ENGLEWOOD — New York Times best-selling author Tim Dorsey was scheduled to make multiple appearances in Charlotte County today and Tuesday — at least that was the plan before Isaac catapulted into the Gulf.
Dorsey was scheduled to do a book signing and discussion at 6 p.m. today at the Mid-County Regional Library; however, the library is closed due to the storm. He also has three appearances scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Port Charlotte Library; 3:30 p.m. at the Punta Gorda Public Library and 6 p.m. at the Tringali Community Center in Englewood.
Dorsey is a former Tampa Tribune editor with an Englewood connection — he wrote his first news story here.
“It was about a weird collection — a plaguesized collection — of vultures that gathered in Englewood,” Dorsey said in a previous Sun report.
Fast forward a decade or so, and Dorsey is now on tour promoting his 15th novel.
“I’ve been down to Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte before,” Dorsey said. “It’s a beautiful and unspoiled area down the coast from Tampa and all the economic stuff going on. I used to take the Tamiami Trail down.”
Dorsey’s latest novel, “Pineapple Grenade,” follows the main character, Serge Storms, as he goes to Miami to try to pass himself off as a spy.
“He’s obsessive and very enthusiastic about everything,” Dorsey said. “He gets on these tangents. He gets one (in my book) where he wants to be a spy so he gets down to Miami because it has all that rich spy history dating back to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Castro. So that allows me to get a hold of all that history.”
Dorsey’s attention to detail, offbeat humor and love of Florida are common themes within his novels.
“It’s a chance for fans of Tim and readers to connect with one of their favorite Florida authors,” said Bill MacDonald, reference librarian at Mid-County Regional Library in Port Charlotte. “It’s also exciting for someone kind of carrying on the tradition of John D. MacDonald and Carl Hiaasen in really featuring Florida and making it stand out from the other states.”
Dorsey credits his time with the Tampa Tribune as an invaluable experience as a writer.
“Well, frankly, I couldn’t have done those books without that,” Dorsey said. “I got into newspapers to hone in on my writing abilities. It was also my dream and in the meantime, working with publishers and for the paper, I built up a reservoir of material.”
Dorsey remembers one particular assignment when his beat was covering the Sarasota area.
“ I remember covering some major brush fires down in northern Charlotte County,” Dorsey said. “I was driving around and I was like ‘Should I be out here on these roads?’ There’s like fire coming out to one side. You couldn’t tell which way it was coming from. There were literally houses where the firemen (were spraying) with hoses and you can see where the fire burned all the way around them.”
Dorsey found himself nearly consumed by fire and the smoke.
“Whenever the wind would change, visibility would change,” he continued. “The one stance I had was kind of a perilous, driving zig-zag on these roads to avoid the fire and the smoke.”
Dorsey observes how much Florida has changed — especially Southwest Florida.
“When I fly to Miami from Tampa, the planes tend to follow I-75. I could look out the window and what blows my mind is that there’s your golf course under construction all the way down on both sides of the highway.”
Copyright 2012 Sun Newspapers