Saturday, June 4, 2016

Robert Jay - Fables to Fiction

When Robert Jay was telling stories to his children, he had no way of knowing that his tales would someday inspire an award-winning series of novels. But that is what happened to this businessman-turned-writer. Jay is the author of the “Montooth” books, a series based on the exploits of a group of Florida teens growing up in the 1950s. These crossover novels give readers, young and old alike, a slice of life during a time when values and lifestyles were very different.

Jay, an Indiana native, spent his career as a businessman, but that did not stop him from telling stories. “I was in charge of writing a company newsletter,” he recalls. “I always included some fiction to make it interesting.” His creative side also showed itself when he read fairytales to his children. “I’d take a story and tell it in different ways, changing it as I went along,” he says. Unbeknownst to him, one of these tales would form the basis for his first full-length novel.

When his daughter was 11 years old, Jay, who was in Germany on business, found a unique way to tell her a bedtime story.  He wrote a fable about an alligator named Montooth and sent her a chapter every day. Years later, he discovered that she had kept them all.  She encouraged him to write a book based on the story, and he finally agreed.  Jay had developed a keen interest in the Cuban Revolution after hearing about it from a Cuban co-worker. “I started thinking about how I could incorporate the fable into the Cuban Revolution,” he says. The result was Montooth and the Canfield Witch.

Montooth and the Canfield Witch started out as a novel for adults. “I wanted to begin the story with the characters as teenagers so they could be in their twenties by the time of the revolution,” he explains, “and because I wanted it to be something I could share with my daughter, I didn’t want to include anything inappropriate.” When the book was published, Jay was surprised to find that teens comprised a large segment of his reading audience. The story centers around the adventures of Carty Andersson, the feisty teenage heroine, and her four-man “Crew.” Jay wanted a strong female protagonist and admits that he was influenced by his daughter. According to Jay, “She’s like Carty in many ways. They both have strong personalities.” Jay also notes that his characters have a baseball connection. “I’m a Cleveland Indians fan,” he says. “The first names of all the good characters are the last names of Indians players. The first names of the bad guys are the last names of Yankees.”

In Montooth and the Canfield Witch, what starts out as a school science project leads the Crew into a page-turning adventure involving a mysterious female hermit, a group of unscrupulous treasure seekers, and a diabolical Cuban who will destroy anyone who gets in his way. The book has earned three medals from Virginia's Young Voices Foundation for excellence in literature in the following categories: Adult Fiction, Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction, and Mystery/Suspense Young Adult Fiction.  It has also earned the Royal Palm Literary Award for Historical Fiction from the Florida Writers Association. 

 The second book in the series, Race for the Ryland Ruby, begins in Cuba and takes Carty and the Crew on an adventure with roots in King Solomon’s mines. Race for the Ryland Ruby won the Young Voices Foundation Awards for Young Adult Fiction and Young Adult Southeast Regional Fiction and received the Young Voices Foundation Seals of Approval for Adult Fiction and Historical Fiction.

Book Three, Red Cross of Gold, is the latest installment. It follows Carty and her friends to Purdue University where Carty becomes a suspect in a professor’s murder. Carty and the Crew learn valuable lessons in this next stage of their lives, discovering that the bonds of friendship can transcend both distance and ideology. The Crew also learns, however, that virtue may not always win out. As with the first two books in the series, Red Cross of Gold is a multi-award winner, receiving the Eric Hoffer Award and the New England Book Festival Book Award for Young Adult Genre. The three novels are cleverly linked together by the Montooth fable

Jay’s latest release is somewhat of a departure from his Montooth series but is still based on a Montooth story. Explaining ObamaCare to Kids: The Legend of Montooth and the Dillos originally appeared as a small part in one of the Montooth novels, but Jay has transformed it into a classic children's fable with what he calls” homage to Aesop, Lewis Carroll, and Hans Christian Andersen.”  Like Jay's signature fables, it uses a variety of animals to explain life values. Young readers will relate to the characters and will easily recognize the morals of the story as Montooth, and his friends work together to fight for what is right in a society much like our own. Parents will have the opportunity to connect the story to modern world developments, including the establishment of ObamaCare. The book has been awarded the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Juvenile Fiction and the Global E-book Award for Best Website Design.

