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Book 'Em: Debra Dean

Bienvenidos a Miami, Debra.
Bienvenidos a Miami, Debra.

None of the short stories in Debra Dean’s first book of short stories, Confessions of a Falling Woman, are based in Miami. Now that the award-winning author resides in Miami (she’s a prof at the University of Miami), however, we’re thinking it won’t be long.

One word to describe your first impression of Miami: Steamy. For the first month, if I was outside for 15 minutes, I had to take a nap. It was like I’d been pole axed.

Favorite Miami icon: Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan IS Miami to me. What other city can boast a book guru who looks like a movie star?

Your last meal would be what and where: The Nova Platter at Bagel Emporium. Or maybe the amazing French onion soup at Les Halles. Or maybe the chocolate and chicken stuffed ravioli at Chocolate. I have the habit of eating every meal like it’s my last.

Favorite Spanish phrase: My Spanish is still so pathetic, it would probably have to be no hablo espanol.

Miami wouldn’t be Miami without: All the incredible boobs.

Miami really needs a: better public transportation system. We actually took a cab to the Everglades.

Best quintessential "Miami" moment: Standing at the front the Biltmore on Christmas Eve and listening to the Christmas music coming out of the [Coral Gables] Congregational Church. The luminarias were glowing like fireflies, the horns were playing "We Three Kings," and the moon was suspended perfectly between two palm trees.

Biggest difference between Miami and Seattle (where she’s from): People in Seattle are more polite (think Nordstrom), but the people here are warmer and more open. After a month here, we knew our neighbors here better than the ones we had in Seattle for years.

Favorite neighborhood: The neighborhood in Coral Gables where we live – all the banyan trees and live oaks.

Biggest pet peeve about the city: I’m still in the honeymoon phase, so my pet peeves are few. Okay, the lettuce here leaves something to be desired.

What fascinates you most about the city: The critters. I still can’t get over the little lizards in our stairwell and the Macaws who land in the palms outside and start popping open coconuts – they’re like a bunch of raucous frat boys drinking beer and dropping the empties on the driveway.

Debra Dean reads 8 p.m., Feb. 11, at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables (305-442-4408). For more info on Dean, visit