In 1978, my wife and I along with our two boys, moved from our hometown in Northwest Florida to Miami so I could take on the job of VP, Production at a television production facility. Seven years later in 1985, we bought our current home in Coral Springs, about 35 miles north of Miami. Here we raised our sons and watched them go on to become successful, handsome men. During our 27 years in this house, we also saw dozens of our neighbors’ children grow up and move on. Most of the parents eventually did, too. All good friends. All gone to someplace else now.
I wrote my first novel in a corner of our living room over a 3-year stretch, getting up before dawn and quietly typing away until it was time to shower and head off to the day job. I’ve written 6 more novels out of this house.
We’ve seen hurricanes and tornados come and go—watched huge trees fall over in what seemed like slow motion but were taken out by 100 mph winds.
We’ve swam a thousand times in our pool, many times with a margarita in hand and friends beside us as the BBQ smoke filled the air.
We’ve had Halloween parties on our front lawn while we showed spooky movies to a couple dozen kids on a 6-foot TV.
We’ve watched life end and life begin on this street—laughed and cried more than most people. We’ve been warmed by the Florida sun way more than chilled by the north wind. And more times than I can remember, we’ve said that we lived in paradise.
Three weeks ago, we sold our beloved home and are packing to move. My wife is retiring from teaching after years of devoting her life to children. I retired from my day job a number of years ago to write full time. So now we are moving north. Northwest Florida, that is. Back to our hometown and our roots where so many of our family members live. Back to a place that’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Where the beaches are whiter than sugar, the leaves turn colors in the fall, and the seafood is so fresh it slept in the Gulf last night.
Our new home is on the Blackwater River with a 100-foot pier that offers a perfect place to sip wine and stare across the water every evening until the only sounds are the breeze through the pines and an occasional mullet jumping.
My WiFi will reach to the end of the dock, and that’s where I’ll be everyday with my laptop writing my next thriller. If you’re ever in the area, come join us for a glass of red wine and a killer view.