After an extended trip to Japan with her husband, Mary Alice studied Asian culture in earnest. She was awarded a fellowship, became bilingual in Japanese and earned her master’s degree. Later, she helped establish a government-funded English as a Second Language program for Southeast Asian refugees. Working with immigrants and helping them integrate into American society, Mary Alice co-authored an English-language survival text. Not until years later did fate intervene. When her doctor confined her to bed for the final months of her pregnancy, Mary Alice’s husband handed her a yellow notepad and pencil and urged her to write the novel she had always dreamed about. Knowing she might never again have that gift of time, she wrote and wrote. “I gave birth to a baby and a book,” says the author. A dozen books later, Mary Alice has found her voice in fiction. Although known for her intimate portrayals of women’s lives, her writing has gained added purpose and depth with her move to the South Carolina Lowcountry. “Living on Isle of Palms provides a stimulating place for me to think and to write. I’ve always been interested in nature, but living on the island and near the wetlands has influenced my work. I draw themes for my novels from nature and the parallels with human nature. And, in my own small way, I hope that by bringing to life the beauty and mystery of this fabulously varied ecosystem and various endangered species in my stories, readers will be inspired to support efforts to protect them.” Mary Alice is involved with several environmental groups and is on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium. Her work with these groups provided the inspiration for her novels THE BEACH HOUSE, SKYWARD, SWEETGRASS, SWIMMING LESSONS, her children’s book, TURTLE SUMMER, and her newest novel, TIME IS A RIVER.