38 reads written by Lakeland authors

Whether you’re looking for your next leisure read, a book for the whole family, or a thrilling fictional novel, we’ve got a list of books written by local authors in Lakeland.

Exterior shot of Pressed Books & Coffee

Stop by one of Lakeland’s local bookstores, like Pressed, to pick up a Lakeland read.

Photo by @sarahmaephotography

Table of Contents

What’s better than a good book? Maybe a good book written by your neighbor. Brew up a batch of your favorite local tea or coffee and get ready to meet your next read, because we’re talking about locally written books in Lakeland, FL.


  • A Forever Kind of Guy” by Barbara Meyers | Release date: Oct. 18, 2011 | This romance novel tells the story of Hayley, her nephew Fletcher, and her new love interest, Ray.
  • Dream Weaver” by Sofia Simpson | Release date: March 2, 2014 | Ari is part of a parallel world that teaches humans to dream when romance sparks between her and her best friend.
  • Like a Hole in the Water: A Coming of Age Novel” by J. Neil Sherouse | Release date: June 16, 2021 | Set in the 1960s, this coming-of-age tale follows two young boys in the North Florida town of Palatka.
  • Monessen Falls” by Greg Burdick | Release date: August 2019 | An architect grapples with his family’s past in this play by a local playwright + theatre teacher.
  • Taboo Tech” by Joy V. Smith | Release date: May 21, 2019 | Eighteen year-old Lacie is left in the care of her eccentric space-traveling uncle when her parents head out on an expedition.
  • Terra: An Elemental Series” by Sofia Simpson | Release date: January 26, 2023 | Earth Elemental Vela begins to bond with Fire Elemental Linc, but they could be part of a prophecy to unite their warring clans.

Learn something new

The children’s section at Pressed Books & Coffee features a few of these featured titles. | Photo by LALtoday

For the family

  • Goodnight Lakeland“ by Ida Mundell and Josh “Bump” Galletta | Release date: Nov. 11, 2020 | This local take on “Goodnight Moon” is a 42-page homage to Swan City featuring illustrations of Lakeland’s most iconic landmarks and small businesses.
  • How to Cheer Up Dad” by Fred Koehler | Release date: March 20, 2014 | Fred is also known for his 2018 children’s book “Garbage Island (The Nearly Always Precarious Adventures of Archibald Shrew)” and for winning the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award for his illustrations in “One Day, The End.”
  • I’m an Airplane Pilot” by Tiffany M. Sutherland | Release date: Nov. 24, 2023 | The two brothers in this book live in a small town and achieve their dreams of becoming pilots together.
  • Kyler Treks to Ghana” by Stephanie Claytor and Kat Powell | Release date: Feb. 1, 2022 | In this picture book, an African American family travels to Ghana to learn about their ancestors and history.
  • My Little Mockingbird” by Rebekah Firmin | Release date: Feb. 7, 2022 | This children’s book from local illustrator Rebekah Firmin follows a baby mockingbird who is overwhelmed by noise.
  • Oh, to be a Delight” by Anna Rodriguez | Release date: April 21, 2021 | Anna Rodriguez encourages children to be a good example in this book with 100% 5-star ratings on Amazon.
  • Phil and The Good-Luck Charm” by Jennifer Audette | Release date: Mar. 13, 2019 | Phil’s summer is consumed by two things: Baseball and bar mitzvah lessons — what will happen when the two collide in an unexpected way?
  • Strawberry Pickles Vs. Bee-Bo the Rob-ot” by Randy Richburg | Release date: April 26, 2021 | Round up the children for a reading of this illustrated children’s book about bravery and kindness from a local author + artist also responsible for titles like “The Little Star: The Story of Who and What You Are.”
  • Will You Be My Friend?“ By Hunter Blaise | Release date: March 2, 2021 | Hunter Blaise, an author who is legally blind, wrote “Will You Be My Friend?” and other stories about children with different abilities. This particular tale follows the story of a mermaid attempting to befriend a giant bunny who prefers to be alone.

