I’ve been dreaming about Christmas since July! Seriously.

In less than two weeks, Gallery Books will release my first ever holiday novel, A LOWCOUNTRY CHRISTMAS. This is a story I’d been wanting to write for a few years, and when the opportunity finally came, I was surprised by how quickly I wrote it. It’s one of those books that flowed from my heart and mind through my fingertips to the page, like a divine gift. And now it is my gift to you, my readers.

Available Oct. 25th. Pre-order now.
Available Oct. 25th. Pre-order now.

Available October 25, A LOWCOUNTRY CHRISTMAS is the story of a Marine, Taylor McClellan, who returns from war with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and grapples with the effects of his mental health problems on his financially-strained family in their small shrimping community of McClellanville, SC. Through the miraculous gift of a service dog, Taylor and his family are led on a journey to rediscover their strengths, family bonds and the true meaning of Christmas.

CLICK HERE to read an excerpt.

PTSD is a heavy topic, so this is a hard-hitting and honest story. But like my favorite holiday classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” there is an inspiring, happy ending.

The inspiration for A LOWCOUNTRY CHRISTMAS came a few years ago when I was at Florida’s Dolphin Research Center doing volunteer work as part of my research. My time there included working with the Wounded Warrior Odyssey Program, where I witnessed the power of connection between injured veterans and dolphins. I struck up a conversation with one stoic veteran standing on the dock with his dog. You would never know he had PTSD, which is common among veterans because the injuries are on the inside.  As we talked, I noticed he was constantly stroking his dog, never once taking his hand off of his furry companion. He told me why his service dog meant so much to him. One thing he said in our conversation that struck me was I love my wife but I need my dogSeeing that bond between service dog and master was inspiring.

There’s a growing national awareness about the deadly effects of untreated PTSD among veterans, and this makes A LOWCOUNTRY CHRISTMAS all the more timely. 

I owe a great deal of thanks to Fmr. Army Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván whose personal testimony and books deepened my understanding of the important role of service dogs for veterans. I highly recommend his award-winning book UNTIL TUESDAY: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever who Saved Him.

I’m also grateful for all I learned from Pets for Vets, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports veterans with PTSD by locating, adopting and training shelter dogs as lifelong companions. I’m honored to support the Charleston chapter of Pets for Vets at my book launch event on Oct. 25. Join me if you’re local! See event details here. 

CLICK HERE to see all book tour events.

I dedicated A LOWCOUNTRY CHRISTMAS to my son, a Marine. And I wrote this story with America’s veterans in my heart. At no greater time than the holiday season are hope and inspiration needed, especially for the military families living with PTSD.

Comments (10)

Robin Hillyer-Miles

I work with Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor. Thank you for recognizing that all wounds aren’t visible.

I am so looking forward to this story. My son, 20+ Year career Army , was in Iraq. this subject is personal to every family of our service men and women.

I just read your excerpt and I’m more and more anxious for October 25th to come! You are truly an inspiration to me! It amazes me how you are inspired through your volunteering to write your stories! You truly have a special gift! I am so fortunate to have discovered you through that first book I read which led to all the rest! Looking forward to many more new stories from you!

Mary Alice Monroe

Dee, thank you for your kind words. Your comment is a gift to me.

Mary Alice Monroe

Andrea, thank you to your son for his service. I hope you’ll share your feedback about ‘A Lowcountry Christmas’. Blessings to our service members and their families.

Mary Alice Monroe

Oh, Robin! Thank you for the work you do with our veterans.

I wish these wonderful organizations were available for those returning home from Viet Nam. PTSD was not something diagnosed in these veterans until after many were victims of suicide and severe mental illness. Thank goodness those young men returning now have a better chance of picking up their lives. I am awaiting the return of our Marine in the story as I was left crying at the end of your previous book. As always, you have found a place in my heart with your stories and the characters you weave throughout. Pre-ordered and ready to download on my Kindle.

Mary Alice Monroe

Linda, thank you for your sharing your comment. We hope your Marine gets to return home soon!
An interesting note, Pets for Vets assists veterans of any service branch who served in a conflict, including the Vietnam War. If you know of someone who could greatly benefit from this program, please tell them about PetsforVets.com.

I enjoyed meeting you at the USMC Air Station Officer’s Club Luncheon in Beaufort and want to thank you for autographing my copy of A Lowcountry Christmas. I appreciated you addressing it to my husband, who is a Vietnam Veteran. I read the book in two days and was deeply affected by your sensitive portrayal of Taylor and the way his PTSD impacted ALL the members of the McClellan family. I pray this book finds its way into the hands, and hearts, of families dealing with the many stresses war veterans face as the story has a powerful message of hope and support, both of which are greatly needed, especially during the holidays. I left a 5 star review on Amazon and see that the response from other readers has been as enthusiastic and positive as mine.
May God Bless You and Your Family, Especially Your Marine,
Gail Sobotkin

Mary Alice Monroe

Thank you. I wanted to be sure this novel accurately portrayed the effects of PTSD on veterans and their families. Your note today fills me with gratitude, and I’m honored to receive your five-star review. God bless you and your family this holiday season.

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