Jay hopes his novels will resonate with teens as well as their parents and grandparents. “I wanted Carty to be a spokesperson for the values of the 1950s,” he says. “I want to show teens that you can be rewarded for the good things you do – for being a positive force in life.”

For more information, visit the author’s website at

Saturday, April 30, 2016

What's In A Name? - A Guest Blog by William Eleazer

This month, Fabulous Florida Writers is pleased to welcome guest blogger William Eleazer. William, an attorney and former law professor, is the author of three legal thrillers set in Savannah Georgia. He was our featured writer on September 5, 2014.

I think Roy Peter Clark says it well in his book, Writing Tools. 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. He puts it this way:

      “What’s in a name? For the attentive writer, and the eager reader, the answer can be fun, insight, charm, aura, character, identity, psychosis, fulfillment, inheritance, decorum, indiscretion, and possession.”

 Most successful novels have unforgettable characters.  The strength and morals of the characters—or lack thereof—are the heart and soul of the novel. Have you ever wondered just how much of a part, if any, the names we choose for our characters play in the novel’s success? No doubt Gone with the Wind would have been successful without naming the main characters Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, but I think those names were perfect and perhaps even a contributing factor to the novel’s success. It has been reported that during the early drafts of the novel, the author, Margaret Mitchell, referred to Scarlett as “Pansy” and it wasn’t until it was ready for print that “Scarlett” was substituted. Can you imagine the movie with Vivian Lee, the English actress selected from the 1400 who were interviewed for the role of Scarlett, playing it as “Pansy?” I can’t either.   

I don’t recall using any specific methodology when selecting the names for Savannah Law. For most characters, I used the names of friends and relatives. (A great marketing tool!) This included the names of all the members of my Friday night poker club. Of course, if the character was evil, deceitful, or weak, I was careful to choose a generic name, one far from any friend or relative. It’s almost impossible to come up with a name that no one in the entire country has, but because my novel’s locale was Savannah, Georgia, for names of the evil characters I checked the internet for anyone in Savannah with that name. Two of the novel’s characters were the sons of a World War II immigrant couple from Estonia, Jaan and Ingrid Terras, who had settled in Springfield, Georgia, a small town near Savannah. And it was here that I made a writing mistake that I still regret.

I needed two Estonian male first names. Neither would be the main character, but both would be major characters. After substantial research to ensure authenticity (which included correspondence with the Estonian Embassy in Washington), I named these two characters “Jaak” and “Juri.” In the novel, I explained that “Jaak” was pronounced YA-ak, and that the Estonian pronunciation of Juri was YER-ee. Bad decision on names! If you are a writer and still reading this, take this to the bank and learn from my mistake: NEVER use names that are hard to pronounce. Several readers have called this to my attention. Sure, the reader is not vocally pronouncing the name, but the mind is, and it’s disconcerting to come to an unfamiliar name that is difficult to pronounce. It simply stops the ease of reading and is unnecessary. For name authenticity, there were dozens of Estonian male names I could have chosen that are the same as our own and easy to pronounce. 

In my second novel, The Indictments, which was a sequel to Savannah Law, I made another mistake in naming characters. In Savannah Law, I had introduced Jennifer Stone as the girlfriend of the protagonist, Scott Marino. Jennifer, like Scott, was a law student. She was smart, beautiful, and honest. In The Indictments, I brought in Jessica Valdez, who was also smart and beautiful—but evil. Jessica also sought a relationship with Scott, bringing her into conflict with Jennifer. And the mistake here was in the two first names. Several of my readers informed me that they had difficulty keeping the character names apart, and after reflecting on it, I agree. Both names are common names, but both begin with “J” and both consist of three syllables. Would have been much better with “Claudette” or “Zelma” Valdez. Subtle difference, yes, but from the reader’s viewpoint, important. In selecting character names, the devil is in the details.

