For those not in the know, November is National Novel Writing Month, where the challenge is to write a novel in 30 days. It is a contest, of sorts; there’s no real winner and you are really just competing against yourself. However, thousands of people from all over the world sign up to “compete.” They even form teams, plot ahead of time, but don’t actually start writing until 12 a.m. November 1st. And the goal? To write 175 pages (or 50,000 words) by 12 a.m. on November 30th.
Sound extreme? Maybe. But what a cool idea to promote writing and reading!
As an English teacher, avid writer and blogger, and self-confessed bibliophile, I love it! And while I am much too busy this month to participate, and I have already written my share of novels. (It’s my favorite form of writing, by the way!) In fact, I my first novel, Soul Conspiracy, went on to be one of 8 finalists (from out of 200 submissions) in the 1998 International Hemingway Novel Competition. Alas, I did not pursue getting it published because I still want to re-write it to make it a faster-paced thriller. (Yeah, I’m a bit of a perfectionist with my novel writing.)
At any rate, I thought in honor of NaNoWriMo, I’d select a few novels set in or about Florida. Some of these you may have read, others may be new to you. Feel free to add your favorite Florida-based novels!
20 Great Florida Novels
1. A Land Remembered, by Patrick D. Smith (This author has won more awards from the state of Florida for this novel than any other novelist, including Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.)
2. Crossing the Creek, A Literary Friendship of Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, by Anna Lillios (Brand new, but simply wonderful!)
3. The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (This novel won a Pulitzer Prize)
4. Cross Creek, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
5. Seraph on the Suwanee, by Zora Neale Hurston
6. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston (This novel is on most lists of 100 Greatest Novels of the 20th Century)
7. To Have and Have Not, by Ernest Hemingway (Hemingway’s only novel set in the U.S. Vastly different from the movie.)
8. Tourist Season, by Carl Hiassen (One of Hiassen’s many outstanding books set in Florida.)
9. Strawberry Girl, by Lois Lenski (This novel won a Newberry Award, the highest honor for young adult books.)
10. Ninety-Two in the Shade, by Thomas McGuane
11. We Are The Boys, by Glendon Swarthout (This novel was the inspiration for the movie by the same name.)
12. From the Earth to the Moon, by Jules Verne (Written in 1890 and has man launching to space from Florida’s WEST coast!)
13. Guard of Honor, by James Gould Cozzens (This novel won a Pulitzer Prize.)
14. Hoot, by Carl Hiassen (This is a young adult novel by Hiassen.)
15. Shadow Country, by Peter Matthiessen
16. At The Moon’s Inn, by Andrew Lytle (This novel adeptly explores De Soto’s ventures into Florida.)
17. Mile Zero, by Thomas Sanchez
18. Remembering Blue, by Connie May Fowler (This is a wonderful young adult book.)
19. Big Trouble, by Dave Barry (One of Barry’s many hilarious novels.)
20. Florida Roadkill, by Tim Dorsey (Again, one of many by Dorsey.)
There are lots of other books set in Florida, and if you love mysteries you can check out this list here. And here is another good list of many different genres, all still set in Florida.
And, for a final shameless plug about books set in Florida, you can always check out one of my other novels, Confessions of a Gator Cheerleader which you can get as an iPhone app, too.