Monday, March 14, 2016

Inspired by the Sunshine State - A Guest Post by Joanna Campbell Slan

This month, Fabulous Florida Writers is pleased to welcome guest blogger Joanna Campbell Slan. Joanna is the national best selling award-winning author of four mystery series and several non-fiction books. Her newest mystery, All Washed Up, will be released on March 21. Joanna  was our featured writer on August 9, 2012. 

Five years ago, I found my dream house, a cottage on Jupiter Island. “Seaspray” was a foreclosure property that had been sitting vacant for more than three years. The hibiscus and sea grapes blocked the view of the ocean. Rats had taken up dwelling in the attic. The paint outside was peeling. I fell in love right away. I knew I’d come home.

I was born here in the Sunshine State, up in Jacksonville. My father was stationed in the Navy there. My parents paid for the hospital and delivery costs by winning a bet on a greyhound. (I’ve always loved dogs—no wonder!)

The large room upstairs in Seaspray offers a nearly panorama view of the beach. I use it as an office, but it was originally an artist’s studio. When the artist’s daughter dropped by for a visit, she clasped her hands to her chest and said, “Mother would be so happy to see you working here.”

Happy, happy me. What could be better than to walk the beach when I get stuck? The Treasure Coast inspires me daily. Life here on Florida’s Treasure Coast sparks my creativity. While picking up trash off the sand, I conjured up the idea of a collection of cozy mysteries, written in the style of Agatha Christie, and just as varied as the debris that rolls up in the tide. And so "Happy Homicides" was born. With my friend from Vero Beach, Linda Gordon Hengerer, we hammered out the details.

Happy Homicides 1: Thirteen Cozy Holiday Mysteries was a riptide of a success, propelling many of the authors (including me) into Amazon’s Top 100 Mystery Author category. Happy Homicides 2: Thirteen Cozy Mysteries/Crimes of the Heart came out on Valentine’s Day. Sales have been brisk.
On March 21, All Washed Up, the most recent book in my Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series will be released. Each book in the Cara Mia Delgatto series shares a bit of Florida history and lore. Tear Down and Die, Book #1, explored the Highwayman Paintings, those fantastic landscapes once sold for a pittance but now worth tens of thousands of dollars. Kicked to the Curb, Book #2, delved into the sorrowful history of the Dozier School for Boys. All Washed Up, Book #3, features Lilly Pulitzer and the birth of the CIA. (Yes, it happened here in Florida.) This week I’ll start work on Cast Off, Book #4. I’ll weave a tale around a stunning coral rosary, one of the pieces destined for the Queen of Spain and lost when the Spanish Armada sank in 1715. The rosary is now owned by my neighbor, Bill Brisben, who owns the salvage rights to the wrecks.


I once read an essay by a writer in Seattle who claimed the miserable weather was responsible for the success of many local authors. To that I say: Phooey. The sunshine, the views, and the diversity within our great state provide ample fodder for any writer worth his (or her!) salt. 

21 comments:

  1. I lived in Northwest Florida for 27 years and loved it!

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful home and an amazing view! I love your books and always look forward to your next book!

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  3. Aww but Seattle isn't that miserable Just during the rainy season!! Remember the bluest skies you will ever see are in Seattle!

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    1. Okay, now I have an "earworm" of that song. Teehhheee. Please note, I didn't call it "miserable." He did!

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  4. I love your books! I live in oregon, always have, but would love to explore the Florida you talk about

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  5. Love, love, love Joanna's books! The Cara Mia series is so good and I love the descriptions of life and recycling, re-purposing and reusing on the Treasure Coast. Thank you so much Joanna for your books!

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  6. I adore the Florida set books, and everything I learn when reading a new book from you!

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    1. Aren't you kind? I learn a lot doing the research. That's for sure.

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  7. This is why so many authors live here because of all the varied history of our state. Can't wait to read "All Washed Up" when it's released. Love how strong all your female protagonists are and how you make your cozy mysteries include a local thread in the story line.

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    1. Sally, that's a "promise" I've made to my readers--strong female protagonists and the chance to learn something about Florida.

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  8. Florida provides so much diversity in ecology and people, plus issues in the news, that inspiration is all around us. How fortunate you found your dream house.

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    1. I knew it the minute I walked in, Nancy. I love it!

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  9. I'm looking forward to reading the latest book.

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    1. And I'm eager to hear your thoughts on it, Dru Ann.

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  10. I live near the Texas coast (Galveston); but I've enjoyed visiting Florida. I'm looking forward to All Washed Up!

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    1. If any of you who commented would like for me to send you an Easter or Passover card, please email me at JCSlan@JoannaSlan.com and put CARD in the subject line. I'll need your postal address, too.

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  11. I posted before, but it doesn't look like it took.
    I think its wonderful that you found your 'home' and could see what the house could be. :)

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  12. I know that feeling of feeling "home." Thank you for sharing yours with us. A loft for a writing office sounds wonderful! I can see how walking the beach would give you recycling/upcycling ideas for Cara Mia. I'm looking forward to "All Washed Up!"

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