Blog Tour: THE SUMMER GUESTS by Mary Alice Monroe

New York Times Bestselling Author
On Sale: June 11, 2019

Purchase Link:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Beach House series comes a heartwarming and evocative novel about the bonds and new beginnings that are born from natural disasters and how, even during the worst of circumstances—or perhaps because of them—we discover what is most important in life. 

Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

With Mary Alice Monroe’s “usual resplendent storytelling” (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author), The Summer Guests is a poignant and compelling story of self-discovery, love, and redemption.

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including the Beach House series: The Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, Beach House for Rent, and Beach House Reunion. She is a 2018 Inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame, and her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the International Book Award for Green Fiction, and the 2017 Southern Book Prize for Fiction. Her bestselling novel The Beach House is also a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Visit her at and at

Interview with MARY ALICE MONROE:

  1. Could you sum up THE SUMMER GUESTS in five words or less? 
    Hurricane. Horses. Dogs. Women. Friendships.

  1. What inspired you to write THE SUMMER GUESTS? 
    I live on the coast in South Carolina, and I've had to evacuate my home more times than I can remember in the last twenty years ahead of a threatening hurricane. And every time I evacuate, it comes with worry and stress. The last time I had to evacuate was ahead of Hurricane Irma in 2017. I was working on THE SUMMER GUESTS at the time, but wasn't far along in the writing. I was still trying to figure out exactly what the novel would be about. I fled up north to a friend's horse farm in Tryon, North Carolina. There I was taking shelter with other people who also fled their homes in Florida. They brought their horses, their dogs, even a baby. We were all there together, safe, but worried about what would happen. Strangers quickly became friends. We shared stories and bonded. And I remember in one particular moment, with the weather forecast showing the hurricane's ominous path on the television, we turned up Motown music, and danced, sipped wine, and talked and laughed for hours. This fast friendship eased the worries in our bones, and I realized, This is part of the story. To me, it felt like the 1980's film "The Big Chill", but with horses, and rescue dogs! 

  1. Can you describe your writing process? Do you outline the plot or go wherever an idea takes you?
    My stories are born from the landscape and the animal species who call it home. I am first drawn to a species, and then I do intense academic research and hands-on learning through volunteer work, and interviewing many people who work closely with the species I want to write about. After spending many weeks devoted to this learning process, I then begin to develop characters and a story line from what's inspired me and from all that I've learned. So, when I write about an animal, such as the magnificent horse, like in THE SUMMER GUESTS, or sea turtles, like in BEACH HOUSE REUNION, I want the reader to feel what I feel. It's a connection. And through the story, the reader learns to care. And once you care, you take care. And that is the heart of my novels--to connect you to the wild that is around us. May we each do what we can to take care of what we love on this big beautiful planet. 

  1. Do you have any pre-writing rituals or routines?
I wake up early to write. It's when I feel most creative. I like to write at home, at my desk, on my computer. And coffee... I do love a good cup of coffee! When I feel stuck, I get outdoors. For me, I am inspired by the ocean, the rivers, and creeks and the gorgeous vistas that surround me at my home on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina and my home in Tryon, North Carolina. 

  1. Do you have a favorite character from THE SUMMER GUESTS?
    It's hard to choose a favorite character. They each play such an important role in the story line. I can't choose just one. But, I love when readers tell me their favorite characters and why. So, send me a note on social media or through my website. 

  1. How is it different writing a stand-alone versus a series?
    In a series, you have so many little details to keep up with, so many loose ends to tie up. Each book in a series must feel complete, yet leave enough room for further development in another book. A reader needs to feel satisfied. It's so much fun to keeps a series alive, such as The Lowcountry Summer Series or The Beach House Series. But, it is a lot to juggle! My readers remember all the details. And, I have to write a series novel in a way that no matter which book in the series you pick up first to read, it feels like a complete story. I work very hard to make sure that every book I write can stand alone. 

  1. As fans wait for your next book, can you recommend some of your own favorite authors?
    Oh, there are so many great writers! Right now, some books on my bookshelf include Signe Pike of "The Lost Queen", Patti Callahan Henry's "The Favorite Daughter" and her other hit novel "Becoming Mrs. Lewis". And Mary Kay Andrews' new novel "Sunset Beach". I greatly admire each of these authors and their body of work.

  1. What’s next for you? / What are you currently working on?
For the moment, I'm on a wild book tour. So, not much writing happening when you're rushing from city to city. But, I will have my first children's chapter book published in 2020, titled THE ISLAND, for middle grade readers. And I'm toying with the idea of a full return to the beach for my next novel. We'll see. For now, I'm so happy to share my new book, THE SUMMER GUESTS, with readers. 

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