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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

ℚ Doc's Codicil - Gary F. Jones

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Doc's Codicil (, BQB Publishing, 345 pages), a Humorous Family Life Mystery.

“Doc’s Codicil by Gary F. Jones is entertaining, wise, and filled with touches of magical realism. I enjoyed following Doc—a dairy veterinarian—on his rounds with his unlikely guardian angel called Doofus. Doc’s family troubles and the authentic details of small-town life are charming and keep the plot moving at a good pace. And what the animals do (and think!) during the local Christmas Nativity play is downright hilarious. If you enjoyed movies where actor Jimmy Stewart conversed with a tall rabbit named Harvey and the angel Clarence in his search for wisdom, you’ll “get” this imaginative debut novel.” ~ 
Christine DeSmet, mystery author, faculty associate and director, Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat, University of Wisconsin-Madison

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||


A very warm welcome to Gary Jones; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for Doc's Codicil?

"In 2006 I tried to imagine how I would explain to five-year-old children what they saw on television on the nightly news. If I could explain that to a five year old, I reasoned that I might be able to make sense of it myself.

We try to teach our children that they should honest, kind, studious, and hard working. Every political leader I’ve ever heard of promises to adhere to those characteristics. What I and what children saw on the news were stories of violence, crime, a seemingly endless war waged for dubious reasons, corporate greed, and political malfeasance. How did we get from what we claim to value to where we were?

Thus was born Doofus the cow-flop fairy, patron fairy of wishful thinking and bad judgement, advisor to presidents and councilor to kings.


With a postulate like that, I could explain today’s news, human history, and the lifetime of questionable decisions I’ve made myself. I added Doofus to the long list of crazy things I and my family had done and those I saw my veterinary clients do, tossed in a little imagination, and “Doc’s Codicil” was born."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"No way would I admit to doing the things Doc did. So-called friends have told me that Doc’s family is similar to mine, Doc’s expertise in bovine medicine mirrors my own, the scenes from his veterinary practice are amalgams of things they know that I saw or did in my practice, and Doc’s world view matches mine.

Other than those trivial points, there is no similarity between the book and my life. This book is a work of fiction. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Doc's Codicil - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The cover of “Doc’s Codicil” shows a mustachioed man with a beer belly wearing a ballerina’s tutu and western boots. He’s standing at a bar (think tavern) where he has set his bottle of beer. In the background is a self-satisfied camel peeking around a decorated Christmas tree.

The artist, Ellis Dixon, read the book before she drew the cover. I think she hit the high points of the book."
Why should we read Doc's Codicil and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"The book is about a middle-aged man struggling with a major decision in his life at the same time that his older children are in college. In the U.S., that is an expensive and stressful time for parents. It was also the time when I left my veterinary practice, returned to graduate school, and embarked on a new career.

I reviewed my life as I wrote the book and discovered several lessons that I should have learned from my experience, but didn’t. Those lessons and how I imagined I’d teach them to my adult children are an essential part of the book’s plot."
Can you tell us something quirky about Doc's Codicil, its story and characters?
"When it comes to quirky, Doofus is hard to top, but squirrel-fishing, the “living nativity” staged by a large church, and a veterinary seminar organized by Doc aren’t far behind."
Who would you recommend Doc's Codicil to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I wrote the book for adults, but young adults may enjoy it. There are a few pages with language some will find objectionable. Anyone who enjoyed the Jimmy Stewart movie, “Harvey,” should find themselves on familiar ground."


If you could / wished to turn Doc's Codicil into a movie, who would be your dream team?

"The living nativity story in the book is the section that would most easily lend itself to rewriting as a film script. That’s a project I’m going to take up next year, but I have to confess that I’m not sufficiently familiar with current movie stars and directors to suggest who I’d picture playing the parts.

The location should be in the American south, somewhere warm enough in December to stage an outdoor pageant, perhaps in the city it occurred."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"My next book, A Jerk, A Jihad, and a Virus, is a comic medical thriller. A manuscript I’m revising is a comic mystery. Doc’s Codicil was the bronze medal winner for the 2015 Foreward Review’s Book of the Year Award in humor. I’ve found it difficult to write anything but comedy.

I enjoy reading comic thrillers and mysteries and science, particularly in the biological sciences."
What is your writing process?
"I get an idea, mull it over for a few months, make a brief outline, procrastinate for six months, and begin typing. Midway through the manuscript, I revise the outline, take the manuscript to writing workshops for advice, and complete the first draft.

I put the chapters on the website Scribophile for critiques, rewrite many times, revise the order of the chapters or change the ending, and submit it to my publisher.

I would not advise anyone to do as I do. It is frustrating, time consuming, and my characters take over the writing during the revision process, or earlier."
What is in store next?
"The next book, A Jerk, A Jihad, and a Virus, was drawn from my time as a graduate student in microbiology. It is available now. It’s the story of Jason, a veterinary virologist at the University of Minnesota. He can’t keep his mouth shut, can’t lie convincingly, and can’t follow orders. He’s an unlikely candidate to help the CIA locate and destroy a deadly hybrid virus stolen from his lab and carried to Yemen. It is a comic medical thriller based on solid science."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"In the past, I was more involved with cattle and horses. We have a one-year-old toy poodle named Max. When he doesn’t get the attention he wants, he steals things and chews on them in front of us. He has destroyed a couple pair of my glasses, multiple pens, and any piece of paper he can get his little jaws around. When he is well behaved, he is our dog. When he’s into trouble, he’s my wife’s."
Hello Max, you beautiful (naughty) boy! Lots of head scratches to you from all of us at BooksChatter!
Yep, I know what you mean, Gary, my partner and I have that same ownership agreement about our cats... Thank you very much for sharing!

Doc's Codicil
Available NOW!

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