North Myrtle Beach museum welcomes Dottie Frank again

By Steve Palisin


This photo shows the cover of Dorothea Benton Frank’s 16th and latest work, “All the Single Ladies: A Novel,” published June 9 by William Morrow.
This photo shows the cover of Dorothea Benton Frank’s 16th and latest work, “All the Single Ladies: A Novel,” published June 9 by William Morrow. Courtesy photo

Dorothea Benton Frank, whose first novel “Sullivan’s Island,” named after her hometown, was released in 2000, will at 4 p.m. Saturday attend a fundraiser for the North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum.

The author, whose 16th and latest work, “All the Single Ladies: A Novel,” was published June 9 by William Morrow, will lavish upon guests some of her Lowcountry charm through a question-and-answer session and autograph copies of the new book. Duplin Winery, based in Rose Hill, N.C., and readying to open a North Myrtle Beach site later this year, will provide food and beverages. Registration is $50, including a copy of the book, at 427-7668.

Jenean Neilsen Todd, director of the museum, voiced her excitement at having Frank as a special guest for the second time in about one year.

Question | How lucky and honored was the museum in landing a date with Ms. Frank for this special visit to her native Lowcountry roots?

Answer | The museum hosted Dottie Frank last June for the release of “The Hurricane Sisters.” I had hoped to be on her 2015 tour, but other Grand Strand sites had priority. When I heard from several sources that the prescheduled events were booked, I jumped on the opportunity to offer a nontraditional venue. The museum is indeed privileged to host Dottie for a second year. With her sassy, Southern humor, Frank co-mingles long-standing traditions with contemporary, slice-of-life situations. And, ... the museum is a 501c3 nonprofit; proceeds raised from the event are used toward educational programs and support.

Q. | With museums presenting collections and education to give people new ways to understand the past, and authors often working history, culture and the landscape into their novels, how does this connection empower the evolving partnership that museums and book writers share?

A. | When an author merges a community’s past into a modern storyline, they reinforce the significance of the region’s natural and cultural history. By incorporating local “flavor” into the book, the author strengthens the value of cultural sites and boosts recognition of institutions that operate as nonprofit, educational facilities.

Q. | How special is linking up with Duplin Winery of Rose Hill, N.C., soon before its opening of a second location this summer, near Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach?

A. | I'm excited to partner with Duplin Winery. In planning the museum’s Dottie Frank event, I considered the title: “All the Single Ladies.” What do single – and attached – ladies like to do? Drink wine! I knew that the local Duplin Winery was nearing completion. I remembered seeing its billboards on Interstate 40 in North Carolina, between Wilmington and my hometown of Cary, near Raleigh. I always thought the winery’s tag line – “Cool. Sweet. Easy.” – was fun and provocative. It seemed a natural segue to ask Duplin Winery to sponsor an event centered around women finding new ways to navigate their changing worlds.

Q. | What Duplin signature foods – maybe the muscadine dip, grape-hull pie, and peanut butter with muscadine jelly – and wines are most tantalizing to your taste buds?

A. | I really like the idea of dipping crispy Southern-fried chicken into the sweet, smoky richness of Muscadine Smokehouse sauce. And I hope Duplin Winery will include some of its family-recipe, gourmet crackers to dip in its hot pepper peach preserves.

Q. | In this, the North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum’s third year already, what other special events and projects are emerging for the rest of 2015?

A. | The museum is hosting two other authors this summer as well as a “Murder in the Museum” mystery dinner. In addition to the museum’s long-term exhibit, we’re spotlighting colored pencil works created by local artists. Looking ahead, I’m planning a holiday exhibit featuring an assortment of trees decorated by local organizations. And, with the help of Horry County and North Myrtle Beach A-tax funds, I hope to bring a hands-on exhibit about turtles to the community in January.

Other programs this summer:

▪ “Wicked Myrtle Beach,” as Becky Billingsley launches her new book “Wicked Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand” on July 7. The museum is partnering with Lancaster Tours of Myrtle Beach to present Becky’s research into the “livelier” side of the Grand Strand.

▪ “Tiramisu and Titanic, Too,” in which Julie Hedgepeth shares the survival story of Titanic passenger Sylvia Caldwell in a dramatic performance on July 20, and guests will enjoy desserts that rival those served aboard the ill-fated ocean liner.

▪ “Beach Blanket Bang-O”: In early August, Mrs. Murder and Friends will stage another murder mystery dinner with a reunion of bouncy babes and clean-cut surfers.

▪ “Creature Feature,” the weekly programs for families with children ages 4-10, in hourlong interactive sessions that include stories, trivia, games, and crafts.

Q. | How’s the museum jukebox doing in keeping that great oldies music playing? Any one selection that visitors cue up the most often?

A. | I enjoy watching visitors engage with the jukebox on different levels. Youngsters are amazed when the arm lifts the disc onto the turntable, and music blasts from the speakers. Older visitors sparkle when they hear the crackle of the vinyl as the needle travels in the grooves of the record. Nothing transports you back to the past like the sound of a jukebox! The most popular song is “Miss Grace,” although I’ve been surprised at the number of times I’ve heard Bruce Springsteen shout “Born in the USA.”

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.

If you go

Who | Dorothea Benton Frank, in a question-and-answer session and autographing copies of All the Single Ladies: A Novel.”

With | Food and beverages from Duplin Winery, based in Rose Hill, N.C. (800-774-9634 or www.duplinwinery.com), and opening a second site this summer at 4650 U.S. 17 South, North Myrtle Beach, next to Alligator Adventure and Barefoot Landing.

When | 4 p.m. Saturday

Where | North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum, 799 Second Ave. N., North Myrtle Beach.

How much | $50 (or $42 members), including a copy of Frank’s “All the Single Ladies.”

Reservations | 427-7668, or email HistoryAndMore@nmbmuseum.com

Other author visits | Reservations requested:

▪ “Tiramisu and Titanic, Too,” 7 p.m. July 23, with Julie Hedgepeth Williams, author of “A Rare Titanic Family,” sharing the survival story of Sylvia Caldwell. $10 adults, $5 youth.

▪ Book release for “Wicked Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand,” 6 p.m. July 7, with Becky Billingsley. $10.

Museum open | Noon-4 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, for $5 ages 13-59, $4 ages 60 and older or student/military with ID, $3 ages 5-12, and free ages 4 and younger.

Also |

▪ “Treasures in Colored Pencil,” third annual exhibit by members of Colored Pencil Society of America District Chapter 124 of Myrtle Beach (www.cpsa124.org) – with members from southeastern North Carolina to Beaufort, S.C. – through July 25, with “People’s Choice” voting through July 11. Free with admission.

▪ “Creature Features,” for ages 4-10 and parents, 1 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 26, with volunteer Kathy Tiso enlightening audiences with facts and tales about local marine animals. $2 plus admission. Reservations requested.

▪ “Beach Blanket Bang-O,” tentatively 6:30 p.m. Aug. 3, for $45 (members $35).

More details | www.nmbmuseum.com, and www.dotfrank.com