VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?
SHAW: When my first book came out, I wanted to do a reading in my hometown where the book was set, or at least somewhere in the Imperial Valley.
First I contacted the library, but it had been condemned due to a recent earthquake. Next I contacted the one bookstore that I knew was in town, but it had recently closed. The only other bookstore was the adult bookstore on the edge of town called Books ‘n’ Things. To be perfectly honest, it didn’t have a lot of book. It was mostly things. I considered doing the reading there, but the area in front of the beaded curtain was too small.
So I contacted a few bars in town. Hot Rods & Beer in Holtville, California is a former garage converted into a bar, and they were more than happy to let me bring a little spoken word to the place. It ended up being a great night with a bunch of people coming out, and now I almost exclusively read in bars. Since I write in bars, it makes sense.
Johnny Shaw is the author of the novels DOVE SEASON, BIG MARIA, PLASTER CITY, and most recently FLOODGATE. His short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Plots With Guns, Shotgun Honey, Crime Factory, Blood & Tacos, and numerous anthologies. He was won the Anthony Award and two Spotted Owl Awards. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Come see Johnny read at 3rdSpace in San Diego on Saturday, February 20 at 7pm.
Photo by Rose O’Keefe.