Click the arrow above to play the full conversation between George Fleming and St. Pete Catalyst Publisher Joe Hamilton.
St. Petersburg Press published author George Fleming’s first book -the thriller Bad Habits – in August. Fleming, who grew up in Clearwater, is a former journalist and a longtime college-level writing instructor. While Fleming has been reading and teaching about literature for much of his life, he found himself entranced by thriller novels.
Authors like John LeCarre, Don Winslow and Dennis Lehane gave Fleming the notion that he too might have a talent for storytelling. That notion, along with a disciplined writing practice, has sent him on the trajectory to write 20 novels in 20 years, each part of a series he calls Tampa Bay Tropics. To accomplish the goal, Fleming writes every single day for a few hours in the morning and a few hours at night.
“I wanted to write a saga, I thought 20 books sounded kind of nice and not too ambitious,” said Fleming. “And I wanted to in the course of this series to establish not only the main characters and chart their lives as they go forward with their adventures, but also to create a sense of place. That place is Tampa Bay.”
Fleming believes that Florida, and particularly Tampa Bay, makes for the perfect thriller setting. “What’s that saying?” he mused. “‘Florida is a sunny place for shady people?’ I wanted to capture not only a sense of place for Tampa Bay, but also that there’s some fascinating drama that goes on here. Tampa Bay is so international, there are so many interesting stories. So I’ve tired to capture that in Bad Habits.”
Bad Habits is fiction, but a number of characters are based on real people, including the main characters, the heroine Reed O’Hara and her husband Jake Dupree. Fleming based the duo on his wife Linda Fleming and himself – while taking some liberties. Fleming also includes three real-life characters like Judy Ploznik, former CEO of Tampa General Hospital.
Fleming’s next book, Don Coyote, is currently in the works. Listen to the audio interview to hear about how Fleming’s writing process has changed, and why Linda Fleming decided not to edit Don Coyote.
Find Bad Habits on Amazon here.
Note: St. Petersburg Press is a division of the St. Petersburg Group, which owns St. Pete Catalyst.