Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Beach time

One of my few regrets about living in Gainesville for my adult life is its distance from the ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Granted, it's the place to be during hurricane season (or as I told more than one concerned friend during Irma, "We're the place Floridians evacuate to, not from"), but I miss being close to the sand and the sea, especially the Gulf.

I grew up in SW Florida and spent many days at Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and Fort Myers beaches. When our children were small we often vacationed at Clearwater beach or with the grandparents in Fort Myers. Now, though, I don't get over there as much as I'd like. However, since my son married into a Yankee family that likes to come south in the winter, we're spending the end of the year at Siesta Key.

This was our third visit to the son's in-laws and we opted to stay for a week and really make a vacation of it. We had a charming, rustic Old Florida cottage on the Intracoastal Waterway and every morning I'd eat breakfast on our veranda and watch the dolphins jump and the boats cruise by.

Between that and the long walks on the beach, I realized something about myself as a writer. It dawned on me that maybe I should stay in my comfort zone and keep setting my books mostly in Florida and the West Indies. I like it here. I can describe the land and the history and best of all, I get to take research trips to places I love, like St. Augustine, Fernandina, Key West, Siesta Key and other sites. I can share my joy in Florida with people who only know of Disneyworld and South Beach.

This makes me happy, so I'm going to set aside the 10,000 words of the manuscript that had been frustrating me (the as yet untitled Book 9) and start a new story in the land I love. Believe me, you'll hear more on this as it develops.


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