Part of a series

  • Dreadgod” by Will Wight | Release date: July 5, 2022 | The eleventh installment of the fantasy series “Cradle,” this novel was topping the bestseller charts on Audible + Amazon Kindle in June of 2022.
  • If You Stay” by Barbara Meyers | Release date: May 1, 2022 | Buckle up for the second installment of the Lakeland author’s “Red Bud, Iowa” series, which tells the tale of a young woman who does whatever it takes to make a new life for her daughter.
  • Penalty Box” by Kayla Tirrell | Release date: March 20, 2020 | Fall in love with this soccer-themed romance novel, the first in the “Love in the Arena” series.
  • Survival of the Fittest: The Lifeboat Augusta Book 5” by Jamie Beckett | Release date: Oct. 4, 2014 | Beckett’s five-book series revolves around Randy Tagget, the man responsible for saving the human race by creating a new civilization to repopulate the Earth.
  • The Eastwood Event” by J.G. Petrichor | Release date: April 4, 2021 | A mysterious mass disappearance, children with special abilities, and an unknown entity in a massive crater are just the beginning of this fantasy novel. The sequel, “On The Road,” is also available now.
  • The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe” by Dwight L. MacPherson | Release date: March 4, 2019 | There are three volumes in this series of comic books by the team at HP Comics.

Personal stories

  • Reaching Across the Aisle: Reflections on My Experiences in Politics” by Dennis Ross | Release date: Jan. 16, 2024 | This Lakeland native, Florida congressman, and Southeastern University professor shares his experiences in politics in this memoir.
  • 1995: Out of the Darkness, into the Light” by Charles R. Sands | Release date: May 31, 2023 | The author of this book wrote about his 11 years in Haiti where he has built two bakeries and helped to feed local children.
  • A Boy from Down East” by Larry B. Gray | Release date: March, 5, 2014 | Read this collection of stories about one boy’s childhood growing up in rural North Carolina.
  • Heaven’s Joy” by Susan McCeldry | Release date: July 9, 2022 | Susan McCeldry’s autobiography documents her journey from one realm of spirituality to another.
  • Jimmy Buffett: The Key West Years” by Tom Corcoran | Release date: Nov. 21, 2006 | Lakeland author + photographer Tom Corcoran was Jimmy Buffett’s longtime photographer (and even co-wrote lyrics for “Cuban Crime of Passion”). This photo book includes over three dozen photos from Jimmy’s time in Key West.
  • Resolve, Courage, Hope” by Scott Headly with Allison Nissen | Release date: May 19, 2016 | In this true account of what is considered the worst violent spree in Polk County history, Scott and Allison tell the story of regaining one’s sense of self after tragedy.
  • Serena Williams: Tennis Champion, Sports Legend, and Cultural Heroine” by Merlisa Lawrence Corbett | Release date: Feb. 15, 2020 | Dubbed as “more than a biography,” former “Sports Illustrated” reporter Merlisa Lawrence Corbett shares the stories behind the legendary tennis player and female icon.
  • Success in Exile” by Teresa Vázquez Martínez | Release date: Jan. 1, 2009 | Stories of 25 families fleeing 1970s Cuba are told in this bilingual book of short stories.
  • The One Jesus Loves” by Robert Crosby | Release date: March 25, 2014 | This Southeastern University professor, former pastor + conference speaker shares relationship theory and provides personal and reflective opportunities for readers to examine their position of faith.

Need more recommendations? Stop by Bookends Used Books, Crash Bookshop, Inklings Book Shoppe, Little Bus Books, Pressed LKLD, or The Unbound Bookery to get expert advice from Lakeland’s local booksellers.

More from LALtoday
We’ve got details and a map full of drink deals: We’ll be highlighting the vibrant beverage scene across Lakeland, FL from July 22 to July 26, 2024.
What you need to know about Lakeland’s club roller derby league + how it’s working to change the face of contact sports.
Celebrate the role that the arts play in overall health + wellness with Lakeland’s inaugural Arts and Health Week, happening July 22 to July 27, 2024.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for — you get the point. Check out this list to find your perfect scoop, sandwich, sundae, or snowball.
Here’s what you need to know as the mayor, commissioners, and city staff determine the FY 2025 budget.
It’s no secret that Lakeland is home to vast amounts of wildlife, but what do you do if you see a species that’s hurt or out of the norm? Consider this your go-to resource.
We’re traveling back to the Golden Age to learn about Lakeland’s oldest indoor movie theater, and how it continues to be a place “where historic is cutting edge.”
Compare the cost of living for Lakeland, FL with national averages + understand how expenses in Lakeland stack up against other cities.
Whether you’re looking for a spot that’s surrounded by nature or bathed in the shade, consider one of these spots next time you’re looking to dine al fresco.