I have been doing my Miami Interviews for almost a year now. So, to celebrate I thought I would compile a list of the recommended books that take place in Florida. That’s question # 2 in my standard set of questions.
So in order of interviews, I give you a GREAT list of books to add to your bedside table.
What is your favorite novel set in Florida and why?
1. Joyce Ann Brown :
Because of Winn-Dixie has to be my favorite novel set in Florida. It’s a young adult book, and I was a children’s librarian. The small town setting is in Florida, sure, but the quirky, heart-warming characters and the scraggly dog could be from any town. They all become an extended family for young Opal and help her overcome her personal unrest. They help us all grow in understanding.
2. Kait Carson:
Besides my own books? Oh so many, and not all set in South Florida. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote about Florida. Although her books were contemporary when they were written, they now provide a wonderful look back in time. Anything by Carl Hiaasen. He manages to capture and combine the absurdity and gritty underbelly that is South Florida. Florida has always had that two-edged sword reputation. It’s a place where swampland was for sale and a borrow pit could be turned into the magnificent Venetian Pool.
3. Miriam Auerbach:
Well, this is like asking a mother to name her favorite child. I love them all! I love mysteries. I’m a member of the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, where I have been fortunate to make many friends over the years who write great Florida novels . . . and I want them to stay friends. So . . . I’m going to weasel out. Instead of Florida in words, how about Florida in images? My total fave is Clyde Butcher’s books of his black-and-white photos of Florida swamps. Haunting. Ethereal. Unforgettable.
That’s like being asked which of your children is your favorite! Long before I moved to Key West, James W. Hall’s books captured my imagination. Most of his books are set in the Keys, some in Key West, but his character Thorn roams our streets down here. There are other good Florida writers, but Jim was the first to draw my attention to the Keys.
It’s so hard to choose because there are so many great Florida writers, certainly mystery writers, but I especially love Carl Hiassen, not really in the mystery genre, but his take on Florida politics and the masterful way her converts them into humorous events and outrageous characters means you can’t beat him for a great, side-splitting read.
6. J.D. Daniels:
My all-time favorite is The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III who also authored The House of Sand and Fog. I tend to like edgy work. The characters (especially the stripper April) are unforgettable and desperate. The plot thunders toward a cataclysmic ending. As far as mysteries set in Florida, I’m a big fan of all the contemporary writers with female protagonists. The more strong intelligent women portrayed the better. But, don’t get me wrong, I admire strong male characters as well. My portrayal of the Turkish carpet merchant in Minute of Darkness proves that point.
7. Vinnie Hansen:
I’m a big Elmore Leonard fan, so I’m going with GET SHORTY. No one beats Elmore Leonard for colorful characters and snappy action. And, no matter how sleazy the world he creates, Leonard manages humor.
8. Hal Howland:
My favorite Florida novel is Carl Hiaasen’s Stormy Weather, which I read shortly after moving here, because it introduced me not only to Hiaasen’s hilarious writing but also to the Sunshine State’s notorious politics. The author once shared with me his famous view that Florida’s truth is stranger than fiction.
9. Elaine Viets:
Barbara Parker’s “Suspicion of Innocence,” an Edgar Award finalist. Barbara, a former prosecuting attorney, effectively portrayed the culture clash between old Florida and the newer Cuban arrivals in her Suspicion series, set in Miami. Highly recommend this series.
10. Dania Ramos:
Since I write middle grade fiction, I’ll start off with HOOT by Carl Hiaasen. I love his characters – they’re written with such sincerity even when they end up in the wackiest situations. I’ve never rooted so hard for owls in my life!
As for adult books, Lenore Hart has written a couple of gripping novels set in the Florida panhandle. I’d recommend BLACK RIVER (written under the pseudonym Elisabeth Graves), especially for horror fans. There’s so much going on beneath this dark, chilling tale. The novel explores what a mother is willing to do to protect her child and it approaches this theme from several different perspectives and across generations.
Part two of this list will be along shortly. If you want to know more about the authors interviewed just click on their name. The hyperlink will take you directly to their interview which is FULL of links and biographical info.
Thank you all for a great (almost) year of Miami Interviews!