Let me end on a positive note— the selection of a good character name. In each of my novels, Scott Marino is the protagonist. I don’t know how I came up with that name, but I like it. Easy to pronounce and, at least to me, sounds like action, strength, courage. Not sure of  why, but maybe I associate it with Dan Marino, the great Miami Dolphins quarterback who was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame just a few years before my first novel. In any case, don’t you think “Scott Marino” reads much better than “Wilbert Peevey?” (My apologies to all the “Wilberts” out there!)  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Dating Death - A Guest Blog by Randy Rawls

This month, Fabulous Florida Writers is pleased to welcome guest blogger Randy Rawls. Randy is the author of nine mystery/thrillers and several short stories. His latest novel, Dating Death, was released on April 5. Randy was our featured author on December 31, 2012.

I'd like to talk a bit about Dating Death, book 3 in my Beth Bowman series. Beth is a PI in South Florida and has a penchant for getting in trouble. It's not that she's "off the grid" or anything like that, it's that problems seem to find her. This story is an example of that.

   Alfred Elston, the Chief of Police of Coral Lakes, makes contact and asks her to attend a morning meeting in his office. He and Beth learned to respect one another in her previous case, Best Defense, so Beth reluctantly agrees. Not reluctant because of him, but because it's scheduled for nine a.m. There are things she'd rather be doing that morning.

   Anyway, Beth shows up and is introduced to Roger Adamson, a local politician who is often on the news. He's known as a playboy councilman and always appears with an attractive woman on his arm. The chief explains that Adamson is the classic dirty politician. His behind the scenes activities have him taking bribes from anyone who wants a project pushed through the city council. The police have enough on him to put him away for a few years, but the chief is holding out for more. He wants the crime boss who is believed to be financing Adamson.

 Facing ten to fifteen, Adamson has agreed to cooperate. However, in true character, he dictates the details of what is to be. Essentially, they are: 1) It will be on Adamson's timetable. He will release information as he sees fit. 2) During the period of cooperation, Adamson will continue to live his life as before and maintain his political position. 3) The police must protect him and keep him safe from any retribution.

The chief believes that the end will justify the means and agrees to Adamson's terms. That's why he called Beth. Adamson wants a bodyguard for his public appearances. It cannot be a police officer because it would give away his cooperation. It must be a beautiful woman who fits the mold of Adamson's previous girlfriends. Chief Elston asks Beth to take the job. The pay will be minimal, but her civic satisfaction will be high.

After weighing the pros and cons, Beth agrees. Her decision will have a major impact on her life and the lives of those around her. That story is Dating Death.

Dating Death is available from Amazon as both an ebook and "dead tree" book. It is published by White Bird Publications of Austin, Texas, a small but super-competent small press. IMO, Dating Death will keep you up late as crises after crises appears to imperil Beth. But, by the end . . . well, I won't tell you that.

Thanks, Jackie, for letting me talk. I love to write, and I love to talk about books, especially mine. 

For more information, visit Randy's website at

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

David Edmonds - Writing What He Knows

David Edmonds has had enough fascinating experiences to fill several lifetimes. This Tarpon Springs writer’s life has taken him from a historic Civil War homestead in Louisiana to a remote Indian village in Peru to war-torn Nicaragua and many other exotic stops along the way. He is a former marine, Peace Corps volunteer, senior Fulbright professor, academic dean and U.S. government official. As an author whose life reads like fiction, Edmonds can keep readers spellbound by writing what he knows.

Edmonds grew up in Louisiana and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Spanish and a Master’s degree in Economics from Louisiana State University. He studied at Notre Dame, Georgetown and George Washington University and earned a Ph.D. in International Economics from American University. His assignments with the US Government took him to Latin America during the turbulent 80s and 90s. There he experienced cultures where assassinations, terrorism, torture and kidnapping were commonplace. This would eventually provide fodder for his fiction.

