T.I. Lowe @TiLowe
Relationships come in many shapes and sizes. Friendships, acquaintances, lovers, enemies. Yes, enemies. Bet you’ve never thought about it, but there is a relationship between you and the one who has been sworn as an enemy. It’s not a healthy one, but it’s there.
A quick dictionary search tells me relationship means “the state of being connected.” Hello, social media. Sadly, I witness a lot of toxic people smothering their relationships right in front of me on social media. It baffles me how it’s become a thing to tear others apart, to show respect for no one but to demand respect for oneself in the most brash ways.
In the Carolina Coast series, I want to steer readers in the direction of healthy relationships. To show them that it’s okay to cut the toxic baggage we carry in the forms of relationships that take away from our lives and never enrich it. To invest in relationships that matter.
My author’s note in Beach Haven sums it up:
I have a collection of accessories, as most of you probably do. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, scarves… I love the collection and the options I have to complement various outfits. But I have a few pieces that complement anything, and I rarely take them off: my wedding ring and a pair of small diamond stud earrings. Both are expressions of my husband’s love for me.
I view relationships in a similar light. Friends should complement your life and never take away from it. I worry that so many women don’t understand this nowadays and have dressed their lives with toxic relationships. For this reason, I created the Sand Queens and the Knitting Club for the Carolina Coast series.
The Knitting Club is the older group of ladies. I had such a blast writing these zany characters, but they have a serious purpose. From six to twelve members, depending on what day of the week it is and who is available to attend their gatherings, I view this group as your wider accessory collection. Not every piece will pair well with every “outfit”—every moment in life—but when they do, watch out! Perfection! I have a similar group of friends who are always there at the right moment, no matter how much time passes between visits. We have busy lives that lead us in different directions, but when we do meet up, it’s always a gift.
Then there are the Sand Queens. This tight-knit group is there through thick and thin, complementing any and every moment you find yourself in. They are my wedding band and diamond earrings, always present and highly valuable in love and loyalty. This friendship consists of only a few women, who are closer than sisters. In this series, you will see how Opal, Josie, and Sophia each bring a unique quality to their friendship that complements the others.
Opal brings liveliness and provides you with courage to step out of your comfort zone. She’s the one pushing you to take a chance and there to cheer you on all the way.
Josie is the shy yet tenderhearted one. Ready to hold your hand and cry with you. She is a quiet force behind the scenes.
Sophia is the voice of reason. She will talk you off the ledge and then give you a much-needed straightening out after it’s all said and done. She is fiercely loyal and ready to go to bat for you.
I’m blessed with a Knitting Club and a Sand Queens group of friends, both important in their own way. I encourage you to identify your groups, seeking healthy relationships to complement your life.
Tonya "T.I." Lowe is a native of coastal South Carolina. She attended Coastal Carolina University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she majored in Psychology but excelled in Creative Writing. In 2014, Tonya independently published her first novel, Lulu's Café, which quickly became a bestseller. Now the author of 12 published novels with hundreds of thousands of copies sold, she knows she's just getting started and has many more stories to tell. She resides near Myrtle Beach with her family.