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This Best-Selling Author’s Siesta Key Home Just Hit the Market

The thrill of writing a book might be one of those oft-pondered fantasies most of us don’t have the time or chops to pursue. But what if you had the perfect place? The ideal setup and inspiration?

Well, sharpen your pencils. This home has that.

After all, it worked for New York Times-bestselling author Glenn Cooper, who penned nine books there. Since he left a career in medicine to pursue writing full-time, he’s sold roughly 10 million copies of his titles worldwide since his first was published in 2009.

Best known for his thriller trilogy The Library of the Dead, Cooper is listing the four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom writer’s haven for $6.95 million.

The furniture is negotiable. The books, roughly 5,000 in all, are not. Cooper and his wife Tessa are moving to the northeast to be closer to family, and so are the books. “I’ve kept every one I was ever given or have bought, and going digital is just one of those no-fly-zone conversations for me,” he says.

The couple bought the Siesta Key home at 749 Freeling Drive in 2015 for $3.2 million and put seven figures into an “almost down to the studs” remodel that took roughly 18 months. Situated on almost half an acre, its 6,827 square feet feel grand and cozy at the same time.

The style brings us back to before the box-shaped, greige color craze choked out the natural gleam of wood in almost any new home or renovation in recent years. “We made it our aspiration to be a Mediterranean home,” says realtor Joel Schemmel of Premier Sotheby’s, who is representing the listing. “So we have a classic Mediterranean-style kitchen and wooden beam work to make it appear to be of a certain age. It’s for someone who likes comfort, warmth and function at the same time. The finishes are fabulous and the materials are top-notch.”

The books lead some of its most standout features. The Coopers built a great room, dining room and an alder wood two-tiered library with a second-floor, book-lined loft where he writes. Facing the windows, the loft comes with a view of Sarasota Bay. “It’s a very tranquil space to write,” Cooper says.

Similar to Cooper’s stories, the loft comes with some mystery and intrigue. A secret passageway hidden in a closet downstairs is the only way to access it. Upstairs, the back of the bookcase folds in like a door to allow entry. Inspired by his son’s love of secret spaces, Cooper admits grownups never figure out how to get up there, while children mostly get it right. It’s become a go-to guessing game every time new guests visit.

Although none of the author’s books are set in the tropics, Cooper’s home embraces the outdoors that lured him and his wife Tessa to the area. There are more than 1,000 square feet of outdoor living space, including a summer kitchen, deck and up to 20-car courtyard finished in Old World stonework, pavers and a two-tiered fountain. A long wrought-iron balcony off the second floor overlooks the pool and a 10,000-lb. boat lift on the bay invites a life on the water.

Other writers feel at home there, too. The house is also the meeting place for the Liars Club. Founded 70 years ago by author John D. MacDonald and other luminaries, it’s one of the longest-continuously running groups for professional writers in the country. The group of roughly 12 members used to meet in various bars in downtown Sarasota and, more recently, at Cafe Baci on Tamiami Trail before it closed. “For last few years, the group has met on our lanai on Fridays,” Cooper says. “We play liar’s poker, shoot the breeze and talk life and politics.”

“We have a digital component, too, so I can keep participating long distance even after we move,” he says. “We have a famous Boston Globe columnist who joins that way.”

The two-story home is fortress-like. It has 75 steel pilings and was built by a commercial builder. The original owner told the Coopers the home was a neighborhood go-to during storm season because it’s the strongest. “She was right. We added a whole-house generator and when Hurricane Irma came through, there was a five-day power outage and our neighbors came to stay. It’s an oasis in calm times and stormy times,” Cooper says.

Whether used as a safe zone, writer’s haven, or the best place on earth for a game of hide-and-seek, “we’re hopeful the buyers have young kids to enjoy the staircase piece of our design,” Cooper says. “As for the adults, we hope a book lover gets attached. If not, they could always convert.”

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