“I’ve been a writer most of my adult life,” Edmonds says. “Even though I majored in Economics, I took creative writing courses everywhere.”
But it was returning to his home in Louisiana that kick-started his literary career. “My family home was used as a hospital during the Civil War, so I decided to do some research and write about it. What started as an article became a 600 page non-fiction book titled Yankee Autumn in Acadiana which won a literary award from the Louisiana Library Association.

Edmonds followed this with four more history books and a couple of ghost-written books, but it was a chance encounter in a tiny Chilean village that led to his first novel.“I was in the Peace Corps stationed in a miserable little Indian village,” he recalls. “The weather was bad, and I was sick much of the time. While I was recuperating in a hospital, I met this beautiful, classy Peruvian exchange student. After I returned to my village, I got the idea of writing a romance.” This was the genesis of his first novel, Lily of Peru, which wouldn’t be completed for another 20 years.

During those years, Edmonds often wondered about the woman’s fate. “I tried to get in touch with her a few times and often fantasized about linking up with her. Then I met my lovely wife, Maria, and lost all interest in her.” He didn’t, however, lose interest in his novel. Published in 2015, Lily of Peru garnered four awards, including a prestigious Royal Palm Literary Award of the Florida Writers Association, a Readers' Favorite Award, and an International Latino Book Award.  Lily of Peru tells the story of USF Professor Mark Thorsen who travels to war-torn Peru to meet with Marisa, an old love from his Peace Corps days. When he discovers that Marisa is connected with Shining Path, a terrorist organization, he sets out to learn the truth while defending himself against government agents, anarchists, soldiers and hostile jungle tribes in an adventure that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

His second thriller, which was just published by Peace Corps Writers, is titled The Girl of the Glyphs (co-written with his wife). “When I was in Nicaragua, I worked with former Sandinista soldiers,” Edmonds says. "One of them hid in a cave during the war between contras and  Sandinistas.  The cave had once been a Mayan jade mine and its walls were covered with mysterious symbols. He asked for my help in finding it, and thus began an arduous journey. My wife suggested I write a book about it.”

In the novel, a young woman from the Smithsonian hears of a cave containing writings about a mysterious holy man. She finds herself chased by a group of tomb looters who think the cave contains a lost treasure. Edmonds has also written a prequel to The Girl from the Glyphs. Set in the 1740s, The Heretic of Granada tells of a priest who escapes the Inquisition and takes up with pirates to get revenge on his enemies.

It is the  element of realism that makes Edmonds’s books particularly compelling. “All my stories are based on personal experiences that have been fictionalized,” he says. “One of the things I love about writing is re-living an experience through my protagonist, embellishing it and having it turn out the way I wanted it.” He hopes his books will give readers a window into life in South and Central America and the Caribbean. “We complain about the United States,” he says, “but we’re lucky we don’t have to go through the things they do.” Thanks to Edmonds, readers can live the experience from the safety of their armchairs.

For more information, go to or David's author page on

Monday, March 14, 2016

Inspired by the Sunshine State - A Guest Blog 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. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Joseph Collum - Focus on Fort Lauderdale

Even though he was born in New York, award-winning writer Joseph Collum has always thought of Fort Lauderdale as home.  His family moved there when he was five, so it was where he spent his formative years. “It was like a paradise back then,” he recalls. “I used to play at Whiskey Creek, and I was always out on the water. It was a great place to grow up.” Collum’s fondness for his childhood home has inspired a series of mystery novels set in the city he knows so well.

“Novelist” is a relatively recent addition to Collum’s resume. Although he’d wanted to write a book since age 12 when his dad introduced him to John D. MacDonald’s novels, Collum chose a different career path. “I took a journalism class when I was at the University of Florida and got hooked,” he says. “It was during Watergate when Woodward and Bernstein were all the rage. I liked digging up stories, so I became an investigative reporter.”

