Writer \/\/ Janelle Morrison Photography \/\/ Courtesy of Carmel Clay Public Library Best-selling author, public speaker and nonprofit fundraiser Dorothea \u201cDottie\u201d Benton Frank is coming to Carmel on Friday, June 8 as part of the Carmel Clay Public Library\u2019s \u201cVisiting Author Series.\u201d Frank debuted on The New York Times Best Sellers list at number nine with her first novel, \u201cSullivan\u2019s Island\u201d (Berkley Publishing 2000) that has over one million copies in print and has been published in 10 foreign languages. Subsequently, several of her novels were NY Times best-sellers and\/or can also be found in various languages. Her 19th novel, \u201cBy Invitation Only,\u201d will be released May 15. Born and raised on Sullivan\u2019s Island, South Carolina, Frank\u2019s affinity for the Lowcountry of South Carolina was fostered while growing up in the family\u2019s nearly century-old house along with her four siblings. She graduated from The Fashion Institute of America in 1972. For a short period, she lived in Atlanta and was employed in the Atlanta Apparel Mart by College Town Sportswear. She returned to Charleston, SC, in 1973 and became a buyer for Kerrison's Department Store. In 1974, she was hired by Byer California and moved to San Francisco. A year later, she moved to New York City and went to work on Seventh Avenue for Fire Islander Sportswear, Heralcorp Industries and Michael Lerner before retiring in 1985. She married Peter Richard Frank in 1983, and the couple moved to Montclair, NJ, in 1985 where they raised their two children, Victoria and William. Frank was in her 40s when her mother suddenly passed away. Her mother\u2019s house became a point of contention between Frank and her husband. \u201cI asked my husband to please buy my mother\u2019s house on Sullivan\u2019s Island,\u201d Frank recalled. \u201cHe said to me, \u2018If you think that I\u2019m going to spend the rest of my life there listening to your crazy relatives tell the same stories over and over again, I\u2019m not doing it.\u2019 I said \u2018Okay,\u2019 and I decided to figure out how to buy it myself. I saw a book that was written by a popular writer, and I thought to myself, \u2018What does she got that I don\u2019t have?\u2019 So, I bought this book and read it in about three hours, and I thought that I could write something like this in 30 days probably. It took two years. I had never tried to write a novel before. I wrote this draft of \u201cSullivan\u2019s Island,\u201d which eventually found its way into the hands of a publisher, and it sold over a million copies.\u201d Suddenly, Frank had a new career. \u201cI was like, \u2018Wow, this feels good,\u2019\u201d she exclaimed. \u201cOne of the larger mistakes that I made earlier in my life was that I didn\u2019t have my own money. My advice to women is to always have your own money.\u201d Turning her grief over the loss of her mother into a quasi-autobiographical novel, \u201cSullivan\u2019s Island\u201d launched Frank\u2019s professional writing career and gave her the means to buy her mother\u2019s house in which she has written and continues to write her novels. She is currently working on two children\u2019s books with her daughter, Victoria, in addition to her other projects and her volunteerism. Frank has said, \u201cSecretly, everybody wants to be southern.\u201d Why? \u201cThe weather is better, and there is more sunshine in the South,\u201d she said. \u201cYou get outdoors more often, and you live healthier \u2013 once you get past the barbeque and fried okra.\u201d Her novels depict life in the Lowcountry but are humorous, contemporary and relatable to practically everybody who reads them. \u201cInspiration comes from everywhere,\u201d Frank shared. \u201cMy first book was born out of frustration, no doubt about it. I want my books to entertain and inform, and I want somebody to be glad that they spent the time reading it. So I try to write a satisfying story about something that\u2019s important in all our lives and is contemporary. I don\u2019t think people read my books to get lost in them so much as they read my books to find themselves in them.\u201d To purchase tickets to see Dorothea \u201cDottie\u201d Benton Frank on Friday, June 8, visit carmel.lib.in.us\/foundation\/tickets.cfm or call 317-814-3984. For more information on Dorothea \u201cDottie\u201d Benton Frank, visit dotfrank.com.