Washougal author pens first novel

Jordan Fitch discusses creation of his thriller-mystery, ‘The Cardinal Line’

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Jordan Fitch holds a copy of his debut novel, "The Cardinal Line," at his Washougal home in November 2023. (Doug Flanagan/Post-Record)

Jordan Fitch came to a potentially life-altering realization while reading a science fiction novel — “The Kaizu Preservation Society” by John Scalzi — during a flight in the fall of 2022.

“It was the only thing I had downloaded to my Kindle, so on the five- or six-hour plane flight, I read through most of it,” Fitch, a Washougal resident, explained. “I started to really pick into the craft as I was reading it … the storyline and the plot and the character development. I was like, ‘This is a best-seller, and it doesn’t seem like it’s that deep. I could do this.’ It was science fiction, but (had) a lot of hand-waving over the science. I’m like, ‘OK, I guess I can do that and write a book that’s commercially viable. What’s preventing me from writing something like this, or perhaps a little better?’”

As it turned out, there was nothing preventing Fitch from doing just that.

Fitch’s debut novel, “The Cardinal Line,” a thriller-mystery, was released Nov. 21, on Amazon in paperback and ebook formats.

“It feels great to have it out there,” Fitch said. “Holding the book, I was like, ‘I have something here. It’s not just words on the screen anymore.’ It was a big step, something to recognize what I’ve done to get to this point. I’m excited about it.”

Fitch grew up in rural New Hampshire on a family farm that dates back to the late 1700s. After graduating from high school, he served in the United States Marine Corps before moving to New York’s Hudson Valley in 2007. He obtained an electrical engineering degree from the State University of New York-New Paltz, then accepted a position with a pharmaceutical distribution company.

After receiving a promotion, he moved to Washougal with his wife and two children in 2023.

“We’ve only been here a few months at this point, but we’re loving it,” Fitch said. “We do lots of outdoor stuff — mountain biking, hiking, backpacking. And we’re getting more into the watersports now because they’re a big part of the culture out here.”

But despite his busy lifestyle, Fitch never gave up on his dream of writing a book.

“I think it’s always something I’ve wanted to do,” he said. “I’ve read from a young age, and I’ve always enjoyed novels. I grew up reading a lot of Stephen King and things like that. I started and gave up on a few novels in high school … I’ve done some short stories and some blogs off and on, that didn’t really go anywhere. But I’ve always really enjoyed creative writing classes and things like that, and I’ve read a lot.”

Fitch began writing “The Cardinal Line” in August 2022, and finished about seven months later, right before he began preparing to move across the country.

“Writing a book is one of the most challenging things you can do,” Fitch said. “There are so many decisions, and it takes so much energy. When the muse is talking and you kind of get into that flow state, you could knock out a bunch of words in a row, but that’s usually not the case. The amount of time that it took was certainly surprising, and you never know how someone else is going to receive it, so there’s just constant doubt as part of the process.”

The plot of “The Cardinal Sin” revolves around a man and a woman who discover they share a “unique genetic ability,” according to Fitch.

On his website he details his novel as: “A mysterious trait spans generations. Modern science may have an answer, but uncovering its origins will shatter everything. Arin embarks on what begins as a quaint research trip to explore her family’s past, but her efforts quickly attract unwanted attention. As she and Dane discover their shared history and dig for elusive answers, the forces of past generations rip their reality apart and threaten their freedom, their identity, and even their lives.”

Fitch said that the novel focuses on a scientific theory called epigenetic inheritance, which he read about in an article several years ago.

“It’s not really proven … (but the theory is) that genes can affect offspring and that changes in genes can affect people. It’s not just the hard-coded DNA — the epigenome can induce effects in offspring down generations. I thought that was a cool concept to work with. It’s not a concept that’s really been studied very much, so there’s not a lot out there, which is good for me as an author. It gives more leeway to kind of speculate and push the scientifically-plausible boundaries a bit.”

Fitch self-published his book with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, an ebook publishing platform that allows authors to market their books to millions of potential readers.

“I shopped out my manuscript to a few traditional publishers, so that timing kind of worked out where I could wait for the rejection letters to come in while I was dealing with the move and not have to focus on the book at that time,” he said. “The only responses I got were rejection letters, which is what I expected. I know it’s a lightning-strike chance for an unknown debut author to get picked up by a traditional publishing house, so I wasn’t too turned away by that.”

Fitch is taking some time to enjoy the release of his first book, but also starting to think about his second novel.

“I’ve had the idea around for a little bit,” he said. “It’ll be kind of similar in genre, but an entirely different story.”

For more information about Fitch or “The Cardinal Line,” visit