T.I. Lowe is the author of the Carolina Coast series which includes Beach Haven, Driftwood Dreams, and Sea Glass Castle. In the contemporary romance series, Opal, Josie, and Sophia, known as the Sand Queens, each find love in Sunset Cove. In the article below, T.I. talks about the friendships in the series and why fostering healthy friendships is so important.
Friend is defined as follows: “One attached to another by affection. One that is not hostile. One that favors and promotes. A favored companion.” The verb form of friend is to act and or include as a friend. I love that it’s both noun and verb, which means you must put action to your friendship in a favorable manner.
Friendship is a major theme throughout the Carolina Coast series, one that I hope is defined in a healthy way with much respect and favorable action.
My author note in Beach Haven sums it up the best:
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. Between 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 and that leads 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.