Author Spotlight: Stuart R West
What inspired you to write the Tex Series?
A combination of things. In high school, I was bullied, completely miserable. The first book, Tex, the Witch Boy, was sorta' a belated attempt at exorcising my demons. Albeit in (I hope) an entertaining manner! But, more importantly, I wanted to send a clear message (without preaching) to today's teens, the bullied and the ones who feel "unimportant:" Hang in there. Bullies don't last. Persevere. And just get through the horrific halls of high school hell and you'll be surprised about how things get better. And believe you DO matter.
Okay, off my soap-box. (If I get on there again, just kick it out from beneath me, 'kay?) The following books in the series came out organically, following the characters' paths into adulthood. Plus it seemed natural to weave in current events. Quite remarkable how today's hot topics helped to propel the characters' arcs and plots: modern gangs, individualism, religion, bullying, gay issues, tolerance, social media, teen suicide...the list is endless. Teens have it tough. I remember only too well.
Finally, my daughter recently finished her tenure of duty at high school. From her--and meeting her friends, hearing her stories--the possibilities, colorful characters seemed endless
Are there any current plans for a 4th book?
Actually, I thought I'd completed Tex's tale, told the entire story (plus a spin-off book: Elspeth the Living Dead Girl). I took him through high school into maturation and a better understanding of himself and the complicated world around him. But. I like these characters. A lot. And they're calling to me. Currently, I'm tossing around the notion of a college-set tale. No promises. But during late nights of insomnia, I've been plotting. Oh, yes, I've been plotting.
Who is your favorite character for the entire series?
What a loaded question! Come on, guys...they're all my babies. Friggin' "Sophie's Choice" here. Okay...first of all, of course I love Tex. A lot of myself went into him (although, um, I'm not as brave). But I have to say, it's the female characters that truly carry the series. Weird, right? Olivia is the bonafide action hero. If you'll notice, most of the action is carried by the female characters, Tex sorta' taking a back seat of worry and fretting. Olivia's also a person I envy: comfortable in her own skin, knows exactly who she is at an early age, and isn't afraid to say what's on her mind. Which is a lot. Then there's Elspeth (introduced in Tex and the Gangs of Suburbia). She's definitely one of my faves. So much so, she earned her own book (along with her "twin" Elizabeth, who I really grew to like as well. Odd as that seems. She can be hard to take. But she grows.). Elspeth kicks major butt, takes no prisoners and is just flat-out cool. I won't give away the secret about her here. Read the books!
Finally, there's Mickey. Everyone loves Mickey, the abrasive, cranky, elderly, rude, fried chicken extortionist. Tex's witch mentor. And look out for her fast as lightning head slap maneuver. And, yeah, I love her, too.
They're all my favorite characters!
What is your favorite quote from the series?
Not sure I have a favorite quote, actually. I like Tex's voice quite a bit, though, and he has quite a few good, extremely HEAVY on the sarcastic insights throughout the series, I think. You know, the way teens are.
Anything new you are working on you care to share with your fans?
Currently, I have three adult thrillers out now as well. By the time this interview sees print, my newest book, Zombie Rapture, will be out. All of my books are hard to categorize, but I'd call this a darkly humorous zombie horror suspense thriller with satirical overtones. Teenagers are the main characters, but I'd probably categorize it as a "New Adult" book.
Dread and Breakfast, a darkly amusing horror thriller, is nearing completion. Then there's my historical ghost story epic, Ghosts of Gannaway. Demon with a Comb-Over will be out next year, a horror comedy about a stand-up comedian who ticks off a demon (um, with a comb-over. Duh). Right now I'm about a quarter of the way through my sequel to my serial killer thriller/comedy, The Secret Society of Like-Minded Individuals.
Hum. By looking at my output, I'm realizing I love the three "H's": humor, heart, horror. An unlikely combo, I know, but I'm danged determined to make them gel.
Where to buy:
Tex, The Witch Boy: AMAZON
Tex, And The Gangs of Suburbia: AMAZON
Tex, And The God Squad: AMAZON
ALL BOOKS ARE AVAILABE AT MUSEIT UP PUBLISHING
After working as a graphic and production artist for the last 23 years, the company for which I labored shuttered its doors in July of 2010, finally allowing me the time and mental energy to tackle something that I'm passionate about.
I’m the author of the adult thrillers, Godland, Neighborhood Watch, and The Secret Society of Like-Minded Individuals. For the young at heart and immature at mind (my kind of people), I’ve also written four YA paranormal thrillers, the Tex, the Witch Boy series, and a spin-off, Elspeth, the Living Dead Girl.
I'm married to a professor of pharmacy (who greatly appreciates that I now prepare dinner for her) and have a 22 year old daughter, who hasn’t yet decided what to do with her life. But that’s okay…it took me 25 years or longer.