An H and Five Ws with Lowcountry Author Dorothea Benton Frank

I’m admittedly a “Yankee.” I’m from Ohio, and I didn’t know the word “Lowcountry” until I moved here. (I still didn’t really get it for months, however, and I still get lost if I leave downtown.) Anyway, my neighbor upon my arrival in Charleston was Sullivan’s Island, born and raised, and she still makes fun of my Northern roots. However, it was this neighbor who made me truly appreciate the art and culture of the South. My victim…er…interviewee for this H and Five Ws is a Lowcountry icon. As a fellow writer and newbee Southerner, I am happy to introduce author Dorothea Benton Frank…

DorotheaDorothea Benton Frank is the New York Times bestselling author of BULLS ISLAND (William Morrow 2008), THE LAND OF MANGO SUNSETS (William Morrow 2007), THE CHRISTMAS PEARL (William Morrow 2007), FULL OF GRACE (William Morrow 2006), PAWLEYS ISLAND (Berkley 2005), SHEM CREEK (Berkley 2004), ISLE OF PALMS (Berkley 2003), PLANTATION (Jove 2001) and SULLIVAN’S ISLAND (Jove 2000). Ms Frank has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, Parker Ladd’s Book Talk, and many local network affiliated television stations. She is a frequent speaker on creative writing and the creative process for students of all ages and in private venues as the National Arts Club, the Junior League of New York, Friends of the Library organizations and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. She has also been a guest speaker at the South Carolina Book Festival, Novello, North Carolina’s festival of books and the Book and Author annual event in Charleston, SC, sponsored by the Post & Courier. The author, who was born and raised on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina and has been married for 25 years to Peter Frank, currently divides her time between New Jersey and South Carolina where their children attend college.

So here we go! An H and Five Ws with Lowcountry Author Dorothea Benton Frank

How did you become a best-selling author?
I had a great publisher who loved the story of SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, and they sold the dickens out of it.

DorotheacoverimageWho is the writer you admire the most?
Dickens.  Just kidding.  Dumb joke, duh.  I like a lot of writers.  Too many to choose but one.  Among the dead?  Shakespeare, Wilde, Austen, the Brontes, O’Connor, Conrad, blah, blah, blah – who doesn’t love them?  In today’s world?  William Trevor takes the award for Great Britain and Old Man Conroy made the South rise again.  Although Harper Lee helped.  And even though Meg Wolitzer is a Yankee, she’s a heckuva writer.

What was it like appearing on The Today Show?
Intense, unnerving and terrifying.

Where is your favorite place to go in the Charleston, SC area?
Bob Ellis Shoes on King Street.  Ask for Richard.  And the beach on Sullivan’s Island, obviously.

When have you had the most trouble finishing a novel?
When I don’t have a deadline, which was only with my first book.  After that, I had to discipline myself to make deadlines, and you are never finished with a book.  I could always rewrite.

WHY are you a writer?
This is a much more complicated question than you might imagine.  The short answer is I write to entertain, to learn and to express my deep and abiding love for the Lowcountry of South Carolina. 

For more about Dorothea Benton Frank, visit her website: http://www.dotfrank.com/index.html. Thanks so much for this interview, Dorothea! I wish you continued luck and prosperity! (See we Yankees CAN be nice!)

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