When people ask me what my favorite part of being an author has been, I always say it’s the people I have met.
I mean, obviously, sitting at my computer and creating characters is my happy place. I don’t feel like me when I’m not doing that.
But the generosity and kindness of the people I have met all over the country has been astonishing to me.
And no group has been kinder or more generous than the amazing group that invited me to launch The Secret to Southern Charm (releasing 5 days from today on April 3!!) in Beaufort, SC as a fundraiser for the amazing Pat Conroy Literary Center. This pink guest house belongs to the stunning home above, whose owners, Lucius and Darryl Laffitte, whom we had never met, invited my entire family to come stay with them, sponsored the event, invited all their friends, and hosted a pre-launch cocktail party–all with the kind of effortless ease that can only be described as Southern Charm. The best part? This guest house was where Pat Conroy wrote his first novel. And, y’all, it’s gorgeous inside. The entire place, from top to bottom, is a study in remodeling an old, old home while keeping all the character. But not only that. It feels like home. It feels like the kind of place where families gather and friends congregate and no one ever wants to leave.
Speaking of places we didn’t want to leave…
Amy and Frank Lesesne, owners of the beyond fabulous Anchorage 1770, didn’t only attend the event for the Conroy Center.
They invited us to their front porch.
(And, trust us, we didn’t want to leave…)
They just invited this entire group of what I now affectionately refer to as my “Beaufort family,” of which they are obviously a part, for breakfast. Out of the kindness of their hearts. Just pure, old fashioned hospitality. The breakfast was ridiculously delicious and we are already planning our next trip to the Anchorage 1770! It is luxurious to say the least–and right downtown in the midst of all the action! (Or lack of action, which is really what you want when you go to Beaufort.)
Allison and Mark Guilloud, owners of the Elizabeth Barnwell Gough house, which is just beyond hosted this epic event at their historic jewel. It honestly would have been a huge treat just to tour the house much less get to speak and have cocktails there.
And Hahn Family Wines said, “Drinks are on us!” (The wine was fabulous!)
Debbi Covington of Catering by Debbi Covington provided her exquisite services free of charge–and even sent us home with a big plate, so, for once, I left a speaking and signing and didn’t go to bed with an empty tummy!
The lovely Lynn Monday of the astoundingly stunning Lynn Monday Home sponsored this event so graciously. (Her store is nothing short of drool-worthy. We were in there forever!)
And so did my friend Pat Denkler, who I had met exactly once before but whom I just know that I will know forever. She worked tirelessly to put this whole thing together (And will absolutely KILL me for acknowledging her in any sort of public way. But I’m doing it anyway!) to honor the memory of her friend Pat Conroy and celebrate her friend Cassandra King Conroy and help me in a big, big way. Because that’s who she is.
This incredible woman is not only kind. She’s a legend. Pat became the first Navy woman to be carrier qualified in a jet aircraft when she landed aboard the aircraft carrier USS LEXINGTON (AVT-16). But it wasn’t enough for her to be a star in her own right. She decided to pay it forward, designing the jet transition syllabus to allow other women to do what she had done, since only men were allowed at the time to get their wings through the jet pipeline. At a time when we could all use a few more role models, this is one I sure am glad to have.
My incredible publicist Kathie Bennett, who is a huge supporter of the Conroy Center and the mastermind behind this event and all of my truly epic book tours, not only sponsored the event but help put it all together–and Allison Dunne and her beautiful daughters Erin and Kelly were the winners of the ticket giveaway and came in from all over the country to help celebrate. They made me feel so special, were incredibly delightful and inspiring people, and meeting them was one of the highlights of the weekend!
My new friend Ann Higgins (who my fab cousin–well, you know, first cousin once removed, but we’re all kind of cousins down here–Kelly Williamson introduced me to) at Scout Southern Market had us over to her home away from home too. Not just for the shopping, which was beyond. We had so many bags we had to take breaks on the way back to the car. But she invited us for sweet tea floats, which are as amazing as they sound.
All in all, this town took southern hospitality to a new level, opening their homes, their hearts and their front porches to some strangers from a state over. And they gave The Secret to Southern Charm an unforgettable launch with–what else?–a big, heaping spoonful of their own.
We kick off the The Secret to Southern Charm tour for real this Saturday at Beaufort Linen Co. in the other Beaufort in NC! After that, it’s five weeks on the road. I would love to see you at an event. If you’re in NC, SC, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey or Delaware then I’m coming your way! Check out my full tour schedule.
We are SO excited because The Secret to Southern Charm officially launches just five days from today! We can’t believe it! To celebrate, we are giving away a $200 Target gift card so that you can stock up on all your favorite beach accessories before those warm, lazy days of summer are here.
To enter, all you have to do it pre-order The Secret to Southern Charm from your bookstore or website of choice. The Secret to Southern Charm is available from your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, Books-a-Million, Indiebound and wherever books are sold! It is being simultaneously released in paperback, hardback, e-book and audio, so check out your favorite version! You can get extra credit for sharing. (Check out the Rafflecopter below.) Thanks so much for all your support, sweet friends. We are so grateful for you!