What Is It About Florida?

Kait CarsonKait learned to read at the age of two. Had to, her father wouldn’t read her “Prince Valiant” in the Sunday comics. Her two favorite books are still Dr. Seuss’s A Fly Went By and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Dr. Seuss was the first book she remembers reading, and the Alcott introduced her to Jo March, and exclamation points. Both changed her life.

Kait’s working life proved just as varied. A seasonal job selling fine china and glassware in the Washington, DC area soon morphed into a move to New York City and a job with a high-end Italian gold jewelry import company. The call of the tropics took her back to Miami and a job working for one of Miami’s most colorful characters as he and his Dallas Cowboy owning partner developed a national restaurant chain. A stint with the fledgling Miami City Ballet provided more grist for the journals. That led to years working with estate planning law firms and lessons learned in the front lines of litigation. She wrote five novels during this time, honing voice and characterization, learning scene and setting. The books, some masterpieces of head hopping, live under her bed. She loved them all.

Today she’s combined her love of scuba diving with her love of writing to create a new series, the second book releasing this month: Death by Sunken Treasure.

Website URL: www.kaitcarson.com

Blog URL: two: https://mysteristas.wordpress.com/ (Currently 1st) and

                        http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/ (Currently 4th Saturday)

Facebook URL: facebook.com/kait.carson.1 (main page)

                        Facebook.com/kaitcarsonauthor (author page)

Twitter:            @kaitcarson

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Thank you for having me here. I’ve long been a fan of your blog, and although I don’t often comment, I do select much of my reading material from the posts.

I’m Kait Carson and my books, the Hayden Kent series, and the Catherine Swope series, are based in Florida. My books, your book, his books, her books, and probably a few cat books are set there too. Lately there are a tsunami of books opting for a Florida setting. What is it about the Sunshine State (don’t believe that by the way—it rains half the year) that’s responsible for this sudden influx of books? Back in the day, we had Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, John D. MacDonald, Carl Hiaasen, and Dave Barry, and of those, only Carl and Dave overlap in writing time. Now, open a book and you can be anywhere from the Florida Keys (guilty) to Sarasota. If water is the theme, why not set in California, the Carolinas, Virginia, even New Jersey. If it’s all about the weather, California, Arizona, and Texas are front and center.

Most of the modern writing set in Florida is in the mystery genre. I have a theory and it has to do with location, location, location. Florida is unique as the only peninsula state, and the southernmost point of the country. So, shake all the eccentrics, miscreants, and wannabes from around the map, stir slightly, tip, and step aside. When you run out of places to run, you’ll probably find yourself in Florida. And there will be plenty of writers waiting to record your story, and help you make it better.

It wasn’t always like this. When I first came to Florida, Miami was Miamah, a sleepy little southern town that closed in the summer. Then Castro came to Cuba. Miami began to pulse with a salsa beat, easy access to South America coupled with too much coastline to protect and an endless number of landing strips carved into the Everglades brought the cocaine cowboys and a different kind of energy filled the State. “Miami Vice” painted us pastel, South Beach took off, and everyone wanted to come to Florida. Florida meant new beginnings. It didn’t matter who you were at home. In the tropics, you are who you say you are.

Death By Sunken TreasureThe State is catnip to writers. From the forests of the panhandle where snow does occasionally fall to the steamy streets of Key West where a bad storm can wash you out to sea, Florida is what you need it to be. For me, it’s home, and it’s an integral part of my stories.

Hayden Kent is a scuba diver. In Death by Sunken Treasure, her friend’s son is the victim. Hayden’s scuba skills are tested as she dives the ancient Spanish wreck the man discovered and finds doubloons and motive scattered on the sea floor. Add in an ex-wife seeking to restructure the divorce settlement, two Last Wills signed the same day with different beneficiaries, and a cast of characters that could only live in the Florida Keys and you have a hint of the series of events that could only happen on what the locals call “the Rock.”

Diving, death, doubloons, and duplicity. It doesn’t get more Florida than that.

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24 thoughts on “What Is It About Florida?

  1. I think you nailed it, Kait. Florida offers opportunity. A writer can portray the setting in a way that supports the story need. Steamy heat, foreboding weather, inviting seas, hidden danger in the mangroves. It’s all there. It’s probably the most exotic place in the nation. Bonus! No passport required.


  2. Thank you, Lelia and Kait: I would love to read your series ; I am trying to decide as soon as possible whether to relocate from NJ to Florida, NM or AZ this, in some measure, has been very encouraging in favor of Florida.


  3. Hi Skye – As someone born in NJ, I should ask the obligatory, “What Exit?” But truth is, I don’t know my own exit so, we’ll slide on that one. Florida is a unique place, it has everything to offer all in driving distance and without the California cost of living. I highly recommend it for the variety it offers. I am sure you will love wherever you decide to settle.


