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I had always doubted myself as a writer. Not anymore.

Author Q&A with Gordon Gravley

Gordon Gravley hails from the (sometimes chilly) Northwest United States.

Gordon first contacted us at the start of 2018, looking to update the covers for two of his novels, ‘Gospel for the Damned’ and ‘The Quieting West’.

We were thrilled to work with him to create new cover designs for his highly rated books, and also managed to sneak in a chat to find out a little bit more about him and his writing process.

Here Gordon tells us about a 25 year learning process, his interest in the Old West, and how maturity has benefitted his writing.

Q. Tell us how you got into writing

I’ve always made up stories, in some form or another. Elaborate playtime as a child morphed into handmade comic books (complete with fake ads), then became Super 8mm movies. When I took a drama class in high school, my story-telling took the form of one-act plays. I wrote a few screenplays in my twenties, none of which saw the light of the silver screen. It was in my thirties that I took the plunge to being a “real” writer and I began writing short stories and experienced real rejection from publishers.

One of those short stories became, after an arduous, 25-year learning process, my first novel, Gospel for the Damned. It was kindly rejected for publication (numerous times) with the explanation that while my writing was good, it wasn’t marketable. It was then I chose to self-publish.

I released my second book, The Quieting West, in July of 2017.

Q. Where do you write?

In a small space that also serves as a guest room, library, and music room.

Q. What have you learned about yourself through your writing?

One reason I came to finish my first novels so late in life is that I had always doubted myself as a writer.

Not anymore.

My first novel was a bear; the result is satisfactory, but I’ll always think it could have been a little better. My second went much easier, and I feel it’s exponentially better. I’m hoping that trend continues.

Q. Where do you get the ideas for your characters and your ideas in general from?

Characters can come from any number of places. Some are based on people I know; some are composites of people I’ve met. Others are completely fabricated from the corners of my imagination.

Characters can come from any number of places. Some are based on people I know; some are composites of people I’ve met. Click To Tweet

As far as ideas, each story is different. The Quieting West developed from my interests in the Old West and the Silent Film Era. Other concepts literally just come out of nowhere. I often wonder myself how I thought them up.

Q. How have your life experiences influenced your writing?

I mentioned above, with a tinge of regret, that I didn’t come to writing novels until much later in my life. (I’m 57.) Honestly, though, I don’t think I could have written these books, or come up with the ideas that I have for subsequent novels, when I was younger. The things I’ve done and experienced, the people I’ve known, the places I’ve lived, have all shaped and contributed to my perspective as an author, the lens through which I write. I think the reason nothing I wrote when I was in my twenties or thirties amounted to anything is because my work lacked the kind of maturity or substantial insight that comes from having been around a few years.

Q. What advice would you give to other writers looking to self-publish?

Don’t rush to self-publish. Exhaust the traditional path first, unless the stress and headache of simply writing isn’t enough for you and you’re a glutton for further punishment. If you choose to do it all yourself, have realistic expectations and fully embrace the role of a publisher: i.e., hire someone to edit your book, pay a designer for the cover and one for the interior, perform due diligence regarding marketing and promotion. There is an exhausting amount of details to manage, and I personally can’t say it’s been particularly satisfying. Yet.

Q. Which book has influenced you the most and why?

There’s not a single book, but the singular works of John Irving has been my greatest source of inspiration as a writer.

Q. What’s next for you in your writing career?

My next novel I can only describe as an 18th Century-clockwork-tragic-romantic-fantasy. My goal is to release it by April 2019, in time for Independent Bookstore Day, which is a pretty big deal here in the Northwest U.S. And you can bet I’ll be deferring to Bespoke for the cover design.

Q. And finally, what would people be surprised to know about you?

I once worked as a veterinary technician.

Gordon Gravley’s books are available to buy on Amazon.

You can also visit Gordon’s website.

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.




We’re Peter and Caroline O’Connor. Creating beautiful book cover designs for authors all over the world is our passion. Every author should be able to benefit from a beautiful book cover design (not just the lucky few who get signed by a big publisher). We design, podcast, and coach authors full-time so we understand your struggles.  Currently accepting new clients.