Acclaimed Lowcountry author Mary Alice Monroe launches newest book on Daniel Island
“I’d like to raise a toast to my 22nd book and my 20th year!” exclaimed a beaming Mary Alice Monroe, as she announced the official launch of her latest book, “The Summer Guests,” before a crowd of lit lovers at the Daniel Island Dockery’s on June 9.
“The Summer Guests” has been dubbed one of Southern Living’s “Beach Reads Perfect for Summer.” A New York Times bestselling author, Monroe is an Isle of Palms resident whose previous titles include “The Butterfly’s Daughter,” “Last Light Over Carolina,” “Time is a River,” “The Beach House” series and the “Lowcountry Summer” series.
Most of Monroe’s books, as stated on the author’s website, feature two trademark themes – “the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the parallels between the land and life.” Her latest novel takes readers on a journey to North Carolina, where several strangers have fled to evacuate an ominous hurricane threatening their homes. They take refuge on a scenic horse farm, where they ride out the storm together. According to a press release on the book, “during this short but intense time at the farm, the evacuees must confront issues with each other and themselves.” Monroe told those gathered at Dockery’s that the inspiration for the book came in part from her own evacuation experience after Hurricane Irma.
“We’re approaching another hurricane season,” she said, “and this book is very personal because of that reason. I have a little PTSD when it comes to hurricanes!”
“I’ve learned I don’t worry about the house so much,” Monroe continued. “…You leave with the ones you love, and your pets, and what you truly treasure. The question that I ask, and that my characters ask in the novel, is when all of you leave for a hurricane evacuation, and it’s coming, what do you take with you? What do you value?”
Monroe uses the story to also shed light on climate change, which she believes should be taken seriously.
“Climate change is for real,” she said. “I think it’s time for me to take my gloves off and really begin to approach that subject. Because all of the species that I’ve written about in all the years, that you have read, are in trouble now. And climate change is not only here, but it’s accelerating. And I wanted to put a human touch on it, with hurricanes.”
As Monroe spent time at a horse farm in Tryon, North Carolina, after fleeing from Hurricane Irma in 2017, the idea for “The Summer Guests” was born.
“All of a sudden it hit me,” she told the crowd. “This is what I write about. Women nurturing each other, helping each other. Mothers and daughters, friends, good times and bad. So I knew when I left with my five canaries, my three dogs, that I had a book. Even though it’s a serious topic, I think this is my most humorous book.”
Monroe also told those gathered about a new Facebook page she has created entitled “Light1Candle.” She hopes the site will give fans a place to learn more about her books and causes important to her.
“I think each of my books that I write are part of that effort, because they are all lighting one candle. I hope that each book I send out allows the power of story to get you involved, to care about the animals that I am writing about, to care about this beautiful planet, and to fight, not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren.”
For more information, visit www.maryalicemonroe.com.