    • Hi Kait; being a native of Center City, Philadelphia and then South Jersey ( close to Philadelphia), I know exactly what you mean about ‘exit.’ I have never known, either. My area is crazy; it went from apple orchards and horse farms —it was once rural and not far from the infamous Pine Barrens; however, it is now cosmopolitan and filled with very aggressive, very rude people.
      We get extreme weather conditions, although the entire country is suffering right now, as well. I need sunshine and I have friends living in Florida. I am supposed to relocate to Ormond Beach ( I should have been there a year ago), and my ONLY hesitance is the humidity.


      • Know the area well. I had friends in Moorestown. I was born in NE NJ. The area where you are was gorgeous at one time. I’m a country girl although I was born in the shadow of NYC. Upstate NY and south Florida when that was rural so I know what you mean about buildup, and rudeness. Sad, people move away and lose their manners. Last time I was up in Ormond, it was great. close enough to big population areas like Daytona, but far enough away to be peaceful!


        • Yes, you do know the area: Moorestown is up the road from me: I live in Marlton and I used to live in Medford. I do know where you are from, and yes, of course, all has changed, especially since 9/11.
          The Evesham, Medford, Mt. Laurel area is completely unrecognizable, now.


  4. Good choice of settings. Many of us have been to Florida, or lived there a while, or took a vacation or business trip to Florida. If nothing else, we are all familiar with the state of Florida through movies set there, TV shows. The book sounds good.


    • Thanks, Linda. Yes, since the days of Miami Vice, I think Florida has been front and center for movies and TV. I’m waiting for the next season of Bloodline (and hoping they do a bit more research on Florida probate–they had 99% of it wrong last year). Thank you for your kind words about the book.


      • I have been to Fort Lauderdale, and Miami Vice, at one time, was my favorite show on television: very innovative with music and gorgeous men. My kids were very young in those days. I would love to read your book.


  5. Y’all are killing me 😉 I love my home state, Virginia, but St. Augustine is my next favorite place and I just might have to move there someday. And, Skye, the humidity in St. Augustine at its worst is not nearly as bad as it is here in Richmond. We live in a bowl and all the wet air just accumulates—St. A gets those lovely ocean breezes AND they haven’t seen a real hurricane with winds over 100mph since 1964.

    I’m heading there for a week in June—can’t wait!


    • It’s the breezes that make it all worthwhile. When I lived in Maine I used to say I was colder in Florida than I ever was in Maine and hotter in Maine than I ever was in Florida. Why? I lived inland in Maine – no breeze. And colder in Florida? Well, it’s because there is no introduction. Go to be at 80 wake up at 60 brrrr.


    • Lelia: tell me more, Please; I need to make a decision by June or before. I am supposed to go to Ormond Beach area…are you familiar? And living in NJ, there are NO words for the extreme humidity or the unbelievable brrrrr damp, like today.


      • My daughter lived in St. A (on Anastasia Island) for a couple of years, moved back here about 3 years ago for a number of reasons but would go back in a heartbeat if she could. I’ve visited in all seasons and am madly in love with the place. They DO get occasional deep heat spells and February can be miserably cold and rainy but it’s such a pretty town, the people are friendly, the history is fascinating, the cost of living is pretty moderate, the breezes are balmy. If St. Augustine were a book, I’d have to say it’s “unputdownable” 😉 You should make a trip to see for yourself. Stay at the Anastasia Inn—nice, clean, good prices.


        • My cousin’s wife is one of my closest friends and she lives in Ormond Beach; she expects me to move in the same complex; I think it’s called San Marco.


  6. There’s a lot to be said for moving to a new place where you already have a friend. I’ve never been there but it’s only an hour south of St. A so I bet the climate is pretty much the same. Whichever one you settle on, I’m insanely jealous!


    • Well, take a trip with me!!!!!! My son is in DC, my daughter is in AZ, and all I do is work;. As soon as May comes, I will make myself take a respite.


  7. My wife and I graduated from the U of F. After graduation i should have stayed in Fl. but a job was waiting for me back in NYC and my wife (later, not during college) was from Long Island so we both went home. However, we visit the state often. I love Fl. and read many authors who set their books in the state. My favorites are Laurence Shames (his books are set in Key West) although he must have been dropped by his publisher as he is self publishing now; Dorsey; of course McDonald; Hiaasen; Oh, why can’t I remember her name now, her characters have menial jobs. She was originally from St. Louis. Age is creeping up on me.
    Kair, I’m putting your book on my TBR list. I’ll review it when I read it. Not until the summer though.
    Richard Brawer


  8. Kait, I got distracted by the talk about living in Florida but I did want to ask—do you think audio editions will be done of your books anytime in the near future?


    • Hi Lelia, I tried to reply to this on my phone. Now I see it didn’t go through. I would like to think so, but that’s up to the publisher, Henery Press. I’ll have to ask them. I do know that some of their books are available in audio, but I don’t know how they determine which ones. Thank you for asking.


    • Thanks Dino. It has been a whirlwind since the book released (I’m thinking I may adopt the music term dropped – – doesn’t that sound more bookish!) And it has been a relief that most of the reviews are positive. Writer’s always worry…well, maybe not all, but this one – yep.


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