– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Trail of the Jaguar’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Jonathan Hanson grew up northeast of Tucson, Arizona, with Sabino and Bear Canyons as his backyard, providing him with years of desert expeditions, hunting like the Apaches and building wickiups (which failed spectacularly).
He has since written for a score of outdoor and adventure magazines including Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Nature Conservancy, and Global Adventure, and has authored a dozen books on subjects including natural history, sea kayaking, wildlife tracking, and expedition travel.
Jonathan’s exploration experience encompasses land- and sea-scapes on six continents, from the Atacama Desert to the Beaufort Sea, from the Rift Valley to the Australian Outback, and modes of transportation from sea kayaks to sailboats to bicycles to Land Cruisers.
He has traveled among and worked with cultures as diverse as the Seri Indians and the Himba, the Inuit and the Maasai. Jonathan has taught tracking, natural history writing, four-wheel-driving techniques, and other subjects for many conservation and government organizations.
He is an elected fellow of the Explorers Club and the Royal Geographical Society, and a charter member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and lives in Southern Arizona with his wife of 37 years, Roseann Beggy Hanson.
You can follow Jonathan’s Overland Tech and Travel blog and order signed books at ExploringOverland.com.
Biologist and wildlife photographer Clayton Porter witnesses what appears to be a routine drug-smuggling flight across the Arizona-Mexico border. Instead, he uncovers a sophisticated operation involving a secret lodge high in the Sierra Madre, canned hunts for endangered jaguars, a ring of opioid-dealing doctors in the U.S., and a string of cartel victims partially consumed by a large predator. After he unwittingly throws a wrench into the works, Porter becomes a target of revenge, and resorts to skills from his military service to save himself and those close to him.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Thank you for the opportunity!
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I grew up in the desert outside Tucson, Arizona, immersed in nature when I wasn’t off in the fantasy worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs or H. Rider Haggard. This set me on a path to becoming a wilderness guide, a safari leader in Kenya and Tanzania, and a freelance writer for publications such as Outside and National Geographic Adventure. I’ve written a dozen non-fiction books, both solo and with my wife, Roseann, on natural history subjects. The fantasy worlds and the natural history finally came together in my first novel, Trail of the Jaguar.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I devoured everything to do with Africa, from Tarzan to Livingstone, as well as the history of the American West and the Mountain Men. I still love histories of all kinds, and I still love well-crafted action/adventure escapism.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I adore Michael Korda’s biography of T.E. Lawrence, Hero. I would love to ask him how he was able to make Lawrence so sympathetic while at the same time being utterly rigorous in his research and in documenting the man’s sometimes-tortured psyche.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I feel like I already know my own characters pretty well! So I’m going to say Allan Quatermain from H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines. He could tell some good tales.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. I usually start writing around 7:00 AM unless I go for a bicycle ride (alternate days). I generally have a second cup of coffee around 10:00. Kinda boring, huh?
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Well, my wife does raise an eyebrow at my more violent concepts now and then. But my ideas come from everywhere. I’m a voracious reader; I love to travel, I follow news from around the world. All input is good input! Every time I think I’m going overboard on a fictional plot, all I have to do is look at world headlines to realize my imagination could never outstrip reality.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
The general plot comes first, but only as a broad outline. From there the story finds me.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Only write what you are passionate about. Craft every sentence as if it were the first one. Be accurate in all real-world details, even in fiction. Put 25 percent of your energy into the opening of your book (or article), another 25 percent into the end, and the rest in the middle.
What are your future plans as an author?
I am working on a sequel to Trail of the Jaguar, which will take Clayton Porter from the southwestern U.S. to the Canadian Arctic
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Sure! Here’s a passage from an incident in the early part of the book, narrated by the protagonist, Clayton Porter, and involving his friend Jedediah Carson, an octogenarian ex-Green Beret. And a cat named Pounce.
“Jed!” I bellowed at the house, although I knew there’d be no response.
I went straight for the door, up the porch and through the opening, completely sun-blind. I sidestepped to get my silhouette out of the light, and swept the room with the Colt’s muzzle. Slowly my pupils dilated.
Jed lay on his back under a shattered window, Winchester leaning against his chest, coagulated blood caking the Two Grey Hills rug beneath him. Too much blood.
I ignored him. There was every chance his assailants had left someone behind to ambush me, and wherever Jed was now he would never forgive me if I took one in the back of the head while crying over his body.
Clearing a building bears no relation to what you see in the movies, with the hero peering through doorways one pie slice at a time. Clearing is tactically the most stupid thing you can do, since your enemy has had time to situate himself behind cover you know not where, almost completely hidden, while you have to expose yourself at every opening. Unless it’s a hostage situation it’s better to just stand back and toss in grenades. But I had no grenades, so I simply went through the house at full speed, hoping a first shot at me would miss and betray the location of the shooter.
Kitchen—clear. Bathroom—clear. Sally’s sewing room—clear. Jaqueline’s room and closet—clear.
I went through the main bedroom door and swept from the left side with the muzzle of the pistol.
Wrong direction. A flash of movement to my right. I spun and crouched, tucking the weapon tight so it couldn’t be grabbed and swiveling it toward the oncoming blur, finger taking up the last gram on the trigger.
Pounce landed on my shoulders, clinging there and mrowling plaintively.
Bloody hell. “Jesus, buddy,” I said. I stroked his head while I cleared the master bath one-handed.
I went back down the hallway to the living room, Pounce sticking to me like a barbed limpet. I looked through the back window into the patio. Nothing there. I went back to the front door to check the yard one more time, really just putting off what I needed to do next.
There was a voice. Not from the yard, but the floor. Garbled and fluid-filled, but a recognizable baritone nonetheless.
“Whenever you’re finished . . . makin’ out with the damn cat . . . do you think you could . . . call me a medic?”
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Jonathan Hanson.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!