New York Times best-selling author Dorothea Benton Frank has written 10 books, all with one thing in common: They are all set in the Lowcountry.
Woven through her books is not simply Spanish moss dripping off the trees or the beauty of a sunset over the marsh. The people, places and events of the Lowcountry are peppered heavily throughout her fiction, from the restaurant Rue de Jean to U.S. Highway 17 and even Medical University of South Carolina.
"I like to put characters in real places, in real time and even in restaurants I like," says Frank.
For many of her readers, Frank is an ambassador of sorts for the Lowcountry. They deeply connect to the setting and to the author, often asking lodging or restaurant advice through her popular Facebook page.
These days, Frank, a Sullivan's Island native, divides her time between New Jersey and South Carolina. That division of place factored into her decision to set all of her books here.
"It's simple. I write about where I want to be. If I'm not there (in the Lowcountry), I want to be there," she explains.
So it is a perfect setting for the beginning of her next book tour to support "Lowcountry Summer," a sequel to the popular "Plantation."
On Wednesday, the Friends of the Charleston County Public Library will host a special fundraiser at the Cooper River Room of Mount Pleasant's Waterfront Park.
Guests may enjoy champagne, a reading by the author and a book signing. In addition, books will be available for purchase.
"Dottie Frank has great appeal and a great following, and the fact that she approached us with an idea for a fundraiser was fabulous," says Sharon Harvey, president of the Charleston County Library Board of Directors. "One of the nice things here is that everyone loves the library and comes together to support it."
Sponsors for this event include Charleston Grill, J Fletcher Design and Firefly Distillery, which is just one of such events the Friends host throughout the year. For this event, Harvey and her team wanted to a setting that would evoke the Lowcountry of Frank's books.
"The new Waterfront Park has a gorgeous vista. We want to introduce people to this site that have not experienced it yet," she says.
And a chance to meet the author herself, although Frank will tell you that she is very much a part of her fiction.
"It's a by-product of using first person (as a narrator)," she says. "If you read my books, you know me."
And she is happy to know her readers as well, who she says are "just nice people."
"I love what I do. I tell stories where people find themselves."
if you go
What: Launch Party for Dorothea Benton Frank's 'Lowcountry Summer,' a fundraiser for the Charleston County Public Library.When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 16.Where: Cooper River Room of Memorial Waterfront Park, Mount Pleasant.Cost: $30 online at CCPL.org or call 805-6882.More info: www.dotfrank.com.
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