Wewahitchka author Michael Lister will launch his new book, in which a key role is played by Hurricane Michael, during a party and concert at his family’s farm off Old Dairy Farm Road in Wewahitchka.
The event will be 6-9 p.m. CT Saturday.
All proceeds from the launch event and benefit concert will go to hurricane disaster relief; Lister is also donating a quarter of all profits from “And the Sea Became Blood.”
Lister’s charity has provided generators, food, water, clothes, tarps and supplies to those of need since the storm.
“We are all in this together and nothing feels better than being able to help a neighbor whose desperate need you see firsthand,” Lister said, adding that readers of his books from all over the world have sent donations.
“We have such a long way to go. We’re really just getting started in terms of recovery. So my charity is just getting started in terms of helping with that recovery.”
“And the Sea Became Blood” is Lister’s 21st novel featuring prison chaplain turned investigator John Jordan.
Lister didn’t have to look far for inspiration, which a certain superstorm provided.
“My last few John Jordan novels have been pretty topical … but nothing is more topical for those of us in the Panhandle at the moment than Hurricane Michael and its aftermath,” Lister said.
The book centers on the investigation into the murder of a retired Catholic priest that is interrupted by Hurricane Michael.
“I was working on this novel before Hurricane Michael hit, but the moment it made landfall and I realized the scope of the devastation, I knew it had to be a big part of this book,” Lister said.
“Writing it was like reliving the hurricane over and over again. It’s had such a huge impact on our lives here. And it has a huge impact on John Jordan and his life in general.”
Lister’s Jordan series, which began in 1997, has won two Florida Book Awards and reached bestseller lists in the New York Times and USA Today.
The release party will include readings, interviews, signings, a video presentation by The Public Eye, a silent auction and live music by Atlanta singer-songwriter Lexi Street.
Aaron Bearden, Tony Simmons and Jayson Kretzer are among local musicians, authors and artists who will also share their work.
The party will also include a special tribute to Brad Price, firefighter and first responder who Lister knew since childhood and who was killed shortly after the storm while clearing debris.
Earlier in the day, Lister will hold a launch party and book signing 1-3 p.m. CT at the Center for the Arts in downtown Panama City.