Dove Season (Jimmy Veeder Fiasco)

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9781935597643: Dove Season (Jimmy Veeder Fiasco)
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Twelve years have passed since Jimmy Veeder set foot in the Imperial Valley of southern California. The only person that could bring him back is his father, Jack, who is dying of cancer. Jimmy is prepared to spend Jack’s final days joking and reminiscing, but the old man has other plans. He needs Jimmy to cross the border into Mexico and find a prostitute named Yolanda. It’s a strange final request to be sure, but Jimmy’s not one to argue with a dying man. With his childhood buddy Bobby Maves in tow, he heads south, looking for Yolanda among the seedy bars and neighborhoods along the Calexico/Mexicali border. Their search leads them to Tomás Morales, a rising star in the Mexican underworld. While dangerous to most, his childhood friendship with Jimmy brings out his loyalty and spurs him to help. But just when Jimmy thinks his quest has ended, an unexpected murder sucks him further into the violence and danger of Mexicali. In his fight for survival and search for truth, what he uncovers calls into question everything he thought he knew about his father—and will determine just what kind of man he himself truly is.

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A Q&A with Johnny Shaw

Question: You were born and raised in the Imperial Valley. Yet in your 20-year writing career, Dove Season is the first work of yours fully set there. Why the long wait?

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.

About the Author:

Johnny Shaw was born and raised in the Imperial Valley on the Calexico/Mexicali border. He received his Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting from UCLA. In addition to his work as a screenwriter and playwright, he owns a used bookstore and teaches writing. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Dove Season is his first novel.

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Book Description Amazon Publishing, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Jack Veeder is dying. Soon. And that impending event brings his son Jimmy back to the Imperial Valley of southern California just north of the Calexico/Mexicali border. Jimmy hopes he can spend what time his father has left laughing and reminiscing. But Jack's got one dying request. He needs Jimmy to find a Mexican prostitute named Yolanda. Enlisting the help of his boyhood friend Bobby Maves, the pair stumbles through the violent, the exploited, and the corrupted of Mexicali. It doesn't take long before they're in over their heads. And as Jimmy tries to survive the dangers of the Mexicali underworld, he unwittingly uncovers truths about his father he never imagined, forcing Jimmy to come to terms with the man he thought he knew, and to decide just what sort of man he wants to become. "[Johnny Shaw] is excellent at creating a sense of place with a few deft strokes. he moves effortlessly between dark comedy and moments that pack a real emotional punch, and he's got a knack for off-kilter characters who are completely at home in their own personal corners of oddballdom." - Tana French, author of In the Woods, Faithful Place. Seller Inventory # BRI9781935597643

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Book Description Amazon Publishing, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Jack Veeder is dying. Soon. And that impending event brings his son Jimmy back to the Imperial Valley of southern California just north of the Calexico/Mexicali border. Jimmy hopes he can spend what time his father has left laughing and reminiscing. But Jack's got one dying request. He needs Jimmy to find a Mexican prostitute named Yolanda. Enlisting the help of his boyhood friend Bobby Maves, the pair stumbles through the violent, the exploited, and the corrupted of Mexicali. It doesn't take long before they're in over their heads. And as Jimmy tries to survive the dangers of the Mexicali underworld, he unwittingly uncovers truths about his father he never imagined, forcing Jimmy to come to terms with the man he thought he knew, and to decide just what sort of man he wants to become. "[Johnny Shaw] is excellent at creating a sense of place with a few deft strokes. he moves effortlessly between dark comedy and moments that pack a real emotional punch, and he's got a knack for off-kilter characters who are completely at home in their own personal corners of oddballdom." - Tana French, author of In the Woods, Faithful Place. Seller Inventory # BTE9781935597643

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Book Description Amazon Publishing, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Jack Veeder is dying. Soon. And that impending event brings his son Jimmy back to the Imperial Valley of southern California just north of the Calexico/Mexicali border. Jimmy hopes he can spend what time his father has left laughing and reminiscing. But Jack's got one dying request. He needs Jimmy to find a Mexican prostitute named Yolanda. Enlisting the help of his boyhood friend Bobby Maves, the pair stumbles through the violent, the exploited, and the corrupted of Mexicali. It doesn't take long before they're in over their heads. And as Jimmy tries to survive the dangers of the Mexicali underworld, he unwittingly uncovers truths about his father he never imagined, forcing Jimmy to come to terms with the man he thought he knew, and to decide just what sort of man he wants to become. "[Johnny Shaw] is excellent at creating a sense of place with a few deft strokes. he moves effortlessly between dark comedy and moments that pack a real emotional punch, and he's got a knack for off-kilter characters who are completely at home in their own personal corners of oddballdom." - Tana French, author of In the Woods, Faithful Place. Seller Inventory # BRI9781935597643

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