Miami is known for its steamy weather, championship basketball team and, the week of November 11th, the city will be known for books lots of books.
Downtown Miami will be flooded with prolific authors and voracious readers Nov. 11th - 18th, when the Miami Book Fair International comes to town for the 29th year.
Though Miami Dade College has herded in authors from far and wide, some notable presenters hail from much closer to the fairs home.
Miamis mystery, flavor and beauty have inspired local authors such as James Grippando, who spins legal thrillers from the lush backyard of his Coral Gables home; Bunny Yeager, whos sizzling pin-up girl photos captured not only breathtaking girls but also stunning Miami beaches; Raquel Roque, who has preserved Miamis Latin recipes in two cookbooks; and Larry Perez, who feels at home in Floridas wild Everglades.
Heres a look at each of these Miami authors.
Jack Swyteck is a Miami criminal defense attorney who graduated from Coral Gables High and practices in Coconut Grove. His goal: getting people off of murder raps while trying to find love.
Hes the main character in Coral Gables author James Grippandos legal thriller series, in which Miamis real-life beauty and connection to crimes both strange and heinous serve as a backdrop.
Theres no shortage of material to pull from when living in the Sunshine State, Grippando said.
The kind of books I like to write could only be set in Florida, he said, calling South Florida an idea capital for authors.
Not only does Florida have a sort of sexy side to it, but it has that connection it seems to just about every major crime or disaster that hits this country, he said.
Grippando has written 20 novels in his 18-year career, but he didnt set out to become an author. In 1985, Grippando was a young lawyer at a prestigious Miami law firm, but always had dreams of becoming a writer, he said.
Grippando, 54, was practicing law at a time when crime in Miami was at its highest and cocaine cowboys ruled. Along came shows like Miami Vice and, either arrogantly or naively I said, I can do that, and I took a shot.
He still practices law when a case piques his interest, but now Grippandos lush backyard serves as his office. His Golden Retriever, Max, is always close by. Grippando lives near Matheson Hammock Park with his wife and their three children.
Grippando will be on a panel of authors, presenting at 11 a.m. on Nov 17, in room 8302. Hell be alongside Jeffrey Siger (Target Tinos: An Inspector Kaldis Mystery) and Sharon Potts (The Devils Madonna.)
Miami in the 1950s provided no shortage of pretty ladies and beautiful backdrops for Bunny Yeager to photograph. Both helped her get her nude photos into mens magazines around the country and was the only woman of her time to do so.
When I submitted my pictures, I had to submit them to people in New York and Chicago, and they had not seen the scenes that I had in my pictures, she remembered. They just loved the backgrounds that I had. It put me in demand immediately. And all my pictures were in focus and the girls were all gorgeous.
Now, her photos are on display again, some which have never been seen before, in the book Bunny Yeagers darkroom: Pinup photographys golden era, penned and culled by Petra Mason.