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Popular Sanibel writer returns with a new Doc Ford novel

By Staff | Mar 25, 2015

Randy Wayne White has release “Cuba Straits.” PHOTO PROVIDED

Sanibel writer Randy Wayne White is back. This time he’s writing about Cuba, baseball, intrigue, the fictional characters and fun writing style his readers have embraced for decades. His book signings typically attract big crowds, many punctuated with reverential fans pausing to praise, to shout questions during his opening remarks. There’s no question a celebrity has entered the building when White shows for his signing events.

His new book “Cuba Straits” was officially released last week with a promotional tour that started in Sanibel March 22. It is the 22nd book in the Doc Ford series that dates to 1990 with the release of “Sanibel Flats.” He was first published as a novelist in the 1980s under the pen name of Carl Ramm. He has written million of words for trade publications, fiction, non-fiction and newspapers, covering travel and politics, the world’s history and archaeology. He also lectures. He’s packed an awful lot of living into 64 years.

White in his annual spring tour will range the country through late April, allowing a rare break from his seven-day-per week writing schedule, he said. White will have been in Sanibel for a couple of signings, but returns to the area April 17 at the Ft. Myers Beach Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, and in Captiva April 22 at the new Doc Ford’s.

In his newest novel, according to a press release: Doc Ford’s old friend, General Juan Garcia, has gone into the lucrative business of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the U.S. He is also feasting on profits made by buying historical treasures for pennies on the dollar. He prefers what dealers call HPC items-high-profile collectibles-but when he manages to obtain a collection of letters written by Fidel Castro between 1960-62 to a secret girlfriend, it’s not a matter of money anymore. Garcia has stumbled way out of his depth. First Garcia disappears, and then the man to whom he sold the letters. When Doc Ford begins to investigate, he soon becomes convinced that those letters contain a secret that someone, or some powerful agency, cannot allow to be made public. A lot happened between Cuba and the United States from 1960-62. Many men died. A few more will hardly be noticed.

While these details are courtesy of his publisher, White did share his writing that appears so effortless is really the byproduct of hard work, of sitting at his laptop starting at 6 a.m. and pounding away for months, often agonizing “over every single word,” he said.

Sanibel’s Randy Wayne White at a book signing at the Doc Ford’s where he often writes on a laptop. CRAIG GARRETT

He tucks himself into a booth at one of the Doc Ford’s restaurants named in honor of his chief fictional character, “Doc” Marion Ford, during the writing process. He shuffles off when the stores begin readying for the day. He reads profusely to background and fill the well, mostly nonfiction stuff, he said.

Interestingly, White shared that higher education isn’t necessarily the answer for everyone, certainly not for those in the arts.

“One does not have to go to college if one is an excellent reader,” he said.

White also shared that “Cuba Straits” was important because of his admiration for Cubans. He has several times visited the island nation just off Florida’s coast. He quelled the rumor that he had met with Cuban president Fidel Castro.

“We know so little about these people just 210 miles away from Sanibel,” he said.

Details on Mr. White’s work and life are at randywaynewhite.com.