Virtual Book Tour Dates:2/17/14 - 3/17/14
Set against the backdrop of a city under quarantine, Gospel for the Damned is an episodic and introspective novel that follows young journalist Aaron Garrett on his three day assignment within sequestered San Francisco. His assignment: Interview The Elliots, family of the missing minister suspected of releasing the deadly Omega virus.
What he finds is a fractured community and a myriad of ways of facing hopelessness: clinging to normalcy in banal routines; thrill seeking in dangerous truth-or-dare games; mercy killing and federally sanctioned euthanasia; embracing sorrow through macabre celebrations; and searching for God where faith has been abandoned.
Together with The Elliot Family, Aaron embarks on a mission to save someone, anyone, from a doomed existence.
This is Gordon Gravley’s first literary work, and its philosophical leanings may very well provoke questions of your own about the world we live in, and the future we face.
It was an opportunity that would make my career or crumble it, and I’d like to say it came to me by way of my diligence and journalistic talent. But truthfully, I was given the assignment for the simple reason that I was the only one on staff at the Sound who tested as resistant to the Omega virus; it was my luck to be in the 2 percent of the nation immune to a disease that, to date, had wiped out a third of the West Coast’s population.
About Gordon Gravley:
After decades of self-doubt and errant life choices, Gordon Gravley finally came to write this, his first novel, and is now diligently working on his next two. He and his wife currently reside in the Northwestern United States.
Connect with the Author:
My First Book
I finished writing Gospel for the Damned, my first book - about a journalist who spends three days within the quarantined city of San Francisco - a little over three years ago. I had developed it from a short story I wrote in 1994, almost thirty years before.
The short story, A Little Reality Never Killed Anyone, is about a group of teens in some kind of dystopian world who play dangerous truth-or-dare games to conquer their fear of living day-to-day. It's not very good. I'm not just saying this to be humble or self-deprecating, it's really not good. (One magazine that rejected my submission wrote - and I'm paraphrasing, only slightly - "We're not interested in your story. We only publish good writing.") But, it was one of the first and few short stories I ever wrote, and I will always cherish it as one of the many, necessary steps I took in becoming a novelist.
So, why thirty years to write my first novel?
First, I didn't know what the hell I was doing. A story of a few pages length is one thing. A book of 200-plus pages, with real character development, detailed settings, and a cohesive story arc is a whole other realm of organization and creativity. I must have written a dozen or more outlines, trying to figure out how to connect all the different elements that were swirling around in my imagination.
Also, I had a number of strong characters with very distinct experiences. So I wrote three or four first drafts, each from the perspective of the various characters (written in first person). Yet, none of the early drafts worked because I couldn't coherently tell the story of all the characters from the point-of-view of only one of them. I also tried approaching it as a collection of stories connected by a common thread, like Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, or Hemingway's Nick Adams stories. But that merely complicated what had already become a daunting task.
How about writing from the omniscient or detached viewpoint? I thought to myself. I wrote one such draft that just didn't sound right; the story called for a more intimate narration than that.
In 2004, I took a course in the writing of research papers. (I had a vague plan of getting a degree in the field of linguistics.) I wrote two pretty good papers, if I do say so myself, both of which had an unintended journalistic voice to them. And there was the answer to my dilemma: write my novel from the point-of-view of a journalist, from the outside, looking in. It was quite astounding how everything fell into place with that realization.
The second reason (or excuse, depending on how you look at such things) was the single greatest challenge that I think every writer faces - Life. It can sure get in the way. Working to pay the bills and a difficult first marriage, to name two things. But, and this would be my first piece of advice to any aspiring author, it's amazing how much you can produce with only one hour a day dedicated to writing and only writing. That's all. An hour a day.
Lastly, the greatest deterrent to the completion of my first book was, simply, fear of failure. I'd spent (or wasted, depending on how you look at such things) so much of my life chasing rainbows (like a linguistics degree) that when it came to doing the one thing I felt I had a certain amount of skill in and true passion for - writing - I became incapacitated with the fear of it not working out, of failing, and then where would I be?
Well, it did work out, because I realized the only way I would fail is if I didn't try.
One lucky winner will win a signed print copy of Gospel for the Damned. The giveaway will run the length of the tour, USA only please!