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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.
Hurry up Mr. Shaw, with book 3. Veeder is a klutz, likeabke, anti hero, and you want more.Published 19 hours ago by James William Huskey
I thought it was a book about bird hunting, but it wasn't. How ever it end up catching my interest and it was a good read. I enjoyed the bookPublished 4 days ago by HW
I'm from the Imperial Valley. Great to read a story about places I've been and some I haven't.Published 10 days ago by Elaine A.
I thought the book was well written, characters worked, and it was virtually error free. That's unusual for a book in this price range. I enjoyed reading it. I thought Mr. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Patrick T. Kelly
I enjoyed this story and the characters, I have to admit that bringing me back to Southern California was part of the charm. Reminds me I need to bone up on my Spanish!Published 18 days ago by Megan Rooney-Brown
I loved the suspense. Would definitely recommend to people who like a good mystery.Published 20 days ago by Sharon Gaudin
Down to earth modern day story with many unexpected twists and loveable, quirky characters. Set in the California dessert, it takes you on excursions into Mexican border towns that... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Barbara Jones
Funny and dark at the same time. I liked it a lot and I would look for more from this author.Published 26 days ago by honker
I liked everything about this story . It has a way of picking you up and taking you along as though you are there. I will be waiting for his next novel.Published 28 days ago by Kindle Customer