Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are the characters in the Doc Ford novels based on real people?

A. Randy says the answer is "No — with a couple of exceptions. Mack really did run our marina during the years I guided at Tarpon Bay on Sanibel. My friend, Graeme Mellor, really did live on a Morgan sailboat, NO MÁS anchored just off the docks, and Jeth-sized Nick Clements was and is one of my best friends. Some of my fishing guide friends from those years also make brief appearances, and one of my baseball pals does, indeed, share kindred similarities with Tomlinson. Other than that, all fictional." Randy adds a word of warning: "If someone tells you one of my characters is based on them, you can be certain it's not true. I've just named the only exceptions."

Q. Will Randy speak to our Club?

A. Randy says he enjoys speaking, and audiences love him, but he also says the hardest thing about writing now is finding uninterrupted time to write. He gives about 30 short talks a year during the spring book tour, and also schedules about five paid 30-45 minute motivational-style talks on subjects ranging from writing to travel, fishing and baseball. Speeches are booked through the Lavin Agency, Boston or by contacting me (Steve Grendon) or Iris Tanner at: Sanibelflats@yahoo.com

Q. Will Randy donate books, restaurant gifts, fishing trips or other auction items for our charity?

A. Randy donates to many charities, so please do not write until you have read this. As you might expect, he receives several hundred requests annually, sometimes a dozen a week. He knows there are thousands of worthy charities around the country in need of help, and Randy does all he can. Typical requests include signed books, fishing trips, restaurant gift certificates, Doc Ford clothing, books-on-tapes, auction items such as the winning bidder's name in a novel, dinner with Randy, or a personal appearance at charity events. Charity reps have even asked if the highest bidder could overnight with Randy is his home, or write a paragraph or two of Randy's newest book! Authors (unless they self-publish) receive only twenty-five copies of their own books upon publication so, if you request books, he would buy them and then sign them for your charity, but you would be required to pick them up at one of the restaurants, or arrange for shipping. Annually, Randy donates many thousands of dollars to charities via cash donations, volunteering time, books and auction items, and also supports the Freemason Museum in Havana, and the Havana Children's Oncology Hospital in Havana. All profits from the hot sauce he imports are also donated to pay for garbage pick-up and sanitation in two rural villages in Colombia. Added to these donations, the Doc Ford's restaurants are principal supporters of the Lee County Children's Oncology Hospital and many, many other charities. As for now, no more charity requests, please.

Q. Will Randy read my manuscript? Will he help me get published?

A. No . . . and yes. For legal reasons, Randy cannot and will not read manuscripts. When a manuscript arrives, it goes right into the trash — again, for legal reasons. He also will not supply you with the name of an agent (she's not taking new clients). But he's the most enthusiastic guy I've ever met when it comes to urging writers to write, and to be relentless if they want to publish.