Deborah Sharp is a
native and former USA Today reporter. She writes the funny, southern-flavored Mace Bauer Mysteries, featuring Mace’s wacky mama. The fourth book in the series is Mama Sees Stars (Midnight Ink, September 2011). Florida
You may read an excerpt here: http://mamaseesstars.com/
Deborah’s website is here: http://www.deborahsharp.com/
Musing in Middle Florida
By Deborah Sharp
Debsharp1@gmail.com for questions
Excavating my desk recently, I uncovered an essay I wrote for Mystery Scene magazine way back in 2008, when my first book came out. It was about how the fictional town of
A spot where cowboy is used as a verb, where barbecue is a religion, and where the mascot for the local high school is a 1,500-pound Brahma bull named Bubba.
The clip made me think how places spark our creative spirit; serve as muses, if you will. Since the lovely Kaye Barley invited me to be today’s guest blogger, I thought it would be fun to meander to some of the spots I love in the little-known part of
I write about. I once rode a horse across the region, saddling up to research the annual week-long trail ride that became the setting for my second book, Mama Rides Shotgun. Florida
I know Kaye often runs pictures of authors and their pets. Domino, the sweet-tempered horse I borrowed for trail ride, is not a pet. But I loved him. When we made it to the end of the Cracker Trail Ride, his owner gave me one of Domino’s worn horseshoes as a souvenir. I use it as a paper-weight.
Early on, I thought I’d set my books in the real town of
. It’s about 80 miles south of the manufactured fun of Walt Disney World, and 50 miles from the nearest ocean breeze. But it turned out the down-home, rural flavor I wanted for the series was endangered there. I knew it as soon as I saw a hand-lettered sign pop up outside a remote country store: Okeechobee
Cappuccino? There goes the neighborhood.
So I made up Himmarshee. I kept the rustic elements that attracted me to the area in the first place, and lost what I’d rather not see. Like a Walmart on former pasture land. Or a proposal to plow under orange trees and plant 14,000 new homes. Without a lick of irony, the planners of that pre-recession project wanted to name it “The Grove.’’
There is still plenty of beauty to take in, though. Like a creek on a fog-shrouded morning along the Cracker Trail.
And there are still wild things to admire . . . from a distance.
One of my favorite writing spots is outside, along the
Kissimmee River. My husband and I have a getaway there, a little trailer on a few acres of land.
It’s not exactly an office, but it is a spot where I can envision what my main character, Mace Bauer, might see. Alligators glide by in the dark river. Sandhill cranes soar overhead. Cattle low from a nearby pasture. My middle
# # #