“Keoka Lake” is a coming-of-age story about a 16-year-old girl named Alice whose parents pull her out of boarding school before the end of the year and tell her she has to take care of her grandmother for the summer. It’s 1985, and Alice is furious about being left at the family compound in the middle of nowhere, Maine. She’d rather be loitering in Nantucket with her wealthy boarding school classmates, but her father tells her they can’t afford to send her back to school unless she helps her grandmother.
Over the course of the summer, Alice grows closer to her grandmother, and discovers family secrets that threaten the future of the family compound. When her grandmother pleads with Alice to help her save the lake, she realizes the importance of things, people, and places that last.
Sending the manuscript off to agents every day. Stay tuned….
Mary Alice Monroe believes in the power of stories. The best-selling author writes about our connection to animals from her home on the Isle of Palms. Her latest book, “A Lowcountry Christmas,” will be released Tuesday. It tells the story of a wounded warrior and his younger brother who discover the true meaning of Christmas.
Read more of my interview with the author on the Post and Courier.
Mary Alice Monroe always dreamed of writing a novel, but it was difficult to find the time as a busy working mom. Years before she became The New York Times best-selling author of books including “The Beach House” (which is being made into a movie starring Andie MacDowell) and “The Butterfly’s Daughter,” she was living in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two daughters, and pregnant with their third child.
She was teaching English and Japanese and making extra money with various nonfiction writing assignments, but felt the pull of a novel.
During the last trimester of her pregnancy she was put on bed rest. Her husband took the TV out of the bedroom and said, “You’ve always wanted to be a writer, so use this time to write.” Monroe laughs. “That fall I gave birth to a baby and a book!”
To read more of this article go to The Post and Courier.
On the eve of my half marathon I return to the inspiring essay by Joyce Carol Oates, “Running and Writing.” I will re-read it tonight and think of it during the 2.5 hours that I will be running along the streets of Kiawah Island tomorrow, hopefully free from pain.
She writes, “Both running and writing are highly addictive activities; both are, for me, inextricably bound up with consciousness. I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t running, and I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t writing.”
Oates grew up in Upstate New York and writes of exploring the woods and how that time developed her storytelling. I grew up in the deep woods of Vermont and spent my afternoons after the school bus dropped me off walking up the dirt road toward home. To entertain myself I told stories in my head. Oates writes “of running or hiking in our pear and apple orchards, through fields of wind-rustling corn towering over my head, along farmers’ lanes and on bluffs above the Tonawanda Creek. Through childhood I hiked, roamed, tirelessly explored the countryside: neighboring farms, a treasure trove of old barns, abandoned houses and forbidden properties of all kinds, some of them presumably dangerous, like cisterns and wells covered with loose boards.” and says that these activities are intimately bound up with storytelling and I wholeheartedly agree.
I will not be alone on those 13.1 miles tomorrow, I will be filled with the stories in my head because like Oates says, “Running is a meditation.”