Mary Alice Monroe stopping by Literary Bookpost Tuesday

  • Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013 12:01 a.m.

SALISBURY — Mary Alice Monroe will be at the Literary Bookpost on Tuesday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. for a special book signing and lunch engagement. She will do a question and answer session on her new release, “The Summer Girls,” and a book signing. Reservations are required. RSVP by phone at 704-630-9788 or via email at

Here are some questions and answers from previous sessions, provided by her publicist:

Q: How did you come up with the storyline for “The Summer Girls,” and why make it a trilogy?

A: For me, the inspiration comes from some signal from the universe that its time to write this book at this time. For “The Summer Girls,” I was in a meeting for the board at the S.C. Aquarium. Dr. Pat Fair, NOOA, and Philippe Cousteau presented statistics on the health of the resident dolphin populations in the Charleston and Florida estuarine waters. I was shocked to learn that 48% of resident dolphins in Charleston area were sick. 52% in Florida. I began researching dolphins three years ago at NOOA and other organizations in the U.S. Through my volunteering and personal observation of dolphins and the people who serve them, I developed themes — the bedrocks of my novel. For “The Summer Girls,” the primary themes I built my story around are: Communication, Family bonds, and Finding joy in one’s life. I had so much to share that I decided to create a trilogy — The Lowcountry Summer Trilogy. Each book will focus on one of the granddaughters yet all the characters are present in the entire trilogy. And that includes the dolphin Delphine! I’m enjoying the opportunity to tell more of my stores in this manner.

Q: Are your characters inspired by any people in your life?

A: Yes and no. I never write about real people. I would find that limiting as characters have a story arc to follow in a novel complete with flaws. I create characters inspired by the real life people I meet volunteering in my story world. I know the jobs they do, the hours they keep, the attitudes, disappointments, commitments. Also, as an observer and interviewer, I share the stories I hear. I cannot make up anything better than what happens in real life! For example, Carson’s terrifying incident with the shark happened to my daughter. Though the character is fiction, the incident is true.

Q: Why did you choose the beach and Sullivan’s Island as your setting?

A: I live on Isle of Palms, a neighbor to Sullivan’s, and I’m a turtle volunteer for both islands. These beaches, villages, restaurants, people — they’re my home. Charleston is a small town in that we who work with the environment know each other. So in “The Summer Girls,” Carson would meet Toy and Ethan from “Swimming Lessons.” In Book Two, Cara and Brett from “The Beach House” will make an appearance!

Q: Did you purposefully set out to write a beach read?

A: I don’t know what “beach read” really means. People carry all kinds of books to the beach, the mountains, wherever they go on summer vacation. Summer is when a lot of us have time to read and we look forward to the free time. I don’t design my books to be read in summer. Though the titles often signal the beach season because my books come out in the summer. My stories are usually set in a beach community against marine life — sea turtles, dolphins — and nature. I write about traditional southern families in the Charleston area. What better time to read about a family and dolphins then when looking out at the sea? Or just wishing you were on the beach!

Q: What do you like to read during the summer, and what books are in your beach bag now?

A: I am on book tour now, but when I relax at the end you’ll find me sitting by the pool with books I’ve stockpiled! I love my fellow lowcountry authors and will catch up with the best of them: “The Last Original Wife” by DB Frank, “And Then I Found You” by Patti C. Henry, “Moonrise” by Cassandra King, and “The Girls of August” by AR Siddons and I know my friends will be reading “The Summer Girls,” too. I also have books by authors requesting quotes.

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