Updated: May 20
ON OCEAN BOULEVARD
Mary Alice Monroe
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ON OCEAN BOULEVARD
Mary Alice Monroe
The New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Guests returns at long last to her beloved Beach House series in this breathtaking novel about one family’s summer of forging new beginnings against the enduring beauty and resilience of the natural world.
It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.
Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.
PUBLISHING MAY 19, 2020
Questions and Answers
Mary Alice Monroe
1. The Beach House series includes a unique focus on conservation and sea turtles. What caused you to include this messaging in your books?
I am a sea turtle volunteer permitted by the SCDNR for 20 years and counting! I wrote the first book, The Beach House, back when there were serious lighting issues for the turtles. I hoped I could write a book to help my readers become aware and know what the signs “Lights Out for Sea Turtles” meant. The success of the book for environmental reasons was phenomenal. People cared! They donated to teams and hospitals, became volunteers and wrote me letters. That success was the ultimate for me.
2. What is the message or theme you hope readers will take away from reading ON OCEAN BOULEVARD?
I hope my readers take away the message of the strength of family bonds. Of perseverance, loyalty, commitment and love from mother, to daughter, to granddaughter. On Ocean Boulevard reveals the circle of life.
3. Cara or Linnea’s characters are so well developed. Are they inspired by real people in your life?
No, but I’ve known Cara for 20 years! She’s real to me. And I’ve written Linnea for the same amount of time, created her from young girl in the Beach House to woman in On Ocean Boulevard.
4. I absolutely love the Primrose Cottage and the family history behind it. Is it inspired by a real beach house?
Yes! The little cottage exists, as do the properties. However the history is made up. I wouldn’t ever take someone’s history unless they asked me to. Yet I like to think that the amalgam of people that did inspire my family are pleased with my portrayals. Each major character had a story arc. Cara’s was completed in On Ocean Boulevard, at least for this phase of her life. Linnea’s is just beginning. Palmer was kind of a jerk in the early books, and though he’ll always have issues, like his alcoholism, he is struggling nobly to be true to his wife, his sobriety and his family. I admire him now. But he’ll always be Palmer…
5. The issue of childhood vaccinations comes up in this story. What are your thoughts on the growing number of parents who are refusing to have their children vaccinated?
The issue of illness with children and how it affects families is timely today with coronavirus striking us all. I hope I’ve revealed through the story how important it is for all children to be vaccinated. Children do die from it every year.
6. ON OCEAN BOULEVARD was a very enjoyable and easy read. Was the writing process as easy as the read?
I wish! It’s harder to write a “happy” lighter scene than a dramatic one. It’s also takes skill to weave information into a novel to make it easy to read, rather than dump research in lumps that are hard for the reader to swallow. In this novel, the emotional roller coaster of all the characters was very difficult to balance with the joy.
7. What is your writing process like? How do you keep the details of your long-standing characters in a series straight from one book to another?
Before I begin another book in this series, I re-read the previous books, take notes, just to make certain I don’t forget details of appearance, developments, and it reminds me of nuances of voice, behavior. And again, I know these people so well, I like to say if Cara went to Walmart I know what she’d put in her cart.
8. Can you tell us a little about your next book? Will we be seeing more of Cara in the future?
Cara is a mainstay of The Beach House series. She is now the matriarch of the next generation coming up—Linnea, Cooper, Little Lovie. I’m writing now and these young ones will be the focus. But don’t count out the others! I think Emmi deserves a chance at love, too!
9. Has the current COVID19 environment, helped or hampered your writing process?
Interesting question in these strange times. Of course, this is my tour season and I was so looking forward to seeing my readers. My tour was the best ever. Now I have to learn how to do Virtual Tours. I’m still talking to a host, answering questions, and its working beautifully. We are connecting. But it isn’t the same as one on one.
As for writing, my next book will cover this summer season. I believe families have gone through a lot and will continue to find ways to endure, to make do with financial restrictions, to discover new ways to spend time together as a family. This is all family saga material and I’m diving in.
10. In light of the current events, can you share three things you are grateful for?
I love this question. I’ve been posting most days on things I’m grateful for, and they all tend to be the little details like vegetable sprouts blooming, the sunshine on my face, the sight of spring blooms. In hindsight, however, I can be grateful for the big things: my health, my family’s health, and as I begin to talk to my readers—I’m ever so grateful for my readers!
BIO for MARY ALICE MONROE
Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Timesbestselling author of 23 novels, including On Ocean Boulevard, which is the sixth installment of the Beach House series.
More than 7.5 million copies of her books have been published worldwide, and she’s earned numerous accolades and awards, including: Induction into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame; the Southwest Florida Author of Distinction Award; South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence; RT Lifetime Achievement Award; the International Book Award for Green Fiction, and the prestigious Southern Book Prize for Fiction. Her bestselling novel The Beach House is a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.
Monroe is captivated by the beauty and fragility of the wild habitat around her. In particular, the coastal southern landscape became a strong and important focus of many of her novels. Monroe immerses herself in both academic research and hands-on/volunteering to learn about a species or conservation issue. Then, she uses the knowledge and experiences working with animals and the wildlife experts to craft captivating stories that identify important parallels between nature and human nature. Bottlenose dolphins, monarch butterflies, shorebirds, and loggerhead sea turtles are among the wild species she has worked with and woven into her novels.
Monroe is an active conservationist and serves on the South Carolina Aquarium Board Emeritis, The Leatherback Trust, The Pat Conroy Literary Center Honorary Board, Friends of Coastal Carolina and Casting Carolinas Advisory Board. She is especially proud to be a twenty year plus state-certified volunteer with the Island Turtle Team, the group that first sparked her love for loggerhead sea turtles, and is the inspiration of her Beach House series.
Monroe has also published two children’s books, which complement the environmental themes she’s known for in her novels. Monroe’s first Middle Grade book, The Island, will be a 2021 release.
She is a frequent speaker at book festivals, conferences, and private events. Monroe is also a frequent contributor to magazines and blogs.
For additional information on the environmental topics in Mary Alice’s novels, visit her Conservation page. .
ON OCEAN BOULEVARD
Love the characters, love the setting, love the story! Mary Alice Monroe has written another delightful addition to her immensely popular Beach House Series. Place this one on your night stand or in your beach bag, it’s a perfectly charming and comfortable escape.
Cara’s beloved yellow Primrose Cottage on the Isle of Palms is like one of the characters in the book. It’s the heart of the story, bursting with wild roses, honeysuckle and a pergola, it’s just the perfect beach cottage. And the loggerhead sea turtles are back! In Mary Alice Monroe’s signature flair, she creatively and smartly weaves the sea turtles return into the story and gives us all a lesson in starting again. My favorite part was the special relationship between Linnea and Cara. They keep each other grounded and in check despite their differences in age.