Accidental Bestseller, which just came out in mass market paperback, the moment I saw it. I especially love the mental image it evokes: me on a stretch of white sandy beach (you KNOW which one) with a great read in my hands.

It’s a good thing I wasn’t asked to design that cover. The Accidental Bestseller is about four writer friends who help each other survive the publishing industry. It’s a real insider’s look at what it is to be a writer today, and as I wrote it I kept envisioning writing images; you know all those really scintillating cover visuals like fingers on a keyboard and a blank screen with an impatient cursor pulsing in the upper left hand corner. Fortunately, the art department was far savvier; instead of the process, they focused on the end result—a great beach read.

Since I wish I were on the beach right now, I’m running a contest for those of you lucky enough to actually get to one. Submit a picture of you reading The Accidental Bestseller on the beach—any beach—at and I’ll post it on Facebook and enter you in a drawing for a beach bag full of some of my favorite books.

And while we’re talking beaches, I’d love to hear about your favorite beach and what it is that makes it so special to you."

Jonita: In answer to Wendy's question, my favourite beach is the one in West Lake, Ontario. I've been to that beach many, many times in my 28 years, and it evokes nothing but wonderful memories. On the other hand, I'm lucky to live less than 15 minutes away from Turkey Point, Ontario, a beach that my kids and I absolutely love visiting in the summer. We try to visit at least twice a week while I'm off from work in the summer (oh, the joys of driving a school bus!). We love it so much that my husband and I had our wedding pictures done there when we got married on July 19, 2008. One of my favourite memories of our wedding day was standing on the beach with my brand- new husband as the boats parked nearby honked in celebration. We didn't know the people who owned the boats, but we were glad to have them as a part of our day. When my copy of the brand-new paperback edition of The Accidental Bestseller arrives, I'll go down to Turkey Point and convince my kids to take a picture of me reading the book for Wendy's contest - I'll post it here as well. Now for more on the contest:

In celebration of the release of The Accidental Bestseller in paperback (and the fabulous beachy cover!), Wendy Wax is holding a "Match the Cover" contest. Take a picture of yourself reading The Accidental Bestseller on the beach- any beach!- by August 1st and you'll be entered in a draw to win a beach bag full of books by some of her favourite authors!

After you take the picture, visit, click on 'Join Wendy's e-mail list', fill in the form, attach the picture, hit submit, and voila! You'll be entered to win the prize, and Wendy will also post your picture on her Facebook page. Make sure that you 'friend' her so that you can see your shot! Sounds like fun to me (and it's a great excuse to make a trip to the beach!). So what are you waiting for? Start snapping those pictures and good luck!!!


  1. Love this post!

    When the author mentioned Turkey Point it freaked my freak! My family is all around Featherstone Point, just down the road....

    Lovely post, and great introduction, for me anyway.

  2. Sounds like a great book for the summer reading list. I enjoyed this post Jonita; thanks

  3. Great interview Jonita! I posted this at win a book for you.

  4. I am learning to love the Florida beaches since we moved her last October. I've been to St. Petersburg but sadly didn't make it to the shoreline while there. I hope to make it down that way someday.

    Great post and interview!