When I travel, particularly overseas, I find that people love to hear Florida stories. They are amazed that yes, many of us Floridians do have orange and grapefruit trees growing RIGHT IN OUR OWN YARDS! And yes, the state is home to more than two million alligators, which aren’t that hard to find and often come calling. And yes, they do occasionally eat people, dogs, and anything else that ventures too close to the water.
Stories less often told involve sturgeon. I was trying to remember the name of this fish on our cruise, and a story in today’s paper reminded me. Sturgeon. They are big, prehistoric-looking fish that can grow to over 200 pounds (that’s the weight of one of my dogs!), and they have this inexplicable tendency to leap out of the water. Trouble is, they often leap into boats and hit people, and some have died as a result.
For instance, just this past weekend, a leaping sturgeon jumped out of the water and struck a woman in a boat. Tara Spears, 32, was knocked unconscious but was not seriously injured. In 2006, eight people were injured by sturgeon on various rivers (these are fresh water fish).
Last year, I think it was, a man’s heart was pierced by a barb on one of these monster fish, and he had to ride with his grandchildren back to shore.
Maybe I should set all of my books in Florida. There are enough incredible stories around here to make anyone’s fiction interesting–and they’re true!
P.S. Speaking of Florida stories . . . I have just signed some paperwork that puts THE ELEVATOR well on its way to becoming a LIFETIME TV MOVIE! Pretty cool, huh?