If you like to pore over the Gazette on Fridays or look forward to The Notebook on Saturday mornings, you already know him. The signature essays. The quirky musings of a father and husband. The tributes to some person you wish you’d known too — at least the way he did.

But you don’t really know Bill Eville.

That’s because there’s always more to know — even for those who know him well. At 58, the recently-named Gazette editor, prize-winning writer, veteran teacher, fiercely-competitive athlete with a heart as big as the room around him is full of surprises.

In fact his own life has been unconventional and full of surprises. In his newly-released debut book Washed Ashore (published by Godine in Boston), Bill’s many readers and fans will find themselves tugged along in a story that is at once familiar and new.

“That was the hope anyway when I thought about writing it,” he said, perched on a stool in the kitchen of his comfortably-cluttered home in West Tisbury on a rainy Sunday, the last day of April.

“Parenting is such a string of moments — small, medium and large, and which ones mean something? I lived through it again by writing about it,” he said.

On the porch with Artichoke. — Jeanna Shepard

Crafted from 10 years of essays written for the Gazette, at its heart the book is a memoir about fatherhood. Gracefully written, alternately funny and poignant, it’s full of the people Bill holds close in his life, including his wife Cathlin Baker, who is the minister at the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, his son Hardy, and daughter, nicknamed Pickle.

But at the outset it wasn’t clear there would even be a book.

“I sort of knew there was good material,” he recalled, speaking about his essays. “And then I looked at it and tried to write it as a full piece. And it was pretty bad.” So he tried a different tack.

“I said okay, I’m going to lay out my essays from end to end. So I kind of went back, [and] it was a cool experience. I realized, I’m not going to do it better than that . . . and then it was like, oh, wait a minute. It can be a collection of essays.”

Godine bought the manuscript in 2021. Next Friday, the Gazette will host a book launch party from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the newspaper office in Edgartown.

He didn’t always know he wanted to be a writer.

“That wasn’t it,” he said. “I was a huge reader. I spent so much time every summer at the little Oak Bluffs library, which was four doors down from my grandparents’ house. It was like heaven.”

A childhood passion for reading eventually led to writing. But that was many years later — after college at Princeton, after his first job as a banker, which he disliked and left. He was in his 20s, living in New York City and had gone to work at a nonprofit. One day he heard his boss talking about a writing course he was taking.

“I never even knew there were writing courses,” he recalled. “He said there’s this place called The Writers Studio. It’s great. So I signed up. It was down in the West Village; they held the classes in this grammar school.”

He learned to write fiction. “I was hooked,” he said. “It was just so much fun. So freeing. And that’s when it started.”

There were more career changes. After a stint in Thailand teaching through a Princeton program, he spent his 30s working in the film industry in New York City.

“I kept starting over at the bottom,” he laughed. “I don’t recommend it.”

But he was still taking writing classes and had begun teaching writing too. “I had surrounded myself with writing,” he said. “And that’s when I finally decided I had to go all in.”

At 39, he enrolled in an MFA program at Florida State University. By then he and Cathlin were married. They moved to Tallahassee, Fla. where Hardy was born.

Throughout, he said Cathlin was his guidepost.

“Definitely, being with her, seeing how she lived her life, her faith that you walk forward, and it will work out,” he said.

In 2008 Cathlin was called to the ministry in West Tisbury and they moved to the Island permanently. It was a return to the place Bill’s ancestors on his mother’s side, the Hardings, called home. The first Hardings arrived on the Vineyard in the 1700s.

Bill has a strict writing routine. Every morning before the rest of the family is awake, he goes down into the basement that is his writing office, lights two candles and drinks coffee. Then he writes.

He said the discipline can be traced to his many years as a wrestler in high school and college. Wrestling is a key theme in the book.

He frets a little at times about the essays that didn’t make it into the book, and how it will be received.

“I’m curious to know if people will see the characters throughout — if it really does feel like you met this guy when his kids were young, and you say goodbye to him when his oldest leaves for college,” he said. “That’s what I’d love.”

But he doesn’t dwell on it. He’s already begun writing another book in his early-morning basement, this time a work of fiction.

Besides, he’s busy.

In February, Bill was named editor of the Gazette after 13 years at the newspaper.

“I’m still settling in,” he said. “And maybe I’ll always feel like I’m settling in. But I feel so lucky, so grateful for being able to continue this legacy. And to write stories about this place and the people in it and to help the next generation of writers.”

He continues to teach, coaching high school students for their college essays, and of course mentoring young reporters.

“There are two places where I feel most fully myself: writing and teaching,” he said.

“And I think I even feel more fully myself when I’m teaching because I’m in a community. So then the remarkable thing — I go to work at the Gazette, and I don’t really know what I’m getting into, I think I’m just getting into writing, but then it’s teaching writing. It’s like I’ve been training for this my entire life and didn’t even realize it.”

Sunday noon approached. Rain streaked the windows. Inside and out, Bill’s subjects were all around him: the chickens scratching in the back yard, Artichoke the dog snoozing on the couch. Cathlin and Pickle were off at church, Hardy away at his freshman year of college.

There’s a literary line in the book: Proust had his madeleines, Bill has his Island.

“To me that is directly connected to the Gazette,” he said. “I’ve read the Gazette since I could read, on my grandparents’ porch. And then to work for the Gazette — you have to be aware of the entire Island, its history, its people. And for me to know that I’m walking on the place my ancestors walked, and I’m walking on the place my own self as a child walked — there are memories around every corner.”

The public is invited to a book release party at the Gazette on May 12 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.