by GWEN OREL
Longtime Montclair resident Dorothea Benton “Dottie” Frank, the bestselling novelist acclaimed for her books about heroines from her beloved Lowcountry of South Carolina, died Monday night following “a brief but intense battle with myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, a type of cancer similar to leukemia,” according to the Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C. She was 67.
Frank published her 20th book, “Queen Bee,” in May of this year; the novel reached No. 2 on the New York Times’ bestseller list. Frank was due to make an appearance at Watchung Booksellers in the fall to promote the book.
Frank grew up in Sullivan’s Island, S.C. Her first novel, “Sullivan’s Island,” came out in 2000 and was also a New York Times bestseller. Many of her novels celebrate women of a certain age, almost all in a beach setting in South Carolina.
In 2017, she spoke to Montclair Local about her book “Same Beach, Next Year,” from her home on Sullivan’s Island, where she had gone to check property damage following Hurricane Irma.
She described her intimate connection with the area, explaining that she likes to write about “the power of place. When you’re from a place where you have time to think you become connected to that place. I’m very connected to the Southeast.”
The night sky there, she said, is unbelievable. There is no ambient light across the water, and “you cannot believe what you see. The whole swirl of the Milky Way. When I’m here, I can see myself on the beach, with my cousins, and hear the ocean roaring in my ears.”
Frank also made appearances in the pages of Montclair Local as a columnist, penning the regular column, “Dot’s Desk,” in which she opined about touring with a new book, the soft gray days of autumn in Montclair, a cherished fruit cake recipe, people who cross the street carelessly, the appeal of Hallmark movies, and a salty opinion piece about mega-mansions.
Just this past June, she sent pictures from the road.
Please send your memories of Frank to firstname.lastname@example.org.