This proved to be a wise decision. Collum distinguished himself by garnering more than 100 major journalism awards for tackling issues like elder care and political corruption. His exposé of racial profiling by the New Jersey State Police raised national awareness of the practice and resulted in Collum being credited for coining the term. But it was Collum’s final assignment that caused him to transition from reporter to novelist.

On September 11, 2001, Collum was assigned to cover the collapse of the Twin Towers. “Standing in the midst of all that death and destruction was overwhelming,” he says. “I was struck that all these people had gone to work thinking it was such a beautiful day, thinking they had the rest of their lives ahead of them. And then they were gone. I spent a week at Ground Zero. Nothing I’d ever experienced came close to that. It left me emotionally spent.” Collum also realized that if he really wanted to do something, he shouldn’t put it off until tomorrow. So he moved back to Fort Lauderdale and started working on a book.

Collum’s first book was actually his second to be published. The Black Dragon: Racial Profiling Exposed is an extensive history of racial profiling by the New Jersey State Police. Drawn from over 200,000 documents and personal interviews, the book weighed in at around 800 pages. Collum was unable to find a publisher, so he decided to try his hand at a novel.

“In 2000, while I was still living in New Jersey, I came to Fort Lauderdale for vacation,” he says. “I noticed that by 2 p.m., the beach was in shadow because of all the high-rises that had been built. This stuck in my mind.” It also became the genesis for Brady’s Run, a mystery novel that introduced Collum’s signature character, Max Brady. Brady, an ex-cop and ex-attorney, moves home to Fort Lauderdale after losing his wife in the World Trade Center collapse. “I needed to write about 9/11,” Collum explains. “Max came to Fort Lauderdale in grief, and so did I. It was a catharsis for me to write about it.” Like Collum, Max discovers that the place he remembered has substantially changed. The mysterious deaths of owners of Mom-Pop motels along the beach prompt Max to investigate the “shadow world” of rampant development. His involvement places him in the crosshairs of some dangerous adversaries.

Following the publication of Brady’s Run, Collum asked his publisher to take a look at The Black Dragon. After substantial editing that cut the page count in half, the book was accepted for publication. “I’m happy that it was finally published,” Collum says. “It was an important story that needed to be told.”

Collum’s next release was the second in the Max Brady series. Et Tu Brady is based on a murder that took place at Whiskey Creek in the late 1960s. “It freaked me out that a place I associated with such good childhood memories could be the scene of a gruesome murder,” Collum recalls. “I decided to write about it someday, and over the decades I played with the idea. When I wrote Et Tu Brady, I decided it was time.” In the story, the murder of a boyhood friend has Max looking for a connection between the crime and a mysterious sunken treasure. Along the way, he is forced to unearth some painful memories to prove the innocence of the girl who was his first love. As the story segues between past and present, Collum gives readers a taste of what life was like in the Fort Lauderdale he once knew.

After pouring so much heart and soul into Et Tu Brady, Collum took a break from writing. “Sometimes, when I look back on the three books I've written, I wonder how I managed to plod through them, word by word, sentence by sentence, writing, re-writing and re-writing ad infinitum,” he says.  “The idea of starting from scratch on a new project seemed so daunting. “ In spite of this, Collum has begun two books since Et Tu Brady was published.

Collum’s first attempt involved a story he covered as a young reporter about the mob assassination of a cop who was one of his sources. “I had tried to write a non-fiction book about it way back then but didn't have the time or discipline to complete it,” he says. ”I still have a cabinet filled with my original files on the case and immersed myself in them, but my attempts to turn the story into a Max Brady novel were not satisfactory to me, so I put that project aside. I plan to return to it someday soon and give it another go. It is an incredible story. My challenge will be doing it justice.”

