Summer Reads: Amelia Island Authors

July 15, 2022
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With 13 miles of pristine coastline, abundant nature, and a storied past full of pirates and gilded-age millionaires, it's no wonder authors and writers move here for inspiration. Some are Fernandina Beach natives, some are transplants, and some are part-timers but the one thing they can all agree on is Amelia Island is a great place to live, relax, write and get creative! Here are nine authors that #LoveAmelia. For a complete list of local writers, visit Amelia Island Writers

John Grisham - John Grisham is a household name in the literary world and an adopted local here on Amelia Island. He has written forty-seven consecutive #1 bestsellers, five of which have been made into hit movies, and is a two-time winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. Grisham divides his time between his home in Virginia and Amelia Island. Read a 2019 interview here for more insight and to find out how he ended up on our island.

David Baldacci - Like John Grisham, David Baldacci is also a literary giant and a part time Amelia Islander with his main home being in Virginia. While practicing law, he turned to novel writing, taking three years to write Absolute Power which published in 1996 and became an international best seller. To date, Baldacci has published forty best-selling novels for adults as well as seven novels for younger readers.

E Louise Jaques - Louise Jaques' first published novel, Dreams of Amelia, is a romantic story about reincarnation and was inspired by her time on our beautiful island. She has since published other novels where Amelia Island was inspirational including Splitters and Her Tuscan Sister. Jaques and her husband split their time between St. Louis and Amelia Island. 

Nancy Blanton - Nancy Blanton is an award-winning author of four historical novels set in 17th century Ireland. She is a Florida native with deep Irish roots that inspired her love of the Emerald Coast about which most of her books are written. She is co-founder of Amelia Indie Authors, and is a past board member of our own Amelia Island Book Festival (see below).

Gerhardt Thamm - Gerhardt Thamm has led an amazing life and his books Boy Soldier and The Making of a Spy are the stuff movies are made of. The difference is... he lived them. At just 14 years of age in his homeland of Germany, Thamm fought alongside the German army during WWII. He now lives a quiet life (rightfully so) in Fernandina Beach after serving more than 38 years in intelligence and security.

M.S. Spencer - M.S. Spencer divides her time between Maine and Florida that ironically both work their way into the majority of her books. She has published fifteen best-sellers in the murder mystery romance genre. Her novel, Flotsam & Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair, is a fictional suspense/mystery inspired by the storied history of Amelia Island. Get ready to recognize many local places in this book. A great beach read!

Jane Marie Malcolm - Jane Malcom, or Gracious Jane Marie as she's also known, has lived and worked on Amelia Island for many years. Her "The Goodbye Lie" historical romance/suspense series is set right here on Amelia Island in the late 1800s where you can "Trail the deeds and misdeeds of each of the grown siblings in this Irish-American family saga in America's deep South."

Marsha Dean Phelts - Marsha Phelts is a full time resident of American Beach and wrote her first novel in 1997 about American Beach called, An American Beach for African Americans. She has since written The American Beach Cookbook, and the 75th Anniversary Edition of The American Beach Book of Homes as well as several other books. 

Dickie Anderson - Dickie Anderson is a free-lance author, columnist and artist who has lived on Amelia Island for more than twenty years. Her "From the Porch" books are a special collection of stories about life in a small island town and make a great gift for friends and loved ones. She has also written Meet Me on Amelia Island which not only provides an Amelia Island history lesson but has delicious island receipes, too! 

If you love books and reading as much as I do I encourage you to check out the Amelia Island Book Festival that "engages adults and young people in the joy of reading and writing through a series of public events featuring New York Times best-selling authors, independent publishers and authors, awards programs and workshops." I also encourage you to visit a couple of our favorite bookstores - STORY & SONG BOOKSTORE BISTRO has an eclectic variety of books as well as local art, greeting cards & stationery, weekly events and a delicious bistro serving brunch and lunch while THE BOOK LOFT in historic downtown, provides a vast array of books on every subject including Amelia Island and its pirate history as well as an upstairs loft with a wide variety of older hardback books.

All that being said, grab your favorite novel and a beach chair. It's time to get lost in a book! #bookstagram

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Located just off the coast of northeast Florida, Amelia Island is easy to reach, but hard to forget. With 13 miles of beautiful beaches, abundant native wildlife, and pristine waters, this barrier island has long been a beloved destination for visitors and residents alike.