Plaster City Blog Tour: Interview with Johnny Shaw

Posted May 16, 2014 by love2dazzle in Features, Interviews / 0 Comments

Plaster City Blog Tour: Interview with Johnny ShawPlaster City by Johnny Shaw
Series: Jimmy Veeder
Published by AmazonEncore on 2014-04-15
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, Hard-Boiled, Mystery & Detective
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Two years after the events of Dove Season, Jimmy Veeder's got a straight life cut out for him: his own farmland in the Imperial Valley, a good woman, and a son. But thanks to his old friend Bobby Maves, he still gets a regular shot of chaos. Now that Bobby is single, volatile as ever, and bored as hell, the dosage is inching closer to lethal.When Bobby's teenage daughter, Julie, goes missing, he and Jimmy take off on a reckless rescue mission — and a liquored-up Bobby won't hesitate to kick down doors and leave a trail of pain in his wake. But when the search for the girl goes disastrously sideways, the duo's grit — and loyalty to each other — is put to the test.

INTERVIEW

 

What inspired you to write your first book?

Johnny Shaw: It took me twenty years to realize how unique and interesting the place I grew up was. There’s nowhere like the Imperial Valley of California. The border, the desert, the farms.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

JS: My stories tend to be about male relationships: fathers and sons, friends, brothers, etc. There are male/female relationships, as well, but I really feel like those male relationships are rarely explored in depth in genre work.

 What books have most influenced your life most?

JS: The Fabulous Clipjoint by Fredric Brown, The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley, Tapping the Source by Kem Nunn, Fast One by Paul Cain, Murder in the Madhouse by Jonathan Latimer, Fat City by Leonard Gardner, Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg, The Long-Legged Fly by James Sallis, Get Carter by Ted Lewis. I could go on. I read a lot.

What book are you reading now?

JS: Cottonwood by Scott Phillips. I’ve read all his other books and I’m a big fan. Somehow this one got past me. Really great so far.

Do you enjoy writing girl characters or boy characters the most?

JS: While my main characters are men, the women in my stories are always smarter than the men. I enjoy writing both and the interaction between them.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

JS: Todd Robinson, Matthew McBride, Christopher Irvin, Glenn Gray, Dan O’Shea, Samuel Gailey.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

JS: There are few people that have been more supportive of me and my work than Jacque Ben-Zekry, formerly my Author Relations person at Thomas & Mercer (my publisher), now in Marketing. She is an absolute rock star and an author’s best friend.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I started writing screenplays in college as a film student. It all built from there. I still occasionally write screenplays and I have an idea for a new stage play, but I’m pretty focused on the novels right now.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

JS: The writing. I’m a pretty harsh critic of my own work. I tend to do a lot of drafts. It’s all about putting in the time for me.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

JS: In my opinion, Robert Benchley is one of the funniest people to ever live. I don’t even know if he’s in print, but everyone should seek him out. I remember reading him for the first time and thinking, “This guy is just ripping off Woody Allen.” And then I realized he was doing it forty years before Woody Allen. Wholly original and laugh-out-loud funny, his writing constantly surprises me.

Where would you like to travel someday to do a book signing?

JS: I’ll answer for my wife. Paris.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

JS: The doubt. You write this thing and it makes sense to you, but you never really know if it’s going to make sense to anyone else.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

JS: There’s a character that’s a version of my father in my first novel. He passed away in 1997. The writing of that book gave me the opportunity to have a few more conversations with him. Not ones that we had, but ones that we could have had. That was something special. I still learn from him.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

JS: Don’t give writing advice. It always bites you in the ass.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

JS: I’m going to try to make you care about people that you wouldn’t like if you met them in real life. Give them a chance.

What books/authors have influenced your writing?

JS: It’s hard to pin down, but Jonathan Latimer, a somewhat forgotten hard-boiled crime novel from the 1940s had a huge influence on me. While Hammett and Chandler are obviously big, Latimer’s books are really funny, while still hard-boiled. And that was something I wanted to try to do.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

JS: I don’t really believe in writer’s block. I write every day no matter what. It’s hard to get writer’s block if you just keep writing.

If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

JS: Coffee and Beer: A Johnny Shaw Fiasco

 

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About Johnny Shaw

Johnny Shaw was born and raised on the Calexico/Mexicali border, the setting for his Jimmy Veeder Fiasco novels, Dove Season and Plaster City. Dove Season won the Spotted Owl Award for Debut Mystery, was nominated for the Spinetingler Award, and earned year-end “Best of” mentions from outlets including Booklist, Grift Magazine, Barnes & Noble’s Mystery Blog, LitReactor, Spinetingler Magazine, and Murder by the Book. He is also the author of the Anthony Award-winning adventure novel, Big Maria.

His shorter work has appeared in Thuglit, Crime Factory, Shotgun Honey, Plots with Guns, and numerous anthologies. He is the creator and editor of the fiction magazine,Blood & Tacos, which recently added a phone app, a Podcast, and a book imprint to its empire.

Johnny lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, artist Roxanne Patruznick.

About love2dazzle

Ali Kiki is a reader, writer, reviewer, blogger, and photographer in Portland, OR. An avid reader since childhood, you can usually find her devouring a book or stalking the bookstagram hashtag in her lovely apartment surrounded by books. Ali has been blogging since 2006 and she created Dazzled by Books in 2012. Her most recent adventure is making bookish candles for Stub Tail Candle Co., which are sold on Etsy.

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