May 3, 2018

Sundog Books and the Redneck Riviera

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor of Southern Writers Magazine

On a recent weekend trip to Seaside Florida, enjoying what is known there as the 30A Lifestyle, I visited the Central Square area for brunch. I discovered next door to the restaurant is Sundog Books. Sundog Books,, is one of those fabulous independent bookstores and it is owned by Linda and Bob White. Sundog has not only survived the slump independents went through but apparently has thrived through that period. Although the place was busy I was able to visit with Manager and Memphis Native Carolyn Rogers. Carolyn is a great representative for Sundog and you can tell she loves everything she does there.  

I couldn’t think of a better place, a perfect fit for a bookstore than on the square on Hwy30A. Surrounded by miles of beach and most beach goers sit on the beach reading. It is a wonderful marriage between authors, reader and bookstore. Sundog goes one step further by promoting local authors as well.   

As I was approaching the porch of the bookstore there sat a gentleman signing his books. His name is Harvey H. Jackson III and his book is The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Rivieraan Insiders History of the Florida-Alabama Coast. Harvey is uniquely qualified to write Redneck Riviera due to the fact his grandmother bought a home  on the beach in the area is 1954  and he is Eminent Scholar in History at Jacksonville State University. Harvey has authored other history books dealing mostly with his State of Alabama. Harvey noted the property his grandmother owned in 1954 he has inherited and is there now. He has seen the great changes and effects of the growth and decline of the area since he was a child. His love for the area and his background in history makes a great combination for an excellent read on the area. The area known as  the Redneck Riviera, Mobile Bay to Panama City, may be struggling with its identity today with the push for a more dignified  title of the Emerald Coast. I am sure the later sounds better is you are a realtor selling beach property and with the high style of living there now it may indeed win out.

Southern Writers Magazine exists to help authors. It is encouraging to see what Sundog Books is doing for local authors. Carolyn Rogers said Harvey’s Redneck Riviera is one of their best sellers. I am sure that is true because it is about the area, the authors personal and professional input and Sundog Books allowing promotional opportunities. If you are in the area I hope you will stop in and I hope Harvey is there to greet you and sign his book for you.

If you know of similar cooperative efforts as Sundog Books and Harvey Jackson are enjoying please let me hear of them.   

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