ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clarissa Thomasson received her B.A. in English literature from Duke University and her Master's degree in English Literature from the University of Florida. She taught English literature, creative writing, and journalism in Montgomery County, Maryland, before moving to Nags Head, North Carolina, with her husband. There she pursued her writing career and published her first three novels-- Defending Hillsborough, Reconstructing Hillsborough, and Lorinda's Legacy. In 2000 she and her husband relocated to Venice, Florida, where she published five children's books, called The Little Green Monkey Stories, in 2001. In 2003 Thomasson published her first book of collected poems, Alone. Her first Florida historical novel, Florida Shadows, was published in 2007. The sequel, Florida Secrets, was published in 2009. The third novel of the trilogy, Florida Sunset, was published in August, 2011. The stand-alone novel, Surviving Sarasota, was published in April, 2014. Thomasson's newest novel, Over the Bridge, was published in 2017.
Thomasson became interested in writing historical novels when she learned of the Civil War heroics of her great-great-grandmother, Sarah Holeman Stroud, from her great aunt, Octavia Stroud Perry, Sarah's granddaughter. This led to her researching and writing her first novel, Defending Hillsborough, which was followed by a sequel, Reconstructing Hillsborough. Her third novel, Lorinda's Legacy, is a mystery, which is also based on a historical incident involving a murder and the ensuing trial. The fourth novel, Florida Shadows--set in Southwest Florida in 1918--is based on the real story of a young woman confined to a mental institution for a crime she did not commit. The book highlights her experiences as she travels to Florida upon release to find a new life and encompasses the building of the railroad from Arcadia to Boca Grande and the early days of the Gasparilla Inn in historic Boca Grande, Florida. Florida Secrets moves the characters from Boca Grande to Ocala, Florida, and is laced with stories of north Florida and the Seminole Wars. The final book of the trilogy, Florida Sunset, brings the characters to Venice, Florida, in 1925--in the midst of the Florida Land Boom--to help establish the new town--where beauty and danger--both natural and man made--await. As the Assistant Whitaker Trustee for her Sara Desoto Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Thomasson became interested in the story of William and Mary Jane Whitaker, whose family cemetery abuts the DAR chapter house. After much research, Thomasson's novel, Surviving Sarasota, was published in April, 2014--highlighting the lives of Sarasota County, Florida's first American settlers from 1851 - 1865 as they endure the Third Seminole War, the American Civil War, and its aftermath. The newest novel, Over the Bridge, is a fictionalized tale of five high school seniors in a small West Virginia town in 1941, who are describing their dreams for going "over the bridge" into the rest of the world--when they hear the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The book then follows each of them through the war years--and after.
The Little Green Monkey Stories began as bedtime stories for her two daughters, who loved the tiny, pale green monkeys who played in the large animal house at the Washington, DC Zoological Park. The stories were finally published, however, for the enjoyment of her grandsons and their classmates--and eventually for her two granddaughters.
Poetry has been a life-long love. When Thomasson began reading her poetry in a series of monthly evening entertainments in Venice, she received many requests for copies of her poems. The poems were then published in a chapbook called Alone--accompanied by the author's own photographs.
Thomasson has written two stage plays, "Florida Shadows," and "Over the Bridge." Each is based on the novel by that name. "Over the Bridge" won first place in the Clarence "Bud" Jones Playwriting Competition at the Firehouse Theater in La Belle, FL in 2014, and "Florida Shadows" won the same prize in 2015.
In addition to her novels, children's books, and poetry writing, Thomasson is a freelance magazine writer--having written for GRAND magazine, and having won a 2005 Florida Trust for Historic Preservation award for her contribution to Florida history through her articles in Yesterday in Florida magazine. Thomasson currently writes a monthly column for Eastside Venice Neighbors highlighting important historical residents of Venice, FL.
Thomasson's publishing house, Salt Marsh Publications, has received the 2017 "Best of Venice" Award for "Media Services."