Jason Gurley

By day, I'm a user experience designer; by evenings/weekends, I write novels from my home in Scappoose, Ore. My newest is Awake in the World, published February 2019 by Roaring Brook Press; my previous novel, Eleanor, was published by Crown in 2016 and has since been translated into German, Portuguese, and Turkish. I’m currently working on a new project.

Limb from limb from limb

Well, she's finished. Eleanor is complete. 

I kind of want to add an asterisk to that statement, as by now I'm sure you might expect. 

You: Yeah, but... really? Is it really finished?
Me: Yeah!
You: But. 
Me: But... there's still copyediting to do.
You: So... it's not really finished. Not yet. Not really.
Me: (sighs) Not really, no. Not yet. 
You: That's what I thought. 

The hardest part, however, is finished. All the major edits—fixing character motivations, or solving pacing problems—are finished. All that remains is copyedits, which will come in a few weeks. After that, it's really done. But for me, it's really done now. The heavy lifting is finished. What remains is just touchups and corrections. 

Which means it's time to start working on the next project. 

Yesterday I posted this on my Facebook page:

No, that's not a book cover. Don't go getting excited just yet. That's there so I can tease you a little bit. It's a teaser. I spent, oh, seven minutes making it. If that. 

Remember this story? Last year, after Eleanor was self-published, I began a very small project, a short story at best, about some small-town Texas kids who wanted to sneak into a neighbor's swimming pool on a sweltering day. Very quickly, and quite unexpectedly, the story blossomed into something else, kind of a horror tale. To my continued surprise, it kept growing, becoming something of a horror-fantasy, and then becoming something much larger, more desperate. I was very taken with it, whatever it was, and even shared an excerpt of the rough draft.

It's called Limbs, at least for now, and so far as I can tell, it's meant to be a novel about memories, about how important it is not to forget things, or people. But it's also about trees, very important trees that have been forgotten, and have been left to rot. Which wouldn't be much of a problem if they weren't so damned important

With Eleanor's copyedits still several weeks away, now seemed an opportune moment to return to the outline I wrote months ago for this new project. It's been fermenting a bit, and some interesting new things have curled up from this little bed of soil, and I think the book's at once even bigger and more intimate than I originally expected. Like Eleanor, it will be a very human story, thick with emotion, tinged with little auroras of the fantastic. 

Of course, it might stall out, or it might not work, but either way, I've got to figure that out. After a bit more polish on this outline, and a little investigation into these characters, I'm going to start writing again, the first large new project since I completed Eleanor last spring. I'm very excited about this, and not nearly as apprehensive or gun-shy as I thought I might be. 

Eleanor, of course, still remains available on Amazon and elsewhere. It was meant to be removed from sale in March; it looks now like April might be more accurate, so if you'd like to pick up a paperback before the indie edition vanishes forever, now's a good time to make that happen. 

Trees and stuff

DIY book cover design—Part 9: Preparing and exporting your file