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In Polite Company

Gervais Hagerty

July 18, 2021

Today I talked to Gervais Hagerty about her novel In Polite Company (William Morrow, 2021).

Simons Smythe was born into Charleston’s powerful elite and grew up in one of its fabled historic homes. Her grandfather and father have always been king makers, and all the women she knows have been taught from day one how to dress, how to speak, and how to conform. When Simons isn’t producing the news on a local TV station, she surfs the waves of Folly beach, crabs the salty rivers of Edisto Island, and joins an old friend at King Street bars. If she manages to accept the path laid out for her by generations, she’s also supposed marry her boyfriend, Trip. But she isn’t sure of anything. She confides her confusion only to her elegant grandmother, who urges her to be brave. Simons just has to figure out what that means.

Author Gervais Hagerty grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. She earned her B.A. in psychology from Vanderbilt University. After a post-college stint in Southern California, she returned to the East Coast, where she worked as a news reporter and producer for both radio and television broadcasts. After earning her M.B.A. from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Hagerty was hired to teach Leadership Communications, and as director of the Patricia McArver Public Speaking Lab, she coached students, faculty, and staff to become effective speakers. She also advised the college's public speaking club. She is a board member of The Charleston Council for International Visitors and serves on Charleston's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Gervais lives in Charleston with her husband and daughters, and when not writing, parenting, or trying to slow traffic so she can bike safely, she dabbles in creating single panel cartoons.

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