1) A Land Remembered should be made into a movie. Is there any chance that it will be?

There has been strong interest in making A Land Remembered into a movie since it was first published. Individuals and organizations have bought the annual “option” to make it into a movie almost continuously since it was published in 1984, but for many reasons, nobody has gotten it off the ground. Hollywood is a fickle place. They’ll spend millions to make movies that never make it out of the editing suite, but a jewel like A Land Remembered is still waiting to be produced.

We get inquiries weekly about this and feel sure that someday it will happen. When that will be is anyone’s guess.

2) Are the MacIveys real people?

No, the book is not based on any one family but is a blend of the stories and histories of many pioneer families. Patrick Smith explains this in his award-winning DVD, A Sense of Placeavailable here.

It is such an accurate description of the homes and lives of the pioneers that many people think that it is written about their specific family.

The way pioneer life is so accurately depicted is one of the reasons that this book has become a fixture in most schools in Florida.

We have even sold a set of books to an agricultural education classroom! Not so surprising when you see how well the use of the land and the development of the citrus and cattle industries are depicted. The teacher told me that it is a great way to incorporate literacy skills, history, and agriculture into the curriculum.

3) Will there ever be a sequel to A Land Remembered?

No, Mr. Smith says that was the end of the story.

4) Is Patrick Smith alive?

Unfortunate, he passed away on January 26, 2014.

5) Where did Patrick Smith get the inspiration to write A Land Remembered?

When asked why he wrote the book, he often said he did it because nobody had done it before. That’s what he told me, and I think he was somewhat joking. He told my sister the following, which is a much more meaningful motivation: “The reason he picked that particular time period was because back then a family was really a family and he liked that. A family was born together, lived together and died together, unlike today’s time where they can be thousands of miles apart and could care less about the parents or the brothers or sisters.” I imagine it is a combination of the two.

From his research and writing of Forever Island and Allapattah, he learned so much about the pioneering families in Florida and some of the natural disasters that had struck that he began researching further. The deeper he went in the research, the more A Land Remembered began to take shape in his mind.

6) Where was the MacIvey’s homestead?

This is a fictional story, so there is no real specific location. However, if you were to go into the center of Florida, south of Orlando, into the Kissimmee River area, you would be close to the heart of the story. And of course, they venture down to Lake Okeechobee and further south, to Miami Beach, Punta Rassa and specific locations, most of which are all developed today.

Visit our good friends at Florida EcoSafaris and take a horseback ride into the backwoods and you’ll see Florida as it looked in the time of the MacIveys.

7) Can we visit the MacIvey home today?

No, there is no actual “MacIvey home.” However, there are many preserved “Florida settler” locations in Florida state and county parks, as well as historical parks and museums, where you can see how the early settlers lived.

A few we can recommend include:

Pioneer Florida Museum & Village – Dade City, FL
Heritage Village – Largo, FL
Pioneer Village – Kissimmee, FL
Forest Capital State Park – Perry, FL
Lake Kissimmee State Park Cow Camp – Kissimmee, FL
Fort Christmas Historical Park – 20 miles east of Orlando on SR 50
Florida State Fair Pioneer Village – Tampa, FL

We welcome your suggestions for others we are not aware of.

8) Why did Patrick Smith kill off so many people in the story?

Patrick Smith’s colorful answer to this question was that he got tired of writing about them so he killed them off.

When you think about it, this is a multi-generational novel. People have to die, and it builds emotion into the book as a generation passes away. Sometimes it is painful to read, but it makes the story stronger and more real. Times were tough back then. People faced wild animals, natural disasters, disease and hardships throughout their lives.

9) Were the events in A Land Remembered real?

Many of the events in the novel are based on real events. The hurricane is based on the devastating hurricanes that struck Miami in 1926 and Okeechobee in 1928. The killer swarms of mosquitoes were real events. The freeze of the citrus was based on the great freeze of 1894-95 that killed off much of the citrus in northern Florida. The great Miami land boom was certainly a real event.

In an article by writer Warren Resen, Smith had this to say:

“Many people ask me if all those things that happened in A Land Remembered are true. Most are. They were told to me by people whose ancestors lived through them: like that one in the book that took place about 1878 on the south shore of Lake Okeechobee. That’s the one about the custard apple forest with the moon vines growing up and over the trees. They told me that the moon vines were so thick, a man could walk right up the vines to the tops of the trees and then over the top of the forest. I got that story from people whose families lived here way back then and they swore it was true.

