Sunday, March 28, 2010

Beth Kephart shares her inspiration for The Heart Is Not a Size

Today, I am delighted to welcome one of my favorite authors, Beth Kephart, to my blog. Beth's new book, The Heart Is Not a Size, will be on bookshelves March 30th and she's here today to share with us the inspiration for the book. Enjoy Beth's post and the pictures that she took in Juarez and please comment below. One lucky commenter will win a copy of The Heart Is Not a Size.

Beth Kephart (words in blue):
My husband is Salvadoran, and I spent 15 years researching his home. I traveled, took photographs, learned the geography. I lived through monsoons, and I picked coffee, and I traveled in the violent aftermath of the guerrilla wars. I wrote a novel about El Salvador then chose to reconstruct it as a memoir and in the midst of that work, I traveled to Spain to begin work on a novel that takes place in Seville. I love, I am trying to say, those parts of the world that are Spanish influenced, and so, when an opportunity came up to travel to Juarez, Mexico, with my husband, son, and two dozen church friends, I said, Yes. Absolutely. I want to be there.

Still, I wasn’t fully prepared for the Juarez that we traveled to in the summer of 2005. I had expected heat and poverty and dust; we were met forcefully by all three. I had expected long lines at border crossings and nights of little sleep. But I had not expected to see children of such substantial beauty emerge from homes that could—and were, while we were there—be blown away by a windstorm.

Juarez to so many of us now is the blaring headlines of drug wars; it is the numbers of children shot dead; it is gang members bursting through hospital doors and killing the doctors who are struggling to save lives. It is the residual of so many young women, gone missing. But to me Juarez will always also be the children who welcomed us with open arms in a squatters’ village—who burst upon dust streets in dresses so rose-red, so violet, so white. Juarez, to me, will be the photographs I took, and it will be this book, The Heart is Not a Size, which means the world to me because there, in Heart, is a world I came to love—a world that taught me something about courage and grace. Juarez is a world that I want to take you to, a world that I want to share.

Miss Em, you have given me so much in my writing career. You have given me, again, a platform—and more than most will ever know. Thank you for inviting me here, to your blog, to tell this story with pictures and words.
Thanks for sharing your story and beautiful pictures with us, Beth!

For more about The Heart Is Not a Size, read my review or visit Beth's blog or become a fan on Facebook. Comment below and one lucky commenter will receive a copy of The Heart Is Not a Size. ♥


  1. Well, Miss Em. You know that I am honored to be here. You know that and more.

    Thank you.

  2. What an inspiring post! I have Nothing But Ghosts in my TBR, can't wait to read it!

  3. this book is on my 'wish list' thanks for the opportunity to read it.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  4. Thanks for your wonderful blog, Miss Em. Beth, thank you for talking about your latest book, which sounds really amazing. It's on my list!!

  5. This kids are so beautiful - just like the kids everywhere else. The cactii growing out of the tire say so much.

    Looking forward to reading this book

  6. Great story & lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing, Beth!

  7. What a wonderful post, Em!
    Thanks for sharing Beth:]

  8. Love to read Beth's books. Please add my name to the giveaway.

  9. The book sounds really inspiring and wonderful, I hope I get to read it soon:)

  10. After reading this interview, I will be looking for the book! Congratulations and best of luck with it. I will pass the word.

  11. i read undercover and nothing but ghosts and they were both brilliant. beth's writing style is so good to read. and i can't wait till the heart is not a size comes out.
    thanks for the inside look at this book. really cool!

  12. A really heart rendering post. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. Children falling victims to drug wars,women missing,doctors being shot! What has the world come to? I don't want to be a pessimist but is this a sign of the world coming to an end? It's so scary!! But I want to thank you for highlighting the little beauty that is left of the world-the innocence of the children,the brightness of colors...the images are already creeping up my heart!

  13. O and I would love to win the book :)

  14. Wow- I can't wait to read this one! Sounds pretty intense, but that is good. (Kinda . . .)

  15. Horrible but true, I'm from Mexico, and everyday there're news about Juarez, dead people, poverty... the worst of all is that some mexicans are getting used to it, and there're no actions against it... that place, as whole Mexico, is full of history and good things, but the violence is getting it to an awful end.

    Thanks to Beth, because she's going to show one of the real parts of Mexico, because we're not just Tequila and hats, we're a country full of history and with one of the richiest background cultures, but we also have big problems, and that's our biggest fights as a country...

  16. Em, I'm taking a break this afternoon catching up on some of Beth's links. Of course I'm not surprised by the beauty here, but still, it made my day richer. Thank you both! After my teaching ends in May, this will be one of the first books I want to sink into.


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