During the same time, Collum was writing some articles for a friend who publishes a shipping magazine. One of the pieces was about cruise ship passenger safety. He was shocked by what he found, and because Fort Lauderdale is the cruise ship capital of the world, he decided it would be a great setting for a Max Brady story. “In the name of research, my wife and I took a cruise with some friends last year,” he says. “I gathered a lot of good color which I am employing in the story.” The book, titled A Bullet for Brady , starts out on the inaugural voyage of the world's largest cruise ship out of Port Everglades.  It will take Max Brady and his girlfriend - the indomitable Rose Becker - to some exotic locations. According to Collum, “I'm having fun with it but still have many miles to travel before it is ready for public consumption.”

Collum is also plotting another Brady book that he hopes to start soon and perhaps write simultaneously with A Bullet for Brady.  “While my production has been fallow since Et Tu was published, I am hoping 2016 brings a surge of productivity and that I’ll have two more books at least written, if not published, by the end of the year,” he says. “I love writing, and I hope to have a few more years on this earth to write a few more books. I hope I’ll get better as I get older. My goal is to have sparks fly off the page.”

For more about Joseph Collum, visit his website at

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tom Winton - Writing from the Heart

Tom Winton is a man who writes from his heart.  This Jensen Beach author who now spends part of his time in the Georgia Mountains has penned seven novels he describes as “emotion-packed with a literary edge.” His books all debuted on Amazon’s “Hot New Release” list, putting him in the ranks of Amazon’s 100 Most Popular Authors in both literary fiction and mystery/thriller/suspense. He has been described as “a man who writes with his pen dipped in his soul.”

Winton’s success as a writer would certainly come as a surprise to his teachers at Flushing High School in his native New York. “My high school grades weren’t good,” he admits. “In fact, I barely made it through.”  He joined the Air Force after graduation, then drove down to Florida in a snowstorm to marry the woman he’d been dating "for a record 89 days.” Although he held a number of different jobs, he never considered writing. “Until I was 35, I was like a lot of other guys my age,” he says. “For the most part I only read the sports pages, fishing magazines and Playboy. But then I discovered novels and always had five or six alongside my easy chair. Whenever I had free time and wasn’t out fishing I read voraciously. Although I put the better authors on a pedestal, about the time I turned 49 I began to think, ‘I can do better than most of these writers.’ That’s what I believed, anyway. It took me two full years of looking at the same blank page of a Spiral notebook before I started scrawling words.” He completed two manuscripts, but when he couldn’t find a publisher, he became discouraged and stopped writing.

Even though Winton didn’t write for 11 years, he never lost the desire. “When I threw those manuscripts into a closet for all that time, I left of piece of my soul alongside them,” he recalls.  Then one day, he heard about an online writer’s site and decided to upload one of the manuscripts he’d abandoned for so long. Entitled Beyond Nostalgia, it is the story of a young love that is lost and rediscovered 25 years later. And then things started to happen—and quickly. Only five weeks after Tom submitted Beyond Nostalgia, it was nominated for the Random House site’s Book of the Year. A year later, when he was 62 year years old, Winton was approached by a publisher and signed his first contract.
Over the next five years Winton wrote six more novels, and they all soon became bestsellers. Although most of his books have scenes that take place in Florida, two of them, Four Days with Hemingway’s Ghost and A Second Chance in Paradise, are set for the most part in the Sunshine State. His other titles are Forever Three, The Last American Martyr, Within a Man’s Heart, and his newest, A New Dawn in Deer Isle. The latter, a heartrending story about a widower who drives across America, following much of the route famed author John Steinbeck did in his Travels with Charley, became an Amazon bestseller and “Hot New Release” just two days after its release.
Although Winton admits that coming up with ideas for a new books is not always easy, he’s already working on yet another Florida Keys based novel. As he tries to do with all his books, Winton hopes that his readers will again enjoy experiencing the range of feelings he puts into his stories.  “Rather than just reading words, I want them to feel the emotions,” he says. “When you can make readers feel what happens to your characters you know you’re at the top of your game.”

For more information about Tom Winton and his books you can visit his Amazon page at or his author’s website at