He should know--Lulu, his "debut" novel, was his ninth book. The first eight didn't make it out the drawer. But since Lulu made her entrance four years ago, he's been a writing machine, publishing WEST OF HERE (Algonquin, 2011), a sweeping tale with over 40 characters, and THE REVISED FUNDAMENTALS of CAREGIVING (Algonquin, 2012). At least two more are clearing the pipeline. He noted he's "always working', usually on three projects at a time.
I had the pleasure of hearing Jonathan speak at the Baltimore Book Festival, a weekend of all things, well, books. Across the street, a jazz band tooted foot-tapping music at Centerstage's theater festival, but even above the trumpets' wails, Jonathan kept me rapt. He talked about how family history and grief shape his writing, and place and environment. He spoke of persistence in writing what he is called to write, and not focusing on publication, fame, and reward. Perhaps he did not realize it while speaking, but his words encouraged the writers in the audience looking to tell honest stories.
Jonathan is a gracious writer. He took time to speak with my daughter Lea, and even pose for a picture. Lea was curious--why did he always wear his hat? And while he did not answer the question directly--it turns out the hat was his grandfather's, a "cheap" hat meant to be crushed and shoved in pockets that has withstood over fifty years of use--perhaps he did. Because like that hat, Jonathan Evison's stories are timeless and sturdy.
Twenty pages into REVISED FUNDAMENTALS, I am hooked. No surprise there. More later this month with a review. Peace...