Jason S. Hornsby is a writer and literature teacher. His critically acclaimed major debut, Every Sigh, The End, was published by Permuted Press in 2007. Hornsby’s short stories have appeared in the anthology Times of Trouble. His most recent novel, Eleven Twenty-Three, was released in August 2010.
About the Author
Hornsby was born on January 31, 1982 in the small town of Lakeland, Florida. He spent much of his time in primary school writing short stories and poetry. After graduating from Kathleen Senior High School in May 2000, only five months after the Y2K scares had subsided, Hornsby enrolled at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he majored in English and American Studies. It was during this period that he began to develop what would become his signature writing style, influenced by authors such as Joan Didion, Ernest Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy, Bret Easton Ellis, and Hunter S. Thompson.
During Hornsby’s sophomore year, he wrote the insipid, perfunctory novel The Perfect Spiral, which dealt with narcoleptic terrorists, aliens from spiral dimensions, the existential dilemmas of youth, and the 1980s rock group The B-52’s. Spiral was published through iUniverse in 2002. Following this experience, Hornsby decided not to attempt to publish any further work. He continued hammering out manuscripts though, and between The Perfect Spiral and Every Sigh, The End, he completed no less than three unread, forgotten novels. His senior thesis for American Studies was a comparative examination of the socio-cultural implications of the modern zombie film. His final creative writing project was a novel of interrelated, highly personal short stories called A Conversation on Belladonna.
While in college, Hornsby shifted from job to job in an effort to support himself while studying. He had stints as a cashier at McDonald’s, a waiter in a posh nursing home dining room, a customer service agent at a cutthroat loan agency, a food deliveryman in an assisted living facility, a late-night security guard at a car auction, and a telemarketer at a fake police charity.
Hornsby graduated Magna Cum Laude from USF in December 2004. Upon graduating, he left Tampa and returned to his hometown. Unable to procure gainful employment or make use of his degree, Hornsby again slipped into depression and post-graduate angst, a condition exacerbated by several failed relationships and health issues. He began working on his zombie opus, Every Sigh, The End, at this time.
Every Sigh, The End
While living with friends in rural Polk County following graduation, Hornsby began writing his zombie novel. One year later, Every Sigh, The End was finished. The author self-published the book under the assumption that it was too bizarre, too misanthropic, to ever find much of an audience. Much to his surprise, however, the book was discovered by author Travis Adkins, who passed it up to Jacob Kier at Permuted Press. A few months later, Every Sigh was re-released, this time to greater reader attention and critical accolades.
Every Sigh, The End was one of the first books published under the Permuted Press banner, and has enjoyed much critical success. Many reviewers praised the book for its originality, self-referential structure, scares, and vivid characterizations.
Hornsby became actively involved in the Free Burma movement in 2007, and decided to create something which mirrored the atrocities in Myanmar. The political situation in Southeast Asia and Japanese horror aesthetics both heavily influenced what would become Eleven Twenty-Three. The book was released through Permuted Press in August 2010, and the author considers it a "companion piece" of sorts to his Permuted debut Every Sigh. Both novels feature similar themes of alienation and existentialism from their protagonists, as well as multi-layered conspiracies and government cover-ups.
Desert Bleeds Red
In 2008, Hornsby bid America farewell and moved to Beijing to continue with his writing and teaching. He would remain in China for nearly four years, and in this extended period of time there was rarely a dull moment. The author hit the bars and clubs; explored every back alley of the ancient capital; befriended hundreds of Beijingers, migrants, businessmen, street sweepers, missionaries, and international criminals; dated and fell in love with many women; and traveled to some of the most exotic and unheard of areas of the country. It was in 2009 that Hornsby first began sketching ideas and conducting research for what would become his most complex, frightening, and epic novel, Desert Bleeds Red. Hornsby traveled to the unstable region of Xinjiang Province twice in the following two years, as well as rural areas of Sichuan, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Linxia, and Shanxi. He saw things while living in China that he will never unsee.
The author began writing Desert Bleeds Red just before his marriage to Megan Tian of Inner Mongolia in early 2011. The novel was completed in 2013, and published in early summer, 2014. Desert Bleeds Red is widely regarded as the author’s greatest and most distinguished literary horror work.
- The Perfect Spiral (Independent, 2002)
- Every Sigh, The End (Independent, 2006 | Permuted Press, 2007)
- Eleven Twenty-Three (Permuted Press, 2010)
- Desert Bleeds Red (Permuted Press, TBR)
- "The Grandfather Clause" in Times of Trouble (Permuted Press, 2013)