Headley, Jason 1973-
HEADLEY, Jason 1973-
PERSONAL: Born 1973, in WV. Education: Davis & Elkins College, B.A.
Small Town Odds, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel about moonshine makers during Prohibition.
SIDELIGHTS: West Virginia native Jason Headley set his novel Small Town Odds in the state where he grew up. "I know who the people are and how they talk and what's important to them," the author told Lonnie Martin in an interview on the Santa Fe Writer's Project Web site. "I spent twenty-two years in West Virginia. Even though I moved away, I still like it and have a fondness for it. The characters, the people are more interesting to me."
In his novel, Headley tells the story of Eric Mercer from the fictional town of Pinely, West Virginia. Eric has always dreamed of moving on from the small-town environs and seems on his way when he receives a scholarship to an Ivy League school. When he ends up staying in Pinely after getting a girl pregnant, Eric grows increasingly bitter, partly because he has remained in Pinely, but also because he has always loved another woman, Jill Dupree, who has moved on from the small town where they grew up. In Eric's eyes, the only redeeming aspect of his life is his five-year-old daughter, Tess. Then Jill suddenly returns after her father dies, and Eric must face his dissatisfaction with life and decide on his future. Beth Gibbs, writing in the Library Journal, called the book "a graceful entrance into the world of fiction." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "Headley's winning wit and his compassionate, delightful prose mark him as a bright new talent." In a review for Booklist, Allison Block commented: "Despite its occasionally clunky prose, this is a sweet, candid tale about finding contentment when life doesn't go as planned."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Adweek, February 16, 2004, Tim Nudd, "A Candidate with the Write Stuff," p. 30.
Booklist, September 15, 2004, Allison Block, review of Small Town Odds, p. 207.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2004, review of Small Town Odds, p. 764.
Library Journal, September 1, 2004, Beth Gibbs, review of Small Town Odds, p. 140.
Publishers Weekly, August 16, 2004, review of Small Town Odds, p. 41.
Jason Headley Home Page, http://www.jasonheadley.com (May 9, 2005).
Powells.com, http://www.powells.com/ (May 9, 2005), Davie Weich, interview with Headley.