Meet the Author


 

I was born in Albany, Georgia and grew up a child of the south. We moved around a lot. I spent a few elementary and middle school years in Apopka, Florida. We lived in an area that was surrounded by hundreds of acres of woods and thousands of acres of orange groves. It was, to an eleven-year-old boy, like living in the Florida wilderness.

I remember being woken up one night by a panther that was screaming under my window at our dogs. Pretty cool if you are an adventurous boy. I raised gopher tortoises in a homemade turtle farm. At the height of my gopher ranching days, I probably had a dozen who shared the pen. I hand fed them tomato slices until my mother started inquiring where the tomatoes were going. My days of wandering the woods and groves of Central Florida left an indelible impression on me. It also bolstered the strong sense of independence that I developed.

I spent most summers with my grandparents in Panama City, Florida. They lived one block from the St. Andrews docks. I would leave the house after breakfast and return for supper in the evening. I roamed the docks, fished and crabbed all day. Some of my fondest memories of my youth go back to the day when Capt. Davis’ Queen Fleet of fishing boats were full of tourists and returned with all those exotic fish hung up on display. You can be sure I was there, a knotheaded kid smiling and telling the sunburned tourists “Wow! Those are great fish!” As often as not, if they only had a few, they would give them to me. Off I would go…to sell them at the fish market.

The smell of the tar was thick around these docks. The owners of the shrimp boats would treat their nets in giant vats of tar. The shrimpers and commercial fishermen were a scary lot to me and I always gave them wide berth.

I remember wading around and catching enough crabs to fill a wash bucket eight inches deep in the little blue-legged buggers. They, like the fish, ended up at the fish market. I was a regular at the fish market, pocketing what to me seemed like a small fortune.

The St. Andrews docks of my youth are long gone, replaced by a renovated marina with a resort-like feel and the smell of BMWs in the air. Another piece of old Florida gone.

Later in life, I would take a production job for a hook and bullet magazine. I was the guy who laid out the magazine. I asked the publisher if I could write some articles. He promptly said “No way” and banished me back to the production room. I left the magazine and went on to do some freelance writing for several magazines including Latitudes and Attitudes, Georgia Outdoor News and Outdoor Adventures.

My wife and I accidently developed a love for sailing. We made four trips to the Bahamas on our boat. I was commodore of this ragtag band of sailing miscreants, the Conch Cruisers. It is a collection of some of the finest people I know and I am proud to call them friends.

I started reading books by Florida authors. Those that I most enjoy include Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, John D. MacDonald, Lawrence Shames, Elmore Leonard, James W. Hall and Randy Wayne White. I knew almost immediately where my writing interests were. The love of a gonzo style of writing coupled with my experiences growing up in Florida produced this first book, The Conch Killers.

My travels have taken me far and wide. From the jungles of South America to the forests of Europe, to the arid lands of the Middle East and across the Gulf Stream, I developed into an independent soul. My wonderful wife, Kelly, and I spend as much time in Key West as our careers in education allow. It is our second home, no doubt. I hope you enjoy my book as much as I enjoyed writing it. 

Chip

 

 

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