Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Susanna Daniel

Stiltsville is a group of wood stilt houses located about a mile south of Cape Florida on Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Stiltsville is Susanna Daniel's first novel.

From Daniel's Q & A with The Reluctant Floridian:

I’m fas­ci­nated by Stiltsville logis­tics: Was there a lot of social­iz­ing between houses or did fam­i­lies stick to one place? Did you spend nights there or just go for the day?

We always went for at least one or two nights, and some­times came home early Mon­day in time for school. My fam­ily knew a lot of other Stiltsville fam­i­lies casu­ally, but for the most part we didn’t social­ize while we were out there. I think my par­ents con­sid­ered Stiltsville a place to be together as a fam­ily. Maybe once a week­end there was a party at another house and we’d watch the boats pull up, and we could hear the music. But we didn’t host big par­ties our­selves. But my friends were always invited to come with us to spend the week­end, and most week­ends we had one or two guests.

Is there any­thing left of your grandfather’s orig­i­nal stilt house?

Noth­ing. After Hur­ri­cane Andrew, there were still a few pil­ings, but there was no dock and no house. Now even the pil­ings have been removed.

Why did you decide to set your novel in the past, and par­tially at Stiltsville?
Miami has changed a lot in the years since I’ve lived there. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t set a novel in Miami in the year 2010, but I wanted to write about what it was like to live there in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s— dur­ing the years when Miami was really grow­ing into the city it is today. I wanted to write about the tumult and cri­sis and excite­ment of that period—this was the time of the Mariel boat lift and the McDuffie riots and the cocaine cow­boys, and of course Hur­ri­cane Andrew.

As for Stiltsville, I knew...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Susanna Daniel's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Stiltsville.

--Marshal Zeringue