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Johnny Shaw: I don't think I consciously avoided writing about the Mexican border. It can just be difficult to see a place as familiar as one's hometown as a subject that would be interesting to anyone else. All those cool, unique details hide themselves in plain sight. But I'm glad I waited--it gave me a chance to do it right, with the proper amount of distance, objectivity, and experience.
Q: Dove Season continues a proud tradition of books and movies set in rural California. What was your approach to creating such a strong sense of place?
JS: In the case of Dove Season, the Imperial Valley did all the heavy lifting for me. It's a unique place to grow up and an amazing backdrop for a crime novel. Usually the only time my hometown is mentioned in the news is for something lamentable: worst unemployment, air pollution, earthquakes, immigration issues, and so on. While all those things may be true, I figured, why not show the other side of the story? The story I know; the human story.
Q: The subtitle of Dove Season is "A Jimmy Veeder Fiasco," which implies we'll be seeing more of this protagonist in your work. What are your plans for his future?
JS: About halfway through writing Dove Season, I knew that Jimmy Veeder and Bobby Maves were characters I wanted to revisit. Not only are they a blast to write, but there is a lot of complexity to their friendship that has yet to be explored. As I write this, I'm hard at work on Plaster City, the next Jimmy Veeder Fiasco. At minimum, I have two more fiascoes in my head, stories that stand on their own but are part of a bigger arc. After that, we’ll see.
Q: Jimmy and Bobby get into some crazy situations on both sides of the Mexican border in Dove Season. How much of the novel is autobiographical? Are any of his misadventures based on your life?
JS: Write what you know, right? Without getting myself into too much trouble, let’s just say that the bars and strips joint of Mexicali are not a world that is foreign to me. And like Jimmy, I did grow up on a farm in the middle of nowhere with a field-worker bar across the street. But if you want to know if I've ever used a shovel to fend off someone with a baseball bat, you’ll have to ask my wife. Just kidding, honey. Put the bat down.
Q: You've written extensively for the stage and screen. How are these processes similar to and different from creating plot and characters in a novel?
JS: Whether I'm writing a screenplay, graphic novel, stage play, or novel, I try to treat each one with the proper amount of respect, emphasizing the given medium's strengths. I've always been of the mind that if you can make the characters breathe and the setting real, then you've gone a long way toward drawing the reader in. The individual medium doesn't matter--it's all about the story and the people who inhabit it.
Have not finished it, but better than I expected. Can't wait to fine out "who done it"!Published 21 hours ago by Liza
I loved this book! The characters were complex; most were interesting enough to be very likeable. Story moved along nicely, was full of twists and was suspenseful at times. Read morePublished 2 days ago by marta's art
Jimmy Veeder and Bobby Maves are two very well-intentioned men, but they make some very, very poor decisions. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Dan Malmon
Going back to HS English, I was taught that a novel would focus on one of three things, setting, character or plot. This one well choreographs all three. Mr. Read morePublished 15 days ago by kokmd
The author gives a very good insight, albeit sometimes dark, to life and lifestyles on both sides of the Mexican border. Read morePublished 16 days ago by M. Lee
A little too much boozing to be realistic to me but overall good story line. Kept my attention to find out what happens next. Would definitely recommend it as a good read.Published 21 days ago by Linda Buckner
I love these characters Jimmy and Bobby. The story is fun to read and unpredictable. I've already downloaded 2 more of Shaw's books and I haven't finished this one yet.Published 26 days ago by isabel
I'm new big fan of Johnny Shaw. He's an excellent story teller, I didn't want to put the book down.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer