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Powell's Q&A

Tim Dorsey

Describe your latest project.
Atomic Lobster is the dissection of a Florida neighborhood populated almost entirely by degenerates, con men, the terminally dysfunctional, golf freaks, trophy wives, and prescription-abusing retirees in Buicks tying up traffic. In other words, a documentary.

It all starts with mild-mannered Jim Davenport, who's just trying to raise a family and uphold the rules of civility. Society deems these qualities noble, and targets him for abuse and exploitation. Just when it seems like it can't get any worse, a revenge-obsessed inmate is released, setting his sights on Jim. Which can only mean one thing — they all end up on a cruise ship out of Tampa. Fortunately, Jim has an ally. Unfortunately, he's a serial killer. Did I mention they're on vacation?

  1. Atomic Lobster: A Novel
    $6.95 Used Hardcover add to wishlist
    "[T]his fast-moving, raucous tale delivers its usual punch while gleefully skewering everyone and everything along the way." Publishers Weekly
  2. Hurricane Punch
    $5.50 Used Mass Market add to wishlist

    Hurricane Punch

    Tim Dorsey
    "Scathing humor strips the pretense off its targets like a hurricane in bestseller Dorsey's rapid-fire ninth thriller." Publishers Weekly
Writers are better liars than other people: True or false? Why, or not?
False. I mean true. Sorry, I lied.

Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
Yes. I tracked down the last home of Jack Kerouac in St. Petersburg and collected a baggie of dirt from his yard. Then drove away fast.

True story: found his address in an old phone book in the bowels of the local library — and the directory actually spelled his name "Kerowac." I live for that kind of stuff.

What is your idea of absolute happiness?
This is it. I couldn't write a better job description: travel Florida wherever my curiosity leads me, talk to locals, venture down the most remote back roads. Then come home and weave all the cool things I found — historic, obscure, funky — into seemingly outrageous crime plots that are but thinly veiled reflections of what fills our newspapers down here every day. The books' satire also provides a cathartic vent to keep me sane in my home state, which I love too much to ever leave, while thinking I'm crazy for staying.

Who's wilder on tour, rock bands or authors?
Rock bands. The tours are tough enough as it is. If I tried to get wild on the road, I'd feel like Keith Richards after falling out of that palm tree.

If you could have been someone else, who would that be and why?
In Easy Rider, Peter Fonda was asked the same question, and he said, "I never wanted to be anyone else." So I guess my answer would be Peter Fonda.

Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?
Turtles. They don't play mind games.

In the For-All-Eternity category, what will be your final thought?
What just happened?

Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.

Five Novels That Will Take Readers on a Tour of Florida's Underbelly:

Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen

Ninety-Two in the Shade by Thomas McGuane

Under Cover of Daylight by James W. Hall

Miami Blues by Charles Willeford

A Good Day to Die by Jim Harrison

÷ ÷ ÷

Tim Dorsey was a reporter and editor for the Tampa Tribune from 1987 to 1999 and is the author of nine previous novels: Florida Roadkill, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, Orange Crush, Triggerfish Twist, The Stingray Shuffle, Cadillac Beach, Torpedo Juice, Hurricane Punch, and The Big Bamboo. He lives in Tampa, Florida. Check out the "Create a Video" contest on Tim's MySpace page.


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