JE Gurley is 57 years old, retired, born in Corinth, MS, but spent most of his life in Atlanta, GA as a professional chef. He lived a brief time in the Poconos in PA but now lives in Tucson, AZ with his wife, Kim, and their two cats, Elsie and Shoes. When not writing, he plays guitar and keyboards in local Tucson rock and roll and blues bands.
Jim, welcome. Please tell us about your current release.
Hell Rig takes place on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico between Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Twenty-two men die mysteriously on Global Oil rig #13 during Katrina. The one survivor suffered a mental breakdown. Three weeks later, he and a crew from Re-berth, Inc. go to the rig to refurbish it. When they began to die horrible deaths, Jeff Towns and Lisa Love discover they are facing Damballah Wedo, father of all voodoo Loas. They battle voodoo spirits, deadly fog, an unseen murderer, Hurricane Rita, and their zombie dead friends.
What inspired you to write this book?
I worked on an oil rig for a while in 1976-77. I used my experiences then and added a New Orleans voodoo flair. It’s dangerous enough on an oil rig without zombies.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Blood Lust, with a serial killer vampire who is really a Chupacabra; not the ‘goat-sucker’ myth, but the basis for all vampire and gargoyle legends. The Chupacabra is strong, flies, very intelligent and lives for hundreds of years. Oh, yeah. Did I tell you he was pregnant?
Please tell us a bit about your writing life.
I’ve always written for myself and friends, but I sold my first story in 2004 and added about 35 to that total. My first real novel is Hell Rig from Damnation Books, though I have self-published 3 novels through Lulu.com. I write constantly and have four novels making the publishing rounds and about six in the works.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My first sale – a children’s ghost story titled “Memories in Green” about haunted kudzu. We have a lot of that in Atlanta.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full-time, off and on all day and night. I play music, all kinds and play in local bands sometimes. I make time to write. You have to. You can’t sit down for thirty minutes and expect to gather your thoughts and put them down.
What do you do for fun (other than write)?
I play guitar, keyboards, bass, read, hike, and party with friends.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have a macabre sense of humor. Does that count? No, I would say my deep Southern drawl. I can’t get rid of it. It shows up sometimes in characters. I’m always fighting with Spellcheck on my computer about a word or sentence structure I’ve used all my life. My parents and grand parents, like a lot of country folk, weren’t well schooled. My syntax sometimes sucks.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Hmm? Either a research scientist or a demolition expert. I studied per-medtech for 3 years before I grew bored with school. Traveling and playing in rock and roll bands was more fun. I still love to research my stories though. It keeps my mind sharp. I did manage to blow up some stuff working on the Tenn-Tom Waterway in TN, MS. And AL, along canal that lets ships and barges go from the Tenn. River to Mobile Bay, at least it was supposed to. It’s mainly used by skiers. Our tax dollars at work.
That’s a great closing, Jim. 🙂 Thanks for being here today. Best wishes for your future writing projects.