Jon Sealy is the author of The Whiskey Baron and The Edge of America. A South Carolina native, he is a freelance writer in Richmond, Virginia, and the publisher of Haywire Books.
Jon Sealy is the author of The Whiskey Baron (Hub City Press, 2014) and The Edge of America (Haywire Books, 2019). An upstate South Carolina native, he has a degree in English from the College of Charleston and an MFA in fiction writing from Purdue University. His short fiction has appeared in The Normal School, PANK, and The Sun, among other venues, and his nonfiction has appeared in The Rumpus, The Millions, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He currently is a freelance writer and the publisher of Haywire Books. He lives with his family in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.
Jon Sealy grew up in Six Mile, South Carolina, a small town in what is known as the upstate’s “dark corner” for its history of isolation and lawlessness in the Appalachian Blue Ridge. He has a degree in English from the College of Charleston and an MFA in fiction writing from Purdue University.
After finishing school, he followed a girlfriend to Richmond, Virginia, where he briefly worked as an adjunct composition instructor and a salesman for Circuit City. When the economy collapsed in 2008, he lost both of those jobs, so he set out to understand the mortgage and financial crisis and what was happening in the country. His research led him down two parallel paths: the Great Depression and the Savings & Loan Crisis.
His first novel, The Whiskey Baron, is set in a Depression era textile mill town and tells the story of a bootlegger’s crumbling whiskey empire after a double murder in front of his tavern. The novel explores both the hardscrabble mill culture of Jon’s ancestors and the uneasy tension between free markets and the law. Hub City Press published the novel in 2014 to high acclaim.
His second novel, The Edge of America, explores the go-go financial culture of South Florida in 1984. A businessman with CIA ties gets involved in an ill-advised money-laundering scheme that goes south when his daughter steals $3 million out of a safe in his house. In addition to being a gripping thriller, the novel is a meditation on the decentralized nature of the American economy and the burgeoning Orwellian surveillance state.
In Jon’s relatively short career, the publishing business has changed dramatically, with disruptions coming from the supply chain, the tech companies, and the media and entertainment industries. “Midlist” authors—authors who have published a debut book but who are not (yet) household names—have been hit the hardest by these changes, and many have found themselves without a publisher.
To help fill a gap in the market, Jon founded Haywire Books as a small publisher dedicated to making sense of a chaotic world. The Edge of America was the first title in the catalog (Sept. 2019), followed by a 20th anniversary edition of Patricia Henley’s Hummingbird House (Nov. 2019), Mark Powell’s Firebird (Jan. 2020), and Heather Bell Adams’s The Good Luck Stone (July 2020).
Today, Jon lives with his family in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia. In addition to being a novelist and publisher of Haywire Books, he is a freelance editor, writer, and communications consultant.