Recently I had the great pleasure of reading an advance copy of Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber. She agreed to join me for a chat about her work, her life and her own wishes. I wondered how a magnolia writer from the Lowcountry of South Carolina would find common ground with a Seattle-based coffee-bean author. It took all of one second to begin a lively conversation.

I really loved Twenty Wishes; it's such a sweet story. Where did the concept come from?

Thanks! The idea cam from a reader.

Seriously? (My readers have yet to give me an idea for a book.)

Yep. A reader came to a book signing and wanted to have her picture taken with me. She said it was on her list of wishes she wanted fulfilled before she died.

Was she terminally ill? (I'm thinking, weird. But then book tours are sometimes just that.)

No. She just, you know, had this list. Actually she had a notebook and 75 wishes. I thought about it, and it struck me as a good idea.

Do you have such a list? (I have no such list.)

I do.

To do what?

Just little things like look at a waterfall in the moonlight with my husband, to fly kites, have a number one bestseller. To write my best book. Ever.

In my mind, these are healthy achievable ambitions. (Insert mutual laughter.)

Right? You know, making this kind of list is like resurrecting your childhood. Remember when you were young, how you made wishes for things on stars?

Yes, I do. (My inner cynic evaporates and I decide to make a list. If you don't have dreams, they can't come true.)

You have been called a “value-added” author. What exactly does that mean?

Just that. I bring extra value to my book signings because I partner with the booksellers. Over 25 years in the business, I have gathered a mailing list of over 100,000 names...

100,000... (Color me incredulous.)

Yes. So I notify all readers within a 50-mile radius, and that actually brings new people to my events. And I bring a gift for the store owner and for the readers.

Author Information
Dorothea Benton Frank's new novel, Bulls Island, will be published April 8 by Morrow. (She does not have a mailing list, but she's working on her wish list.)