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'Sanibel Sunset Detective' author draws inspiration from his own mistakes

November 27, 2013
Special to the Islander (sancapnews@breezenewspapers.com) , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

When it comes to writing his Sanibel Sunset Detective novels, author Ron Base is willing to make use of just about anything-including his own ineptitude.

Base is the author of three novels set on Sanibel Island featuring an unlikely private detective named Tree Callister.

"Everyone thinks Tree is crazy to be a detective on an island where nothing ever happens," Base explained. "But of course, plenty happens to Tree."

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Thanks to Tree's ability to get himself into trouble, the first three books in the series have become local bestsellers. Now in the fourth novel, The Two Sanibel Sunset Detectives, Tree is back and in the sort of trouble with which his creator can certainly identify-in fact many of Tree's shortcomings are drawn from Base's own life.

For example, in the new book, Tree participates in the annual spoof of the Academy Awards that takes place at the BIG ARTS Center. In fact, there is an Oscar spoof put at the BIG ARTS Center, and earlier this year, Base was persuaded to participate in it.

In the book, Tree, full of misplaced confidence, starts to believe he should have become an actor, that he wasted his time pursuing a career first as a Chicago newspaper reporter and then as a private detective. The night of the awards, Tree gets up on stage, faces his audience-and freezes. His mind goes blank. He can't think of a thing to say.

Fact Box

Annette's Book Nook, 7205 Ester Blvd. Fort Myers

Monday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m.

Lighthouse Restaurant, 14301Port Comfort Rd. Fort Myers

Thursday, Dec. 5, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Macintosh Books and Paper, 2407 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island

Friday, Dec. 6 from 5 p.m.

Royal Shell Vacations, Luminary, Captiva Island

Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2 p.m.

Bailey's General Store, 2477 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island

Sunday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m.

Bailey's General Store, 2477 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island

Friday, Dec. 13, from 10 a.m.

Sanibel Island Bookshop, 1571 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island

Saturday, Dec. 14, from 11 a.m.

"Much the same thing happened to me, I'm ashamed to say," Base reported. "I had memorized a short poem I was to recite as I received my award for best actor. I was certain, as is Tree, the speech would knock the audience dead. Everyone would be rolling in the aisles with laughter.

"I came up on stage, faced the audience, started to recite my speech, and then blanked. I stood there staring at the audience unable to say anything. I made a hasty exit and have felt like a complete fool ever since. However, it makes a great scene in the novel," he said

Base concedes that he and Tree are very much alike.

"We are both of, ahem, a certain age, we are both happily married, and we both arrived at our sixties uncertain of who we are and what we are going to do with the rest of our lives," he said.

Tree decided to become a private detective while I became the author of the Sanibel Sunset Detective novels. Tree's life changed dramatically, and so did mine-except no one is trying to kill me, and I have yet to encounter a dead body on Sanibel Island."

The Two Sanibel Sunset Detectives features more of the page-turning suspense readers have come to love. In the new novel, two kids are desperate to find their father and enlist Tree's help. The police think Tree stole nine million dollars, and there is a diminutive nasty named Paola who doesn't mind killing anyone who gets in her way-and that includes Tree.

"I can't tell you what a thrill it's been as readers have embraced and enjoyed the books," Base said. 'I've been a writer all my life, but I've never had as much response to anything I've written as I've had to these novels."

For the next two weeks, Base will be appearing around Sanibel Island and Fort Myers promoting The Two Sanibel Sunset Detectives. Check out The Sanibel Sunset Detective website at ronbase.com for further appearances.

 
 

 

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