Sally J. Ling, Florida’s History Detective, is an author, speaker and historian. She writes historical fiction and nonfiction and specializes in little known stories of Florida history. As a special correspondent, Sally wrote for the Sun Sentinel newspaper for four years and has been a contributing journalist for a number of South Florida magazines.
Based upon excerpts from her book Run the Rum In, Sally appeared in two TV documentaries (“Gangsters” – the National Geographic Channel, and “Prohibition and the South Florida Connection” – WLRN, Miami). She served as associate producer on the latter production. Her book Who Killed Leno and Louise? was made into a mini-documentary that won a Sun Coast PBS Emmy award, and her book Small Town, Big Secrets is the catalyst for a feature length documentary on the Boca Raton Army Air Field currently in production.
She has been a repeat guest on South Florida PBS TV and radio stations, guest presenter at the Lifelong Learning Society at Florida Atlantic University and Future Authors of America, and guest speaker at numerous historical societies, libraries, organizations, and schools.
Sally lives with her husband, Chuck, and splits her time between South Florida, and Western North Carolina.
What inspires you to write?
A good story–whether it is fiction or nonfiction. I look for compelling tales that have been lost or that few people know. That’s what spurs me on to write about it.. I include some Florida history in most all my books.
Tell us about your writing process.
I haven’t used an outline yet, but am trying it on my current project. In my other ten books, I just went where the story took me. Sitting down and outlining is very helpful to many authors including the most prolific of them all James Patterson.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
In my historic fiction books, I try to understand what it was like to be them during that time–what did they see, feel, smell, touch, sense? What was their background, and how did it make them who they are? Of course, I do let them have free reign to go where they want to, I just have to then incorporate their wandering into the story.
Who are your favorite authors?
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Zafon – my favorite.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I published my first four books with traditional publishers. While they gave me my start, I now prefer to publish under my own name and publishing house Flamingo Press.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I love ebooks because I don’t have the shelf space for print books. When I’m doing research I always purchase print books because I can then mark in them and flip through the pages to find what I’m looking for. I don’t think print books will every go out of print. Too many of us enjoy holding them in our hands.
What genres do you write?
Historic nonfiction, historic fiction, Christian mysteries, crime
What formats are your books in?