Schoonover, Jason 1946-
Schoonover, Jason 1946-
SCHOONOVER, Jason 1946-
PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced Skoon-o-ver; born September 14, 1946, in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada; son of Vernon (in business) and Linda (a teacher; maiden name, Novak) Schoonover; married Donna Jantzen, December 23, 1967 (divorced, 1973); companion of Su Hattori (a nurse and medical researcher). Education: Simon Fraser University, B.A., 1969. Politics: "Free enterprise." Religion: "I believe in a greater intelligence, not religion." Hobbies and other interests: The outdoors, canoeing, hunting, fishing.
ADDRESSES: Home—720 University Dr., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 0J4, Canada. Agent—Mike Hamilburg, Michael J. Hamilburg Agency, 11718 Barrington Ct., Suite 732, Los Angeles, CA. E-mail—jason. [email protected]
CAREER: CKOM-Radio, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, announcer, 1970-71; CFQC-Radio, Saskatoon, announcer, music director, promotion manager, and producer, 1971-77; freelance writer, director, and producer for radio, the stage, newspapers, and magazines, 1977-87; novelist, screenwriter, and film producer, 2003. Rolling Thunder Sound, owner, 1972-77; Schoonover Properties (real estate investment company), owner, beginning 1975; Windjammer Trading, owner, 1978-82; Jewelers Gallery, co-owner, 1979-82; anthropological collector in the East Asia for museums worldwide, 1978-87. Member of Saskatoon media committees of foundations for cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis research; also worked as chair of Saskatoon Block Parent Plan.
MEMBER: Explorers Club (New York; fellow), Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, Bangkok Obliterati.
AWARDS, HONORS: Human Rights Award, B'nai B'rith, 1976, for work as chair of the Saskatoon Block Parent Plan.
The Bangkok Collection (novel), Seal-Bantam (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988, published as Thai Gold, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989, revised edition, Asia Books (Bangkok, Thailand), 2003.
Opium Dream (novel), Asia Books (Bangkok, Thailand), 2002.
Thai Gold (screenplay), 2003.
Also author of "The Cariboo," a one-act play, as yet neither published nor produced. Columnist for Westworld. Contributor to magazines and newspapers.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Manila Galleon, a novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Jason Schoonover once told CA: "I'm a traveler. I was born with a suitcase in one hand and a typewriter in the other. I stumbled across the Far East in the midst of an around-the-world trip in 1978 and was delightfully stunned by the experience—the most exotic chunk of real estate on the planet. The tremendous variety of cultural and sensory experiences made it impossible to be bored there. Since one has only one life to live, I decided to live it in paradise and moved to Bangkok, the hub, in the most exotic country of them all, Thailand, in 1982. Basically, since 1989 I've split my year between there and Canada, where I'm also in love with the outdoors, canoeing, hunting, and fishing.
"With my strong interest in anthropology, I had been immediately drawn to the jungles and so-called 'primitive' groups of the region—the devil dancers of Sri Lanka, the Sherpa of the Himalayas, the hill tribes of the Golden Triangle, and others—on that first trip and launched on collecting rampages, piecing together comprehensive ethnological collections (complete with sound, film, and full documentation to provide museums with all-encompassing display experiences). Soon I was contracting for museums around the world, including the Smithsonian, the National Museums of Canada and Finland, the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the Sankoken of Tenri, Nara, Japan, to name a few. At the same time, I freelanced widely for newspapers and magazines around the United States and Canada, usually on more adventurous themes, including trekking to Mount Everest, white-water rafting, jungle expeditions, and so on.
"When I was twelve years old I made two vows to myself: to live the most adventurous life I could and to become a novelist. Everything I had done previously had been targeted to achieve these goals: avoiding journalism and studying literature so as not to channel what creativity I have, a broad media background and an equally broad business background (as much as I hate it), to experience as much as I could. The years after 1978 largely fulfilled the two original goals and the adventures have been many—too many to describe: being charged by a bull elephant in a Thai jungle, having a scuba regulator pack in suddenly at ninety feet off Zamboanga, going on expeditions to explore underground rivers and neolithic caves, and drinking homemade rice wine with loinclothed happily drunken Igorot ex-headhunters who were sacrificing chickens to check the gallbladders during their annual 'canaos.'
"This lifestyle forms the background to my adventure/thrillers. I aim to write fast-paced, complex, highly entertaining novels—but written against an authentic anthropological, archaeological, historical, and cultural background to give the reader a rewarding experience as well. This is very important to me, providing a window to this incredible world, where the unbelievable is regularly believable. Background accuracy is also very important to me; for example, in The Manila Galleon, a treasure diving story based on the historical Acapulco-Manila galleons, I was fortunate to have Mel Fisher of Key West agree to vet my copy for state-of-the-art accuracy.
"As in the days of Rudyard Kipling and William Somerset Maugham, the Far East attracts a certain type of rugged individualist—deep-sea divers, retired spooks, mercenaries, correspondents, mountaineers, 'jungologists,' and treasure seekers of all ilk—and they all find their way to the bars of Bangkok, the capital, and from there into my books.
"Writing is an adventure as well, exploring the peaks of one's imagination, delighting in the discoveries that appear in the form of the twists and turns of the plot, the development of unusual and interesting characters, the overall complexity that mysteriously bubbles up from the depths. In fact, the creative one is the greatest challenge and expedition of them all."