The Beach House is a seminal book in my career because it changed not only my writing process, but my life. I began volunteering on the Isle of Palms/Sullivan’s Island Turtle Team to learn about the loggerhead sea turtle. Soon my interest became a passion. I realized I had an opportunity—I could both entertain and educate my readers about this fabulous species and issues threatening them. So I developed themes from what I’d learned about the turtles. For example: 1) female turtles return to the area of their birth to nest. Theme: returning home. 2) Turtles lay the eggs then leave the nest, never to return. Theme: abandonment. I found this added depth and a richness to the novel. Also, it helped the readers learn more without preaching. By looking for parallels between nature and human nature, I could create universals that my readers could resonate with. The Beach House laid the groundwork for a process I’ve used ever since. And, I’m still a “turtle lady” on the Isle of Palms/Sullivan’s Island today.