One minor story, the tale of the Carolina parakeets, was passed down through my wife’s family who came to Florida in 1830. The story about young Sol MacIvey selling baby buzzards to tourists in Palm Beach for $25 a pop is one I entirely made up. Folks seem to really get a kick out of it. I think that the story of Sol later buying up a big piece of what was to become Miami Beach for the price of a dozen baby buzzards was appropriate in light of what was to happen down there in the 1920s land boom when swamp land was the #1 best seller.”

10) How long did it take to write A Land Remembered?

Research and writing took about two years.

11) Were any of Patrick Smith’s books made into movies?

Angel City was made into a movie that was shown as a CBS “Movie of the Week” in 1980. It had an outstanding cast including Ralph Waite, Paul Winfield, Jennifer Warren, Jennifer Jason Leigh (in one of her first movies), Mitch Ryan, Robert MacNaughton, Red West and others. We don’t sell it  but you can often find VHS copies on eBay or Amazon.com. It was apparently never made into a DVD.

12) What other books has Patrick Smith written?

Here is a list of his work:

The River is Home – 1953
The Beginning – 1967
Forever Island – 1973
Angel City – 1978
In Search of The Russian Bear – 1983
A Land Remembered – 1984
Allapattah – 1987
Visions of Nature, Patrick Smith’s Florida – Florida PBS Special, 1990
The Last Ride – 2000
The Seas That Mourn – originally written in the 1950s, revised and published in 2003
Patrick Smith’s Florida, A Sense of Place (DVD) – 2005
A White Deer & Other Stories – Collection of short stories covering 40+ years – 2007

13) Has Patrick Smith won any awards?

Patrick Smith is a 1999 inductee into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, which is the highest and most prestigious cultural honor that can be bestowed upon an individual by the state of Florida.

In May 2002 Smith was the recipient of the Florida Historical Society’s Fay Schweim Award as the “Greatest Living Floridian.” The one-time-only award was established to honor the one individual who has contributed the most to Florida in recent history.

Smith has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1973 for Forever Island.

Smith’s lifetime work was nominated for the 1985 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Previous honors include: Tebeau Prize for A Land Remembered as the Most Outstanding Historical Novel, Florida Historical Society, 1986; Outstanding Author Award, Council for Florida Libraries, 1986; Communications Achievement Award, Space Coast Writers Guild, 1987; Communications Achievement Award, Toastmasters International, 1987; Environmental Writer’s Award, Florida Audubon Society, 1987; FLORIDA TODAY Best Writer Award, 1987, 1990, 1992; Medal of Honor, National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, 1988; Order of the South Award, Southern Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences, 1996; Florida Ambassador of the Arts Award, Florida Department of State, 1996; the first Florida Cracker Heritage Award, presented for outstanding contribution to Florida Cracker pioneer heritage, Florida Cracker Trail Association, 1997; Lifetime Achievement Award, Lee County Reading Festival, Fort Meyers, 2001; Florida Literary Legend Award, Florida Heritage Book Festival, St. Augustine, 2008.

In October 1990 Smith received the University of Mississippi’s Distinguished Alumni Award and was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame. In 1997, the Florida Historical Society created a new annual award, the Patrick D. Smith Florida Literature Award, in his honor.

By an act of the 2006 Florida Legislature, a section of a major highway, SR 520 running from East Merritt Island across the Banana River to Cocoa Beach, was named the Patrick D. Smith Causeway. Secretary of State Sue Cobb was the dedication speaker with Senator Bill Posey acting as MC.

14) If I order online, how soon will my purchase arrive?

Most orders ship within one day. When you order online you have the option of choosing 1st Class Mail for a single DVD and Media Mail or Priority Flat Rate Mail for larger packages. Media Mail is the slowest but least expensive shipping option and usually takes from 5-10 days, depending on the time of year and the distance from California. Priority Flat Rate is more expensive and faster, usually arriving in 2-3 business days. You are always welcome to order by phone by calling us toll-free at 1-888-744-9381.

15) Where can I learn more?

Family friend, adventurer and outdoor writer Warren Resen wrote a wonderful, in-depth article about Patrick Smith. You can read it here.

This list of questions is just a beginning. Do you have other questions you would like to see answered here? Send them to rick@PatrickSmithOnline.com.