My Books

I'm the author of several books of non-fiction.

Nags Headers, (Blair, 2001)
Nags Headers is the story of North Carolina’s first beach vacation settlement, whose roots extend to the Civil War. More particularly, it traces the multigenerational love affair between a group of families and a mile-long stretch of sand inhabited by a handful of cottages elegant in their simplicity—the famous Unpainted Aristocracy.

Readers will make the acquaintance of S. J. Twine, the wiry carpenter and self-taught architectural genius who designed structures that have withstood hurricanes and countless northeasters. They’ll meet Mary Frances Flowers, whose family hosted President Franklin Roosevelt for lunch on a hot August afternoon. They’ll hear the words of hurricane survivor Virginia Flora Hall, now a centenarian, and of Beulah Wadsworth, who summered at Nags Head for many years as a servant of the Drane family. They’ll feel what it was like to comb the beach for artifacts from the Wright brothers or wreckage from ships torpedoed by German submarines, to toast marshmallows atop Jockey’s Ridge, to dance at the Nags Head Casino to the music of headliners as diverse as Glen Miller and Bill Deal and the Rondells. They’ll learn of a time when children could roam endlessly and freely without danger, when a vacation at the beach meant an entire summer, not a stolen week.
Some of Nags Head’s old cottages are still occupied by descendants of their original owners. Author

Susan Byrum Rountree tells their stories with the help of oral histories from Nags Headers ages twelve to one hundred, who reveal what house and family mean to them. Of special interest are the dozens of photographs gathered from private collections, as well as the new images that capture this unique community as it survives today.

Note: Nags Headers was removed in 2011 from the publisher's back list. To order a signed copy, contact me $15, plus shipping.

In Mother Words, Chapel Hill Press, 2004
If you’ve ever held a fretful baby in your lap, watched a toddler struggle to learn a new skill, comforted a child who has lost a friend to tragedy, or stepped aside as your grown child becomes even more than the person you’d dreamed she’d be, then you’ll love this collection of twenty-two essays about the joys and struggles of being a mother. 

The perfect gift for Mother's Day, birthday, or for the new mother in your life.
$10 includes shipping. To order, contact me at 

I am also the author of The Nags Head Walking Tour, available here.