A love letter to Florida: DeFuniak author pens second novel

harry saunders
Special to The Sun
Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 05:55 PM.

The latest book from DeFuniak Springs resident Harry Saunders is only half true.

Derived from adventures he had — and some he wish he had experienced — Saunders tells the story of two young men who embark on a canoe trip right before college in "Teenagers on an Adventure." Their journey begins on the Kissimmee River, where they witness illegal harvesting of alligator skins and egret bird feathers. After being captured by poachers — along with a love story intertwined — the young men have quite a story to tell once they make it home.

"It started out as a travel journal," Saunders said. "I used Bill [the protagonist] as my alias. The book includes a lot of things I have done and a lot I wish I had done."

Growing up, Saunders developed a love for the outdoors. Through the Boy Scouts to serving in the Navy during World War II, he's enjoyed going on traveling and exploring.  For "Teenagers on an Adventure," he took his love for the outdoors and his experiences and weaved them into a fictitious, exciting tale. The story's heroes travel through Florida, to the deserts and jungles of Africa, all the way to a pirate's territory in the Mediterranean Sea before the story's end.

"About 50 percent of it is true," Saunders said — not divulging which half is from experience. "I wish I had done all of it, but I couldn't, so I wrote about it."

Saunders has been a writer for most of his 87 years through journals and detailed letters to his daughters. However, he never thought to pen his first novel until five years ago. It was at the urging of his daughter Cindy.

"She told me 'Why don't you write about your adventures?' " Saunders recalled.

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