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‘Miraculum’ creates a dark carnival

Author Steph Post took a break from writing a crime fiction trilogy to dive into a fantasy world.
Steph Post, the author of "Miraculum," lives near Brooksville. [ALICE HERDEN  |  Special to the Times (2018)]
Steph Post, the author of "Miraculum," lives near Brooksville. [ALICE HERDEN | Special to the Times (2018)]
Published Nov. 6, 2019

Pontilliar’s Spectacular Star Light Miraculum is a traveling carnival with a cast of characters that includes an alligator lady, a man who snaps chickens’ necks and a tattooed snake charmer. It’s all coming to the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading via Steph Post’s latest novel, Miraculum.

Post, a Florida native who lives outside of Brooksville with her husband and a collection of dogs and chickens, is a festival favorite returning to the event. She will also discuss her next book, Holding Smoke, the final installment of her Judah Cannon crime fiction trilogy, to be published in January.

Although she is sad to see that series end, Post, 37, admits it was time: “In many ways, I feel like I’ve grown up as a writer with those books. When I started the series, I felt like it was going to be a trilogy, and so I am ready to put them to bed."

Where did the idea for Miraculum originate?

It was a departure for me. It is set in the 1920s. I actually wrote it three years ago, between my other books. I realized I love to go back and forth with genres. Miraculum really came from a place about 10 years ago when I first saw Carnivale on HBO. That cable series, the first I saw from beginning to end, just sparked something in me. I knew I was going to write a carnival novel.

Can you describe how you wrote it? Your imagery is powerful and wild.

My studio looks like a serial killer lives there, actually. I have notes around me all the time. Miraculum is kind of a strange narrative. It has flashbacks and monologues, but the writing I did was in order. Of course, in revision some pieces get moved around, I’m sure. But the story always is done straight through.

What books have you been reading?

I’m usually reading six or seven books at once, and I read in different places around the house. I’m reading (Times staff writer) Craig Pittman’s upcoming book Cat Tales. Everything he writes is incredible, and this one is fascinating.

What is most fascinating?

The book is about saving the Florida panther. One thing I didn’t realize was the fact that the numbers of the cats in the wild got down to about five males and one female. It’s fascinating to think about that one female panther, and her responsibility for the (species).

The book jacket of "Miraculum." [Polis Books]


By Steph Post

Polis Books, 320 pages, $26

Times Festival of Reading

Steph Post will speak at 1:15 p.m. Nov. 9 in Davis Hall Room 130 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 140 Seventh Ave. S. Free.


  1. Louise Erdrich's new novel is "The Night Watchman." [Hilary Abe]
  2. Erica Dawson is one of the featured authors at the Tampa Bay Publishing Conference, which will kick off in Largo on Feb. 27. [Courtesy of Kevin Kelii]
  3. Emilia Sargent of Tampa Repertory Theatre. [Tampa Repertory Theatre]
  4. In 1935, Zora Neale Hurston visited Eatonville, where she grew up. The Florida town is the setting of some of the stories in "Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick." [Library of Congress]
  5. Four-time Latin Grammy winner Alex Cuba will play the Jaeb Theater at Tampa's Straz Center on June 5. [Straz Center for Performing Arts]
  6. Titus Welliver, left, plays Los Angeles detective Harry Bosch in the Amazon series "Bosch," based on the series of books by Michael Connelly, right. [GENARO MOLINA  |  Los Angeles Times]
  7. Members of the Legislative Investigation Committee, also known as the Johns Committee, in 1963. [Times (1963)]
  8. Randy Wayne White, author of the new novel "Salt River." [Courtesy of Brian Tietz]
  9. Julie Orringer is the author of 'The Flight Portfolio.' [Brigitte Lacombe]
  10. Peter Meinke, 87, has lived for 50 years in a home in the Driftwood neighborhood of St. Petersburg. "Sometimes on planes, I tell people I'm a gardener. It's easier than saying I'm a poet and having to explain it." [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  11. "Birds of Prey" stars Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. [Claudette Barius/DC Comics]
  12. Randy Wayne White's new novel is "Salt River." [Courtesy of Brian Tietz]