Why I Love Miami

Posted at Jun 26, 2015 8:17 pm

An interview originally posted on fellow mystery writer Raquel Reyes’ Blog, December 29, 2014.

Have you ever been to Miami? Please tell us the one thing you find delightful or unique about the “Magic City.”

Back in the eighties, when I was living in the frozen North (okay, the Midwest, but still…), I was captivated by Miami Vice. Miami-Vice-TV (2)Those neon colors . . . those swaying palm trees . . . those strutting flamingoes . . . Don Johnson. I knew it was where I wanted to be. Operating on a variation of the “if you build it, they will come” theory, I implemented a “if you visualize it, it will happen” plan. I bought a photo calendar of Miami and hung it on my wall above my word processor (like I said, it was the eighties). I banged out my doctoral dissertation on that little machine over a winter and spring, alternately gazing at the snow outside my window and the beaches on the calendar. Then I applied for and was offered a job in my dream destination . . . and I have been happily working in Miami for over twenty years now. Apart from the sun ‘n’ surf, what I find delightful about Miami is, of course, its bizarreness. You don’t have to look far to find it. Just in today’s paper I read the delightful headline “Confusion Surrounds Dead Rat Shipment.” According to the story, the owner of a religious artifacts shop in Miami receives three shipments yearly of two hundred dead wild jungle rats from Nigeria, dehydrated and packaged on sticks, for use in healing and spiritual ceremonies. The owner says they are top sellers. Somehow, I don’t think this would happen back in Kansas, where I moved here from.

What is your favorite novel set in Florida and why?

Well, this is like asking a mother to name her favorite child. clyde butcherI 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 pictures? My total fave is Clyde Butcher’s books of his black-and-white photos of Florida swamps. Haunting. Ethereal. Unforgettable.

Would your main character(s) be a fish out of water in Miami or would they dive in and swim with the sharks?

Harriet would kick the sharks’ asses (. . . do sharks have asses?).

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