Monday, June 24, 2013

Sweet Summertime Reads: 10 Fun Facts about Florida with Trish Doller

Oh hi there! For this week's Sweet Summertime Reads edition, I am excited to have author Trish Doller on the blog.  She lives in the sunshine state of Florida, and also writes about stories set in Florida.  I thought it would be fun to pick her brain about the locale since it's a popular destination spot for summer travelers.

1. What part of Florida do you live in?

image source [Fort Myers]

I live in Fort Myers, which is in the southwest part of the state. There isn’t anything really remarkable about Fort Myers other than its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone all kept summer homes here once upon a time, so that’s kind of cool. Oh! And we’re also home to Zombiecon!

2. Which areas of Florida are your stories set in?

image source [High Springs]

Something Like Normal is set right here in Fort Myers, Where the Stars Still Shine is set in Tarpon Springs, and my 2014 book (tentatively titled Arcadia Falls) starts in High Springs and moves south through the state to Everglades National Park by way of the back roads and rivers.

3. What is something unique about the state of Florida that doesn't happen in any other state (that you know of)?

I don’t know of anything Florida has that other states don’t, but fun fact: We have more lightning strikes than any other state. We also have more miles of beaches.

4. As someone who lives there, what is something that comes to mind when you first think of Florida?

Beaches. I don’t go to the beach often--hardly ever--but even Floridians can’t ignore them.

5. Where's a favorite destination to travel to inside Florida?

 image source: Trish Doller [Islamorada]

My favorite place is the Florida Keys because even though they’re a part of Florida, they feel like a whole other world. We kept a boat in Islamorada--which is a chain of islands that make up the village--for a couple of years and we still go down to a favorite little mom-and-pop resort when we need to get away from life.

6. In Something Like Normal, which places did you use for inspiration when writing scenes in the story?

image source [Shamrock bar]

I featured a few real-life local places in the book including Clancy’s Restaurant (which isn’t too far from my house), the Shamrock bar (down on the beach), and a local veteran’s club. The real-life inspiration for Travis’s house is in a really, really upscale development on the river and the street on which Harper lives at the beach is a real street--although her house is located on a different street.

7. There's a heavy Greek culture incorporated in Where the Stars Still Shine, what was your favorite place to visit when gathering info for your story?

image source: Trish Doller [Tarpon Springs]

I don’t know if I can choose just one place from the sponge docks area as a favorite because they all kind of go together. But I do have a special fondness for the gift shop that inspired the shop in Stars. They have cool stuff and they’re right next to the sponge dive tour boat.

8. What is a favorite pastime for your family to do while living in Florida?

We like to spend time on (and in) the water whenever we can. Sailing, fishing (my husband and son, mostly, my daughter and I not so much), kayaking, and snorkeling. We’re water babies!

9. I know you're not originally from Florida, so are there any habits you've picked up since moving there?

The thing about Fort Myers is that so many people who live here moved here from other places that it’s not particularly “southern” so there aren’t really any defining mannerisms that I would have picked up. So I guess I’ve mostly retained my Ohio-ness.

10. If someone were to visit Florida, which places would you tell them to visit… Disney World and the land of theme parks, or somewhere off the beaten path?

image source [Wizarding World of Harry Potter]

Definitely the Keys, kayaking on the Peace River, and they really should check out The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.

Thank you so much Trish for sharing a bit of Florida with us!  One of the many things I love about Trish's writing is her attention to detail in her stories.  From Travis' home in Something Like Normal, to Alex's boat in Where the Stars Still Shine, I could picture everything as if I were standing there.  I can't wait to venture through the Everglades National Park in her upcoming novel Arcadia Falls!

About the author: I've been a writer as long as I've been able to write, but I didn't make a conscious decision to "be" a writer until fairly recently. For that you should probably be thankful.

I was born in Germany, grew up in Ohio, went to college at Ohio State University, got married to someone really excellent, bounced from Maine to Michigan and back to Ohio for awhile. Now I live in Florida with my two mostly grown kids, two dogs, and a pirate. For real.

I've worked as a morning radio personality, a newspaper reporter, and spent all my summers in college working at an amusement park. There I gained valuable life skills, including counting money really fast, directing traffic, jumping off a moving train, and making cheese-on-a-stick. Also, I can still welcome you to Frontier Town. Ask me sometime.

These days I work as a bookseller at a Very Big Bookstore. And I write. [taken from author's website]
Find Trish: twitter | tumblr | facebook | blog | goodreads


  1. It was sweet to hear all these things about Florida. It's one of my places I want to visit, especially for the Harry Potter theme park! :D

  2. The Keys please. I would like to go. One thing I liked about the Lauren Barnholdt road trip books was that they were set in Florida too. :)

  3. Well, you know I second the recommendation for Harry Potter :) Great Q&A about Florida--I always love to read and see the inspiration behind author's stories.

  4. This was a lot of fun to read! I had NO idea that Trish was from Florida. I have a soft spot for FL because we used to vacation there all the time when I was a kid! We'd visit the parks, of course, but it was all about the beaches for me. My last two trips in 2011 were to Miami (!) and to Orlando (for WWoHP, of course) :)

  5. Something Like Normal is one of my very favorite books EVER. This interview makes me giddy with excitement over Stars. Can't wait to read it!

  6. I just finished reading Paper Towns which is also set in Florida. I've only been to Florida once and I only visited Disney World which I know doesn't really capture the state itself. So I'm definitely intrigued by some of the other destinations that make the state a desirable place to live and write about.


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