Murder & Rivers
Elizabeth Randall Interview
I had the pleasure to interview Elizabeth (Liz) Randall about her upcoming book “The Ocklawaha River Odyssey” and another title that is dear to my heart, “Murder in St. Augustine.”
Elizabeth Randall is the author of many fine books, including: Murder in St. Augustine, Haunted St. Augustine and St. Johns County, The Floating Teacher: A Guide to Surviving and Thriving and soon-to-be released: The Ocklawaha River Odyssey
Please tell us about your upcoming title and when and where it will be available?
The History Press is publishing it in the spring (fingers crossed). It should be available from the publisher’s catalog, Amazon, and local Barnes and Noble bookstores.
Why did you choose to tell this story?
Primarily to clear the name of the murder victim who was vilified before and after her demise.
How did you research the book?
I had a tight deadline and I work full time as a teacher. So I spent a lot of my summer in St. Augustine and also traveled to South Carolina and Massachusetts for additional research. I interviewed local people and the officials who were still alive. The St. Johns County Sheriffs Department supplied 1000 pages of documentation. I got former commission meetings on CD. There were, however, no court transcripts. Rumor has it that someone took them.
What drew you to the compelling story for Murder in St. Augustine?
My first book about St. Augustine, Haunted St. Augustine and St. Johns County, had a chapter in it about the murder. During book talks, that was all anyone wanted to talk about. I thought there might be a book there.
How did you first learn about the crime?
When I read Powell and Mast’s book: Bloody Sunset, a somewhat fictionalized version of the crime.
Why did you choose to tell this true crime story?
My grandfather was the former editor of the New York Daily Mirror and he wrote about true life murders for detective magazines. So you could say I am keeping the family tradition alive in my own way.
Describe your current work?
I escaped into nature after writing a true crime story and spent two years kayaking, writing, and photographing the lower Ocklawaha River.
Which writers inspire / inspired you?
Hunter Thompson, Thomas McGuane, David Foster Wallace, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Laura Lee Smith, Carson Mccullers, Harper Lee.
Why do you write?
I like the organic process of formulating language.
What are your common themes?
I am a political person. Most of my themes involve justice for someone or something.
How often do you write and where?
I write every day although not for as long as I’d like since I work full time as a teacher. I have an office, but sometimes I just sit in a chair with my laptop. I take notes on my phone.
Thank you, Liz.
I’m looking forward to reading The Ocklawaha River Odyssey.
All the best,
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