Former Rangely resident’s debut novel gets rave reviews

A Rangely High School alumnus, Erik Storey’s debut novel, “Nothing Short of Dying,” has received rave reviews from bestselling authors and reviewers like the New York Times. The book is set in northwestern Colorado. The former Rangely resident now resides in Grand Junction with his wife and two children. courtesy photo

nothing-short_v05_cover1RANGELY | “I got really lucky,” is how former Rangely resident Erik Storey describes the release of his first novel, “Nothing Short of Dying.”
It’s more than luck, though, based on the response from fellow authors and book reviewers.
Jeffery Deaver, No. 1 international bestselling author of “The Bone Collector” and “The Coffin Dancer” calls Storey “a born storyteller.”
Lee Child, creator of the Jack Reacher series, described Storey’s book by saying, “Very, very good. It’s all here.”
And the New York Times book review stated, “The tough-as-they-come hero [is the creation of] a first time novelist who really knows how to handle himself in these thickets…Storey knows and loves this rugged territory.”
That “rugged territory” where the story takes place is Storey’s childhood stomping grounds: northwestern Colorado, particularly Rangely and the Piceance Basin.
“It started with the land,” Storey said. “I wanted to write something about our part of the country. There’s not a lot of stuff written here.”
Storey, who moved to Rangely with his family when he was 4-years-old and was graduated from Rangely High School in 1997, is intimately familiar with the area. His family has a cabin on Piceance Creek where he still spends time during the summer. He grew up hunting, fishing, camping and enjoying the great outdoors.
Storey describes himself as “more of a reader than a writer” while he was growing up in Rangely. “I wrote some short stories,
Inspired by literary characters like Allan Quartermain, the hero of H. Rider Haggard’s series written in the late 1880s, and Lord John Roxton from Arthur Conan Doyle’s series “The Lost World.” Both characters are adventurers, hunters, outdoorsmen.
“Most of the characters are spies or ex-military,” Storey said of his chosen genre. “I wanted to do something different.” And so Clyde Barr—hunter, adventurer and sometime soldier of fortune—came to life.
Storey said he writes mostly during the winter months, while his wife Stephanie, also a former Rangely resident, teaches school. In the summer he took seasonal jobs, most recently spraying weeds in Meeker. The couple have two children, age 10 and 3, and after six years back in Rangely recently moved to Grand Junction.
It took Storey four years to finish the first book, then a year and a half of submitting his manuscript to agents—at least 50 of them—followed by submissions to publishers.
Simon & Schuster offered Storey a two-book contract and a “pretty hefty” advance, which is a remarkable feat for a debut author. “Nothing Short of Dying” was released in August 2016. The second book in the series, which Storey is working on now, is expected to release in August 2017.
He’s hoping Clyde Barr will find a place in the hearts of the readers, because he has “probably 20” situations he’d like to put the character in for future stories.
On his writing schedule, Storey said he aims to complete 1,000 words a day when he’s working on a project, and does most of his writing late at night after his kids have gone to bed.
His biggest surprise in the publishing journey? “Writing is a solitary thing. But once you get published you have to go talk to people… that was a big shock.”
Storey’s advice for aspiring writers? “Keep reading, support the library. If I can do something this big from Rangely, they can do it, too. You don’t have to be from a city. Writing can happen anywhere. You can write anywhere. Rangely is a great place to grow up and get out in the outdoors to be inspired. It inspired me.”
For links to purchase “Nothing Short of Dying,” or to learn more about Storey’s writing journey, visit his website at www.erikstoreybooks.com.