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Raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, in the heart of the Appalachians, I cherish the memories of my youth among those regal mountains—memories of tumbling in colorful autumn leaves that my daughter said resembled Fruity Pebbles, sledding down hills of firmly-packed snow, swimming in frigid mountain streams.

My husband calls my childhood home Dick and Jane country.

Even though I feel blessed to have experienced the majesty that is the Appalachians, my heart belongs to the deep South, to the pristine coast of my birth. Each year, as summer approached and school drew to a close, I’d shiver with excitement as we loaded the station wagon and prepared to return to Pawleys Island, on the coast of South Carolina.

I smile at the reminiscences of hours spent swaying in the sea breeze in a Pawleys Island rope hammock or lying on the sand, listening to crashing waves and beach music drifting from my transistor radio. Remembrances of rekindling summer friendships and shagging at the pavilion until the band called, “Last dance,” warm my heart. The recollections of jumping waves to exhaustion, crabbing in the creek, tending sunburn with Noxzema, and strolling in the surf under a full moon will forever bring a lump to my throat.

This life-long passion for the coast makes me return summer after summer, where I create new and lasting memories with each visit.

My enduring love affair with the beach has managed to find its way into my writing. Pawleys Island, South Carolina, that much loved beach of my childhood, appears in my first novel, Getting The Important Things Right, while Emerald Isle, North Carolina, the beach of my adult years, plays an important role in my second work, Lessons I Learned From Nick Nack. Fictional Pelican Isle, North Carolina, the beach of my dreams, is the setting for The Gifts Of Pelican Isle. Tybee Island, the beach of my mother's youth and a special vacation spot for me, appears in What Does Love Sound Like?, as well as my current release, Invisible Girl.