My name is Mary Alice Monroe and I’m happy to meet you all!
We’ve been asked to introduce ourselves as we re-launch our Southern Authors Blog. I’ve always liked doing this at large meetings or conferences because often we smile politely and say hello when we have no idea who we are speaking to and we’re too embarrassed to ask the name. Or during a book signing when a reader steps up to the table for an autograph and says, “It’s for me.” So I think this is a great idea.
If you read my bio below you’ll read about the number of books I’ve written but it doesn’t tell you who I am or what I write about. Perhaps if I tell you how I spent the past typical week, you’ll know more about me and the themes of my work.
I am a “turtle lady” on the Isle of Palms, SC. I basically serve as midwife and guardian over the loggerhead sea turtle nests on Isle of Palms and Sullivans Island in South Carolina. Most nights since July I’ve been sitting on the beach waiting for sand to move. But it’s the camaraderie between the women that keeps us chatting under the moon for hours, even if the wind is blowing sand in our hair and teeth or, if it’s hot and sweaty, the mosquitoes swarm. This bonding of women is a central part for most of my novels.
Last night was our farewell to the turtle season at our last nest inventory. I’d just flown in from a Women’s Weekend in Amelia Island where I spoke on creativity and rushed to change into my team T-shirt and jeans. I showed up still wearing my pearls! The girls teased me, but that’s pretty much who I am-- a combination of outdoor wear and pearls!
Today I’m back in my office for a day’s writing. But first I have to replenish the milkweed supply for the two dozen plus monarch caterpillars I’m raising on my porch. When I write a novel my research involves rolling up my sleeves and getting intimately involved with the topic. I love my job because with each book I learn something new and dive into a new story world. Only by doing this can I bring that authentic story world back to you. The Butterfly’s Daughter is finished and I’m making plans with my publisher, Simon and Schuster, for its release in May 2011. Now I’m in a hurry to finish the children’s book, A Butterfly Called Hope. I’m always feeling like that that saying, the faster I go the behinder I get.
Fall is an introspective time and I feel the change in seasons intensely. As I approach a new novel, the characters from the novel I’ve finished are flying away like the migrating birds and my mind must become fallow, ready for the new seeds of inspiration. My family, too, is in transition as my son enters the US Marine Corps, my daughter moves to LA, and my other daughter skypes weekly so I can witness the changes in my grandbabies. My family is my heart and my stories are about family bonds, hopes, dreams, struggles, and joys.
So, that was my last week. This week I will write, speak at a Pink Ribbon event, and hopefully release a dozen monarchs to the garden. I hope you’ll enjoy my books. It was a pleasure meeting you!
Mary Alice Monroe is the NY Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels. Her most recent is LAST LIGHT OVER CAROLINA, a saga of a shrimp boat captain and his wife. She’s won several awards and speaks at conferences and events. Her books are sold worldwide. Mary Alice lives with her husband and menagerie of pets on a barrier island outside Charleston, SC. Please visit her on Facebooks and http://www.maryalicemonroe.com/