Randy Wayne White was born in 1950 and is alive and well and living in Sanibel, Florida not far from his second home on Pine Island. Many of his novels feature the adventurous Doc Ford, a marine biologist with a mysterious military past who lives on Sanibel Island.
He has become one of the best known Florida authors, is well known by many of his Southwest Florida neighbors, and is involved in many community organizations.
He is also active with Doc Ford's Sanibel Rum Bar & Grill on Sanibel Island, and another in Fort Myers Beach.
Mr. White was a fishing guide for 13 years, operating out of the Tarpon Bay Marina on Sanibel Island.
I have always assumed that Randy Wayne White was a fan of the late John D. MacDonald and his fictional hero, Travis McGee.
When MacDonald died in 1986, maybe Mr. White mourned the loss like many other fans. Unlike the other fans, however, he did something about it.
He "discovered" Doc Ford and began to write about him and his adventures. Randy's first Doc Ford novel was published in 1990.
Doc is a marine biologist with a murky background. He used to be a CIA special operative or a Navy Seal or both. He tries to live a quiet life at Dinkins Pass Marina in his combination stilt house and marine laboratory.
His aging hippie friend Tomlinson lives in an anchored sailboat not far from Doc's place.
Circumstances always intervene and lead Doc into harrowing adventures. His former government spook activities always serve him well.
Although Tomlinson is stoned most of the time, in his more lucid moments he assists Doc on these adventures.
It might have appeared to the reading world that White just showed up out of nowhere with his Doc Ford series. Actually, he made his bones the hard way, writing many novels under assumed names (Randy Striker, Carl Ramm), while working full time as a fishing guide.
He also wrote a lot of non-fiction travel and fishing guides.
White is a true adventurer in the mold of Ernest Hemingway and Jack London. He is a world traveler and has done a lot of exciting things.
He has dog sledded in Alaska, helped re-introduce little league baseball in Castro's Cuba, and used his boat to carry Cuban refugees to safety during the Mariel boatlift.
ABOUT RANDY WAYNE WHITE FLORIDA BOOKS
Randy Wayne White is a prolific writer. He wrote 18 fiction novels under pen names before finding Doc Ford. Many of these have Florida settings.
In 1990 he began writing the Doc Ford series, all set in Florida.
Among the many awards he has won for his fiction is the "John D. MacDonald Award for Literary Excellence".
He has also written dozens of non-fiction books.
Here is a listing of some of Randy's works:
Fiction by "Randy Striker"
Fiction by "Carl Ramm"
Doc Ford Novels
Randy has also created a new character, Hannah Smith, a strong woman with deep Florida roots who works as a fishing guide and helps people solve problems. He has written one book about Hannah, and his fans are hoping many more are coming.
Hannah Smith Novels
Randy Wayne White has also written dozens of non-fiction books, including "Batfishing In The Rainforest", "The Sharks Of Lake Nicaragua", and many others. Of all Florida authors, he is certainly one of the most versatile.
More information is available at his website Randy Wayne White.
Here's a recent Wall Street Journal article about Randy's Pine Island Home.