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  1. Books

What's Steph Post reading?


Steph Post

Post, 35, grew up until the age of 10 across the street from St. Augustine's famed Alligator Farm. Then her family moved to rural St. John's County. "I was fascinated with that part of Florida. Everything about that rural lifestyle permeates my writing now,'' she said. "The family seems to be so important, and sometimes people's backgrounds are questionable, and it's about that feeling of being tied to the land.''

Post, who holds a degree in English from Davidson College and a master's in liberal studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, lives in St. Petersburg. She will be a featured author at this year's Times Festival of Reading, where she will discuss her recent book, Lightwood. The novel is set in the fictional town of Silas, a 20-mile walk from the Florida State Prison in Starke.

What's on your nightstand?

For my new book I'm doing research on the 1890s. It is a completely different genre for me. It takes place in 1894. So for that I have Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury. It is what Daniel Day Lewis' movie was based on. I also just read Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties. It is an advance copy, but it is getting a lot of buzz.

Did something about it grab you?

Her writing is haunting. It's not always easy to get into short story collections. I'm much more a reader of novels, but from her first story it was all very visceral. And then, there is another book that I'm looking forward to reading, Wiley Cash's new book, The Last Ballad. It comes out in October. Anything Wiley Cash writes I want to read.

What should first-timers of Cash check out?

A Land More Kind Than Home. It is jaw-dropping and Southern.

How did you pick Asbury's book?

I'm actually surprised I'm reading it. I was restructuring something and working on a new character that I knew would be from America, and like most of my characters, this one was borderline criminal. The location for what I was working on needed to be on the eastern seaboard. Honestly, It seems that when I write, I naturally gravitate to film for inspiration, and because I'm kind of obsessed with Daniel Day Lewis, I thought of the movie and discovered there was an actual book.

Contact Piper Castillo at Follow @Florida_PBJC.