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.

Blue eyes cryin'

A couple of years ago, after I gave my first official reading for Eleanor, and after I'd signed books for the readers in line, and after I'd signed stock for the bookstore, I turned to Kevin Sampsell —who is not only a bookseller at Powell's, but a wonderful author and publisher — in fact, he published one of my favorite collections of short stories, which is called The Heart is Also a Furnace, by Magdalen Powers, and which of course you all should read — I turned to Kevin and I handed him my reading copy of Eleanor and a pen, and he said, "What?" I asked if he would sign it. "Oh," he said. "Of course." And he signed it.

I didn't do as many readings of the novel as I would have needed to turn the book into my own literary equivalent of Trigger, Willie Nelson's guitar, and that probably never would have happened anyway, given that books have a shorter life than guitars, and before you've had a chance to wear one down with signatures of booksellers and librarians and what-not, you've written another one, and that's the one you take out on the road, now. 

But it occurred to me today that my reading copy of Eleanor had probably seen its last appearance out in the world, and it was probably time to retire it away to my shelf of memories. So here she is, before she goes. Eleanor, not nearly as worn as I'd have hoped, but still filled with the ghosts of a few good times.

The jewel of Morro Bay, Ca.

Leaky murder machines