Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meet Tim Dorsey

Are you looking for a book with a real Florida feel, a frenetic plot, and quirky characters that will have you laughing out loud? Then run - do not walk - to your nearest bookstore and pick up one of Tim Dorsey's novels. Dorsey, a New York Times bestselling author living in Tampa, has written 12 novels which he characterizes as "surreal satire." His books are like peanuts - you can't read just one.

Dorsey's dream of becoming a writer started when he was 15. He recalls riding the schoolbus reading Catch-22 and thinking he wanted to write books like that someday. After graduating from Auburn University, he worked for four years as a reporter for the Alabama Journal. In 1987, he took a job at the Tampa Tribune where he worked his way up from general assignments reporter to night metro editor. In 1999, Dorsey left the Tribune to devote himself to writing full time.

In addition to Kurt Vonnegut, his favorite author, Dorsey was "hugely influenced" by Florida writers like Carl Hiaasen, James W. Hall, John D. MacDonald, and Randy Wayne White. He chose to write about Florida because "it's such a detail-rich state."  His stories center around the wild escapades of Serge A. Storms, a manic, amiable serial killer (that's right) who sets out to restore balance in the universe by inventively dispatching people who richly deserve their comeuppance. (If you've ever been annoyed by someone's window-rattling car stereo ramped up to full volume, you'll love the prologue to Dorsey's ninth novel, Hurricane Punch.) Serge and his sidekick, Coleman (a substance abuser of epic proportions), traverse the Sunshine State seeking out adventure and Florida landmarks. Their antics, according to the Associated Press, "will make you laugh until your sides split." Dorsey's plots are peppered with historical anecdotes and Florida trivia, and many of the events in his books come straight from Florida headlines. According to Dorsey, "What Serge does is invention. The other stuff comes from the newspaper."

Dorsey is a writer who truly enjoys his craft. "The joy in writing is to allow the plot to go where it wants to go, " he says. He especially likes writing the scenes where Serge is "being manic." Each novel takes him about a year to complete. He spends five months doing the actual writing. Then he takes a three-month break before coming back to work on the final draft.  He feels that his greatest challenge is juggling time demands and family obligations, and he has no inclination to write non-fiction because "it's just too much work."

Dorsey's most recent book, Gator a-Go-Go, has Serge and Coleman on Spring Break in Daytona Beach. It starts out with a midget being thrown from a balcony and gets crazier from there. (Did you know that Florida was the first state to ban midget tossing?) Suffice it to say that, after reading this book, you'll never look at Spring Break in quite the same way.

Dorsey has completed the 13th installment of the Serge A. Storm saga, Electric Barracuda. It has gone to press and is scheduled to hit bookstore shelves on January 25th. Dorsey describes the story this way: "Serge, armed with his perpetually baked sidekick, Coleman, decides to blitz the state and resurrect his Internet travel-advice website—which, of course, must be the finest and the final word on trekking the Sunshine State. To up the ante, Serge concocts a theme vacation for his cyberspace audience. And that theme? You, too, can experience Florida through the eyes of a fugitive."

Dorsey is currently at work on Book #14. In it, Serge goes to Miami to become a self-employed spy. "The rest," says Dorsey, "is a (spy) secret." Dorsey describes his career as "my wildest dream come true." And judging from the success of his novels, Tim Dorsey's readers are certainly happy that he's decided to share his wild dreams with them.

For more about Tim Dorsey, visit his website at http://www.timdorsey.com/

Next: Mary Anna Evans - Digging Into the Past

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Welcome to Fabulous Florida Writers

When you think of Florida, many things come to mind - beautiful beaches, abundant sunshine, palm trees, retirees, manatees, and the omnipresent orange - but you may not know that the Sunshine State is also home to a bounty of some of the best writers around. In this blog, I'll be introducing you to some of them. If you're a book lover like me, you might find a few new authors to add to your list of personal favorites. Or you might learn something new about a writer you already enjoy. So join me on a literary tour of the wonderful world of Fabulous Florida Writers. I know you'll enjoy the ride!
Warmest wishes,

Coming soon: Meet Tim Dorsey