BEAVER CREEK — Both of Susanna Daniel’s novels, “Stiltsville” and “Sea Creatures,” are partially set at Stiltsville, a collection of wood homes perched on pilings one mile south of Cape Florida, in the middle of Biscayne Bay. The author grew up spending weekends at her family’s stilt house, which was built by her grandfather in 1954 and destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
In an interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Daniel said: “When I sold the (first) book, I checked to see if anyone had written much about Stiltsville and I was amazed no one had. Not even Carl Hiaasen or Les Standiford. In a lot of books, it’s used as a hideout or a brief fanciful setting but not as a real place where people live and breathe.”
“Stiltsville” was awarded the PEN/Bingham prize for best debut work published in 2010. The Publisher’s Weekly review said: “With its lush flora and constant sun, South Florida is the true star of Daniel’s exquisite debut, which follows a marriage over the course of 30 years.”
Daniel’s second novel, “Sea Creatures,” was named an Amazon Editors’ Top Pick of the Best Books of August, 2013. The Amazon review said “Susanna Daniel found inspiration for her second novel in the film ‘Sleepwalk with Me,’ comedian Mike Birbiglia’s story of a sleep disorder so profound that he jumped out a motel window and woke up as he hit the lawn, cut and bloody. She wondered what it would be like to be the wife — or the child — of someone whose sleeping body did things that had profound consequences in the waking world. She conveyed these imaginings into a tangled, tenderly believable love story set on Miami’s Biscayne Bay and surrounding canals. A story that spans the full experiential spectrum of romantic and parental love, artistic impulse, betrayal, sacrifice and redemption, ‘Sea Creatures’ satisfies on every level.”
Daniel is a co-founder, with author Michelle Wildgen, of the Madison Writers’ Studio. She is a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was a Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Her writing has been published in Newsweek, Slate, One Story, Epoch and elsewhere.
She lives with her husband and two young sons in Madison, Wisconsin, where during the long winter she “dreams of the sun and the sea, and of jumping off the stilt house porch at high tide.” She is at work on a third novel.
Daniel is among three writers scheduled to talk at this year’s Books in Bloom author event, hosted by the Eagle Valley Library District. Joining her will be John Searles (“Help for the Haunted”) and Karen Joy Fowler (“We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves”).
Books in Bloom will take place on May 17 at The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek from 2 to 5:30 pm.
Books in Bloom is a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the writer’s mind, chat with these bestselling authors and mingle with fellow book lovers. Each author presents individually and participates in a Q&A session. There will be hors d’ouevres and refreshments from Grouse Mountain Grill, a cash bar and books available for purchase. Tickets are $50 and are on sale now at The Bookworm of Edwards, the Avon Public Library, the Eagle Public Library and online at www.booksinbloom.cvlsites.org. Call the Avon Public Library for more information at 970-949-6797.