Amy West is an author who combined her passion for travel she developed as a child and her love for Jacksonville and the North Florida area to write a pair of books designed to showcase destinations that have made up Jacksonville’s culture throughout the years. The second book is a scavenger hunt that she believes will be perfect for families around the area this summer.
Can you tell us about your background and where you are from?
I lived in Jacksonville Beach for 32 years, and although my family and I just recently moved to Tampa, my mother still calls Jacksonville home, and we have B&Bs that we own in town.
Ever since I can remember travel has always been a huge part of my life and something that I have always been fascinated with.
My dad worked with Delta, so the opportunities were defiantly there and when my parents divorced I ended up flying back and forth from Florida to Kentucky a lot when I was just about 7 or 8 years old.
I was taking about 12 flights a year, and that’s when I caught the “travel bug since.” I was traveling abroad at 14 years old, and I haven’t stopped since.”
What led to you writing your two books?
I have had my own travel T.V. Show series and blogs over the years and writing has always been important to me, because journaling was always something I did since I was young, especially during my travels.
The idea to write the books was just another avenue for me to express my love for writing and travel while exploring Jacksonville, the place I grew up around and love more than anything.
Can you talk about your books and what they entail?
The first book was “100 things to do in Jacksonville before you die,” and then I came out with “Jacksonville Scavenger: The ultimate search for Jacksonville’s hidden treasures.”
My hope is that the books help shed light and showcase the number of great destinations we have in Jacksonville.
There are more than 20 restaurants listed in the first book, as well as a variety of other destinations, such as greenspaces and historical markers.
“Jacksonville Scavenger” presents more of a challenge and prompts the reader to find clues and go out find the many destinations out there.
There are 24 neighborhoods in Jacksonville included in the scavenger book and multiple clues and riddles are given for each one of them as well as a photo and an illustration.
There are over 340 clues throughout the book.
You don’t need one book to figure out the other, but there are going to be some things that do cross over from one to the next.
They are each something that is truly Jacksonville and has a special place or plays a part in making the city’s culture what it is.
What was the process like completing the books?
Just finishing the books is a huge accomplishment, because there is so much behind the scenes that goes into it to make them happen.
There’s a lot of time spent alone that I spent in my home studio in front of a computer just typing away.
There’s a lot of time also spent battling with yourself to get the right summarization of a business.
You want to capture the right words, but you also don’t want to make the scavenger hunt too easy or too hard. It had to be a healthy balance.
It took me a solid six months to put “Jacksonville Scavenger” together.
The thing that took the longest was not the writing but going to each of the destination sites in the book myself to get a photo of it.
What are the most rewarding parts of writing the books?
It gives me a lot of joy to know that these books will help people discover what it is that makes Jacksonville so great. It’s a way of preserving.
I wanted people who have lived here forever to still find some things in the books that they didn’t expect to find or know about.
If you are someone who likes adventure, “Jacksonville Scavenger” will take you on the biggest and most epic tour of Jax you’ll ever be on.
Whether you are into nature, history or you are a foodie, Jacksonville has something for you.
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