Deep Fire Rise by Jon Gosch
2019 Spur Award Finalist
Television appearance on Book Chat, KLTV
"The greatest geological event of our times finally has the novel it deserves. While the literature of Mt. St. Helens is rich in documentation and description, Deep Fire Rise is the first fiction of note to come out of that earth-shattering eruption. And fine fiction it is, melding Jon Gosch's taut, fresh style with an unforgettable cast and a riveting plot that gathers with all the tension and inexorability of the very eruption itself."
--Robert Michael Pyle, 2x Washington State Book Award winner and author of Wintergreen and Where Bigfoot Walks
"For every one hundred authors who rack their brains and snap their pencils as they make doomed attempts to plot the perfect setting for their fledgling stories, there is one Jon Gosch."
--Jordan Nailon, The Chronicle
"Deep Fire Rise is a murder mystery, a character study, and a depiction of place that builds in tension like a swelling volcano. Having covered the eruption of Mount St. Helens as a journalist and ridden with Clark County deputies, I can testify just how impressively Jon Gosch has captured that time and culture."
--William Dietrich, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and NY Times bestselling author of the Ethan Gage adventure series
"Deep Fire Rise rings with authenticity. The intimate, complicated, and downright strange relationships amongst the people in these small towns are pitch perfect, as is the music of the dialogue and rhythms of the prose."
--Bruce Holbert, Washington State Book Award-winning author of The Hour of Lead
"Deep Fire Rise perfectly captures the world of Mount St. Helens at its most terrifying moment. A magnificent read."
--Terry Trueman, Printz Honor Author of Stuck in Neutral
"A bright young talent is on display in this vivid, avant-garde take on our local lore."
--Michael Gurian, NY Times bestselling author of The Wonder of Boys
From the back cover:
"It is 1980 and Deputy Wilson has been banished to a backwoods district in the shadow of Mount St. Helens. His duty is to protect a humble rural populace from the miscreants and misfits who lurk at this fringe of society – an all-too-human cast of white supremacists, PCP brewers, Sasquatch hunters, and hermetic schizophrenics.
That spring the volcano awakens from its long dormancy. Earthquakes rock the locals in their beds. Plumes of ash blot out the sun. Amidst the rising threat of eruption, a horrific act of bloodshed will propel Deputy Wilson to the very flanks of the smoking volcano on a mission that blurs the line between justice and vengeance.
A genre-defying blend of mystery and history, Deep Fire Rise is also an homage to the everyday heroism of a profession so often maligned in America today. Dark yet tender, comedic yet sincere, this carefully crafted novel builds into a climax as shocking and unforgettable as the events of May 18, 1980."
Q & A with the author:
What is your personal connection to the backcountry that surrounds Mount St. Helens?
"I was born and raised in Longview and grew up hunting and hiking all around Mount St Helens. My dad was a Longview police sergeant when the volcano blew in 1980, and for two decades my brother has been a deputy sheriff in north Clark County where much of the book is set. There are other connections as well. My good friend, Mark Smith, lived and worked at Spirit Lake Lodge, which his family owned until it was destroyed by the eruption. Mark's brother was probably the last person to see Harry Truman alive."
What feedback have you gotten from locals who live in the area?
"Many locals have commented on how historically accurate the book is, which is gratifying because my research was painstaking -- both in the library and in the passenger seat of my brother's police car. One of the funniest things locals tell me is that they know exactly who the real Elmer Bugg is. He's a schizophrenic, old man who lives in a moldering trailer and a key character in the book. I sometimes have a hard time breaking it to people that he was totally fictional, one of the few characters not based on anyone at all. Guess my descriptions were convincing!"
What do you think it is about the book that resonates with readers?
"Deep Fire Rise continues to resonate with readers, I think, because it immerses them in a fascinating period of history and because the characters and situations ring so true emotionally. The book moves quickly, yet it's the humanity and humor of the characters -- even the vile ones -- that keeps people turning the pages. Also, readers love the main character, Deputy Wilson. He's flawed but truly heroic, like most of the cops I know."
Were you shocked when the book was honored as one of three Spur Award Finalists for Best Western Contemporary Novel? (Not that it wasn't deserving!)
"I always felt that Deep Fire Rise had a chance to break through, however, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't gobsmacked when I received the email that it was one of three finalists for a pretty prestigious award. I feel like I'm in damn good company!"
Voted one of the top 75 novels of the Pacific Northwest by Goodreads!
May 18, 2019: Reading at Vault Books & Brew, Castle Rock, WA @ 6 p.m.
May 17, 2019: Presentation at the Lower Columbia College Volcano Conference
October 17, 2018: Reading at the Spokane Public Library, downtown branch, 6-8 p.m.
September 11, 2018: Reading at WordFest, Cassava Coffeehouse, 1333 Broadway, Longview @ 6 p.m.
September 11, 2018: Interview on Book Chat, KLTV
May 22, 2018: Reading at the Longview Public Library 7:00-8:30 p.m. for Northwest Voices
May 22, 2018: Writing workshop 3:30-5:00 p.m. at Lower Columbia Community College
May 21st, 2018: Interview with Vikki Carter, Podcast Producer at SquishPen Productions, 3:30 p.m.