Sunday, August 31, 2014

R. Mac Wheeler: Where I Live and Why I Like It

I've been following Mac for a couple of years now. He is both a prolific writer and prolific photographer. He's a fellow Floridian, though not a native Floridian as I am. I went to college in Tampa, so I know a smidgen about that area of the state, where he lives. Farther south than Jacksonville, the climate is a bit different, a bit more tropical, I'd say. And he takes full advantage of all the Gulf Coast has to offer.

1.      Geographical Information:
      Country: USA
      State or Province: Florida
      City or Town: Tampa
      District within City or Town: Seminole Heights

2.      Is there any place in your area that’s considered a pilgrimage site, such as a religious shrine? If so, have you been there?

Raymond James Stadium…home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I attended one game at the old Sombrero before they tore it down. But I like watching my games at home where the fridge is a few seconds away. We’re hoping Coach Lovie Smith can turn the Bucs around. Go Lovie!!

A good runner up would be Clearwater Beach. Definitely a pilgrimage site. Just see how the traffic backs up on the causeway.

3.      Is there a site that has special meaning for you?

Any place on the water…and Florida has lots of water. If you walk in a straight line for five minutes you’ll hit a river, swamp, lake, or bog. Come visit Florida WITH your camera with a spare battery. Bring bug spray if you aren’t going to hang on the beach.

4.      Is this where you were born and/or grew up? If not, how did you come to live here?

I’m from El Paso, Texas…a place I say is a great place to be from. Not to trash the old home town, but I don’t know what keeps people there. I returned for five months to help a family member in hospice, and between the heat and the dust storms….argh. I transferred to Tampa with GTE back in 1986 and have no plans to live anywhere else.

5.      What do you like best about where you live?

Paradise has something to do with it. Though the five hurricanes that came through in 2005 made me rethink my living here the rest of my life. But between the moderate climate, the parks, I can’t say you can beat the quality of life. No downhill skiing anywhere near, but with the way my blood has thinned since living down here, I doubt I’ll ever consider skiing again.

6.      Do you plan on living here the rest of your life?
You betcha

7.      Do you have family in the area, or have you ventured out on your own?

Not having family here was the hardest thing to adjust to. Harder on my wife. Doesn’t help she is a couch potato and hates to travel. Doesn’t get back to the Southwest much. So neither do I. (I do miss the open horizons and mountains.)

8.      Are you happy where you live?

You betcha. Gets a bit hot here July through September, so unless you get out on the water, you stay inside during that irksome stretch. (Spring last I ended up in the hospital dehydrated, ready to die. I carry a lot more water with me now.) But the other nine months are worth it. Going hiking in shorts and a golf shirt in January is nice. You’ll sweat even then. But sweating is healthy. (Carry water.)

9.      For tourists, what would you recommend seeing?

The tourist traps in Orlando, just an hour up I-4 from Tampa, are worth the trip by themselves. My wife and I had season tickets to Disney Word for a few years. Don’t get tired of the place. But there are county, state, and national parks every fifty feet in Florida. It is a sportsman’s paradise. Louisiana uses that tag, but it really belongs to Florida. We have a lot more than bayous. Did I mention beaches? There’s also Busch Gardens, the Amphitheater, Lowery Park, the Aquarium, cruise ships, Westshore Balustrade…. If you’re into any water sport, get your gig on.

10.   What do you do for entertainment where you live? Sporting events, theater, concerts, so on and so forth.

Were’ talking FLORIDA. Not just parks, but theater, symphony, Buccaneers, Rays, Bolts, Rowdies and Storm. Did I mention beaches? The water?

11.   If you’re a writer, have you included where you live in the settings of any of your stories? If you’re a painter, have you painted any of your area’s features?

Tampa is a key locale in all of my novels. The main characters are at least from Tampa, whether they’re scientists in a post-apocalyptic, a teen in a vampire or werewolf noir.  

12.  Would you recommend others to move to where you live? Why?

No!!! I don’t want anyone moving here. The area is expanding with too many people anyway. But bring your vacation dollars.

You can visit Mac at his website r mac wheeler and see his awesome lineup of books he's written and more photos than you can point a camera at..

Thanks for stopping by, Mac.

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