Drama and Diplomacy in Sultry Puerto Vallarta by Jenny McGill

About the author:

Jenny McGill grew up in the Deep South in Mississippi. After schooling she moved to Dallas where she met her husband, Howard. Their love of Mexico brought them to an early semi-retirement in 1973 in Puerto Vallarta.

Jenny and Howard, moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 1973. She was appointed consular agent by the U.S. State Department in 1982 and spent fourteen years in that position.

Upon retirement, the McGills sought out the tranquility of the western Sierra Madres in the small village of Talpa de Allende, Jalisco. There she devotes her time to writing, promoting local artists and gardening. She says, "My love of robin-egg blue skies, breath taking sunsets that only God could paint, and music, which falls softly on my ear, is reason enough to be in Mexico."

You can visit her website at http://www.mjmcgill.com/.

Here is an interview with the author:

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Drama & Diplomacy: In Sultry Puerto Vallarta describes how a sleepy fishing village was catapulted into a thriving metropolis by John Huston’s film, Night of the Iguana. I lived in Puerto Vallarta twenty-five years, fourteen of which I served as a consular agent to the U.S. Government.

The Department of State referred to consular agent work as dealing with what was called the four Ds: Detentions, Destitutes, Disappearances and Death. In Drama & Diplomacy, I addressed those Ds and added a few of my own such as Dames on my Path, Dirty Old Men and Dope. I rubbed elbows with visiting royalty, heads of states, movie stars, and famous authors. At the same time, I was rubbing elbows with drug lords, murderers, thieves, rapists and the general scum of the earth.

The story is true. All the characters have valid dates and places of birth, but I changed many of their names. Even though it deals with some pretty grim situations, I’ve tried to keep factual but light.

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

I think I wrote it as a catharsis. Some of years, back in the mid-80s, were traumatic and emotional for American tourist in Mexico.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My husband.

Your biggest critic?

I guess I am or maybe the critics don’t talk to me.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

Education and promotion of the youth. When I first came to Mexico in 1973, I taught English in public schools and government offices. I directed my own language school for several years. I was assisted by another American teacher and I hired a Mexican to give Spanish lessons to the foreigners. Since I retired from the consular agency in 1996 and moved to a small mountain village about a three-hour drive from Puerto Vallarta, I have organized successful exhibitions for young artists in this region. It is amazing how talented some of these young people are today. Like everywhere else, their minds are cluttered with television, computers and boogie cars, but they live very close to nature and are able to express that on a canvas, in a song, in the theatre or on a dance floor.

In the last year have you learned or improved on any skills?

Spanish is an ongoing learning process for me, even though I’ve lived in Mexico thirty-five years. I write for several Mexican publications and that keeps me on my toes.

Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?


What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a manuscript with the working title of The Woman in the Trunk. I saw an ancient wooden trunk in the corral of one of my rancher friends. It is what is called the ‘humpback’ trunk. Its lid was open and on the inside of the lid was the portrait of a beautiful woman. Fortunately, I have been able to delve into this woman’s past and hers is an interesting story. The setting is Jalisco, Mexico in the 1860s when the village where I live was a thriving mining town.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

I don’t have any advice for readers. I’ve been an avid reader all my life. I’ve never put a book down regardless of how bad the read was, I always learned something from it whether I liked it or not. For writers, I encourage anyone who has a story in him (and we all do) get out there and pen it. Some of us readers will enjoy what you have to say.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I would like to see every one of you take a long, hard look at today’s young folks. Encourage them to express their pent up emotions by writing, painting, singing, dancing or in any other positive way. It’s a good feeling and makes somebody else happy.

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