Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Best-selling author Mary Alice Monroe will be signing copies of her latest novel, 'Last Light Over Carolina,' at the Sanibel Island Bookshop on Jan. 23.

 "Monroe coming to Sanibel Island Bookshop in January"

Mary Alice Monroe will appear at the Sanibel Island Bookshop, located at 1571 Periwinkle Way, on Friday, Jan. 23 starting at 11 a.m. She will be reading from and signing copies of her latest best-seller, "Last Light Over Carolina."

Monroe has written stories for as long as she can remember. As a child, she could always be found curled up with a book or writing. One of her strongest memories is her first trip to the public library. She couldn't believe all those books were there for her! When they gave her her first library card, she felt as though she'd been given the keys to a candy shop for her imagination. She still feels the same thrill in libraries and bookstores, just browsing through the books.

Mary Alice claims much of her creative spark came from her large and very close family. Growing up, she and her nine brothers and sisters wrote and performed in their own plays and musicals. Some wrote, painted, sang or played instruments. Her teachers recognized her talent and encouraged her to write. She first pursued nonfiction and studied journalism. Later, she was the assistant to the General Editor for Encyclopedia Britannica and worked with world famous artists, authors, composers and scientists as EB III was developed.

After an extended trip to Japan with her husband, Monroe studied Asian culture in earnest. She was awarded a fellowship and earned her master's degree in Asian Studies and became bilingual in Japanese. Later, she helped establish a government-funded English as a Second Language program for Southeast Asian refugees. Working with immigrants and helping them integrate into American society, Mary Alice co-authored an English-language survival text.

Not until years later did fate intervene. When her doctor confined her to bed for the final months of her pregnancy, Mary Alice's husband handed her a yellow notepad and pencil and urged her to write the novel she had always dreamed about. Knowing she might never again have that gift of time, she wrote and wrote.

"I gave birth to a baby and a book," said the author.

A dozen books later, Monroe has found her voice in fiction. Although known for her intimate portrayals of women's lives, her writing has gained added purpose and depth with her move to the Lowcountry. An active environmentalist, she draws themes for her novels from nature and the parallels with human nature, thus drawing attention to various endangered species and the human connection to the natural world.

Mary Alice is involved with several environmental groups and is on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium. Her work with these groups provided the inspiration for her novels "The Beach House," "Skyward," "Sweetgrass," Swimming Lessons" and her children's book, "Turtle River." She is currently working on her next novel, due out in spring 2011.

Don't miss out on attending this exciting island event. If you have any questions or can't make the event, please contact the Sanibel Island Bookshop at 239-472-5223. They can reserve a signed copy for you.

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