How do I unlock my iPhone?

I don’t know. I’m sorry. I tried to look it up for you but there’s just too much technical information out there and sometimes it gets really overwhelming. I gave up.

But, if you’re interested, I do have a novel coming out. It’s called Gospel Hollow. It’s about a man named Tommy Hull, who’s a 26-year-old bartender self-medicating his debilitating panic attacks with booze and Xanax. When Tommy was 11 years old, his mother put he and his brother, Henry, to bed one night, kissed them on their heads, and went downstairs.

She has not been seen since.

Now, Tommy has become obsessed with this idea of recreating exactly what happened that night. His plan is pretty simple. He just has to gather together Henry, who’s just about to be released from a medium-security prison; his father, who’s slipping into alcoholic dementia; and the man who their mother was having an affair with, and get them all together in one room. Then he has to somehow compel them to strip away almost 15 years worth of lies and silence.


Was 9/11 an inside job?

No, it was not.

The idea for Gospel Hollow developed pretty slowly. It was two unrelated events, about a year or so apart, that triggered the story and manner in which it was told. There was a newspaper article, which I’d kept, about a woman who’d disappeared, and I went back to it often because there was this story of my own that I was sort of spinning off of it, but the story didn’t quite fit together. I knew the characters and I saw these two brothers very clearly, but the narrative just wasn’t coming out right. Then, about a year later, I was reading a Dashiell Hammett novel and it just struck me that this was how I wanted to tell the story. So I used the framework of the Hammett/Chandler detective novel to tell this very insular family drama.


Can I get pregnant if I give my boyfriend a handjob in a hot tub?


While the mystery of what happened to their mother is the engine driving the story forward, at its core this is really a story about these two brothers’ relationship. I think it’s a very common and very powerful kind of relationship—that forced intimacy of close family with whom you have nothing in common but history. Tommy and Henry are very different people, and though their lives are probably easier when they’re apart, Tommy forces this reunion—as he forces every interaction in the novel—in an attempt to solve a perceived mystery that none of the other characters are interested in solving.


Is “Cat AIDS” a real thing?


Over time I noticed a core question evolving naturally within the novel: can memory truly be trusted? Is memory ever reliable? I read an article once that said that when we experience something that we deem valuable our mind records the memory. But then, when we tell that memory as a story our mind writes over the image of the actual event with the image which fills our mind during the telling. Details change. And on the fourth telling I actually see—in my mind’s eye—and believe that I broke that glass on accident, or that it was the girl I had the crush on, and not her friend, who said that funny, insightful thing.


Does the kid from A Christmas Story do porn?

Sort of. Ralphie does not do porn, but Flick (the kid who got his tongue stuck to the pole) did do porn for a while. Flick though, is more famous as Master Bates (Ha!) from The Toy. So it’s probably more accurate to say the kid from The Toy did porn.

There’s an immediacy and brevity to this story. It was one of the only things about it that didn’t have to develop over time. Right away I knew that I wanted this to be something like The Great Gatsby or The Stranger (he said, comparing them only in length) that you could read in a sitting or two. I’ve always loved those novels that might be novellas: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Legends of the Fall, Jesus’ Son, a bunch of Raymond Chandler novels, and on and on. There’s just always been something about books that I can consume almost in one bite, without spreading them over weeks in the gaps of my life. I submerge myself completely in them and I don’t come up until I’m done. I love that feeling. I get giddy at the prospect that someone may feel that with my book.

TAGS: , , , , , , ,

JESSE JORDAN is a writer and editor currently living in the suburbs of Chicago. He is an MFA graduate of Columbia College and a member of Chicago’s “Reading Under the Influence.” His short stories have appeared in numerous publications and Gospel Hollow is his first novel.

One response to “Jesse Jordan: the Google-Search Optimization Self-Interview”

  1. Tommy Connolly says:

    Jesse, funny insightful stuff. I am a Columbia Grad. I just finished a book called Soul Parole: Making Peace with My Mind, GOD and Myself (non-fiction) with the foreword written by Tom Dreesen and Epilogue by David Brenner. How do I get you to review?

    Thanks for your consideration.

    Tommy Connolly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *