Today’s Spotlight is on author, Mary Alice Monroe! She is the author of numerous books set on the South Carolina coast. Her latest trilogy is the amazing Lowcountry Summer. The final book was released today! To read my reviews of this series, click on each title: The Summer Girls, The Summer Wind, The Summer’s End. Mary Alice Monroe has kindly participated in an interview. After the interview, you will see the incredible giveaway she is offering to one lucky person. Directions on how to enter are listed below. Good Luck!
Hi Mary Alice Monroe. Happy Release Day Eve! Thank you for participating in an interview today. Could you please tell everyone a little bit about yourself and your books?
The release of THE SUMMER’S END is monumental. It celebrates twenty years for me as a published author. What an honor it is to be able to do this–share my story world with so many readers around the world. THE SUMMER’S END is also the final installment of my bestselling Lowcountry Summer Trilogy. Because I am also a passionate conservationist, my novels are rooted in an element in nature, inspired by the natural world of my surroundings here in Charleston, South Carolina. This is an area we fondly refer to as the Lowcountry. I’ve always loved dolphins. Who doesn’t? And I have known I would one day write a book about this intelligent sentinel species. The impetus for me to write the novel now was when I learned that 49% of Charleston’s resident dolphins were deemed “not healthy,” and 52% in Florida. That’s alarming. I knew it was time to finally write a novel about the species, and the Lowcountry Summer Trilogy was born. And through my research, I learned there are three major issues facing dolphins that needed attention: feeding of wild dolphins, water quality, and injuries. I had to create a strong trilogy to carry through all the themes.
The Lowcountry trilogy is full of strong, fascinating characters. Is there one in particular that you relate to the most? Or is there a little bit of you in each of them?
The character I relate to the most in the Lowcountry Summer Trilogy is definitely Marietta Muir, better known as ‘Mamaw.’ I am a grandmother and so is Mamaw. In this trilogy, Mamaw wants to bring her family back together for one final summer before she sells her beach estate on Sullivan’s Island, SC and moves into a retirement home. She spends her weeks watching and helping her granddaughters—her summer girls, as she called them when they were children—find their way in life and most importantly, restore the sisterly love they once shared. And Mamaw sees this opportunity with the girls as a chance to do right by them, since she feels that she did not do a great job raising her son, their deceased father. As grandmothers, we see our grandchildren as a second chance to have a little more fun with the kids, do things a little differently. I think a lot of my readers will feel a special connection with Mamaw too!
Your characters have unique names that suit their personalities. How do you find inspiration for naming your characters?
In this trilogy, the main characters are Eudora (Dora), Carson and Harper. I named each of them after a famous female writers I admire—Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, and Harper Lee. The names seemed fitting as their father, Parker, was a struggling writer with an alcohol addiction that eventually killed him.
Harper is the sister who loves to read. She even mentioned a few titles that were her best friends growing up. What were some of your favorite childhood books?
I loved all kinds of books. I grew up in a family of ten brothers and sisters (five boys, five girls). Reading was a favorite childhood past time, and Peter Pan was a favorite! I still love the story of Peter and Wendy by Sir James Barrie. I shared it with my children and now my grandchildren. I also cherish the story Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White—a beautifully written, timeless children’s novel.
You give readers little glimpses into the lives of previous characters from the Beach House series. Are there any characters, from your stand-alone novels, who still linger with you, wanting another story?
A lot of people have asked if I plan to write a sequel to TIME IS A RIVER. In that novel, Mia, a 38-year-old breast cancer survivor, finds her husband in bed with another woman, and escapes to the mountains of North Carolina. She learns to heal from the pains of her relationship and her cancer through fly-fishing. While staying at a cabin, Mia uncovers the diary of Kate Watkins, an expert fly-fisherwoman from another era who was also the original owner of the cabin. I had so much fun creating Kate’s character. I’d love to continue her story somehow. That would be fun, but I have no plans of doing that right now.
Today is the Release Day for The Summer’s End! Do you have any future books in the works?
The story of Mamaw’s “summer girls” will continue. This series so far has been contained to one summer on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina. There is an engagement now—or two—and the new book in the series is title A LOWCOUNTRY WEDDING. It’s going to be fun to bring back the summer girls again, and especially the dueling grannies—Mamaw and Granny James, which you’ll read about in my just released novel, THE SUMMER’S END (May 18, 2015)
Where can readers find you and your books online?
I have all of my books listed on my website www.maryalicemonroe.com. You can order any of my books from your favorite local bookstore.
Thank you again for taking part in this interview. Have a wonderful release day!
My pleasure! Thank you for everything. You have been so kind and supportive.
Mary Alice Monroe is giving one lucky commenter a Signed Paperback copy of The Summer’s End!!! (Which was my favorite in the series, so far!) To enter to win, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite sea creature. Enter between now and May 25, 2015 at 12noon EST. I will use Random.org to draw a winner and announce the winner on Tuesday, the 26th. Good luck to you all!