1. Do you write a single genre or do your fingers flow over the keys creating tales in many forms?
Does your reading choices reflect your writing choices?
Are there genres you wouldn’t attempt?
Janet, I do like to vary genres up, making things interesting for myself, and I hope, the readers. The first book I wrote was a YA supernatural, mystery, comedy dealing with bullying. Since then, I've written suspense, thrillers and horror. Even children's books! My first book with BWL is a historical ghost tale, Ghosts of Gannaway. My upcoming book is Killers Incorporated, a clowder of cats and mouth suspense thriller with a dark streak of humor coursing through its veins. In the future, I'm chomping at the bit to write a romantic comedy set in the near future (nothing too sci-fi, though...I don't know enough about science!).
As far as genres I wouldn't take on? Don't think I'd tackle erotica (not that there's anything wrong with that!). I just don't think I have enough writer in me to constantly come up with different ways to describe sex!
2. Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which are your favorite to write?
Definitely villains. Everyone knows what to expect out of heroes and heroines, a comfy knowledge in you're eventually going to get what you signed up for: heroism. But I find villains fascinating, particularly when they don't necessarily think of themselves as villains. It's fun to try and get into their heads, make them human.
3. Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?
Story usually comes first. Then I start thinking about characters to drop into the mix. Once I get both set, boom, the book practically takes off on it's own. In Ghosts of Gannaway, there're two heroes: Dennis, a troubled, recovering alcoholic environmental scientist in 1969 (his redemption arc was a blast to write, even if harrowing at times); and Tommy, a mine foreman in the '30's looking after his men, hoping to unionize. Captain America, pretty much, everyone's idea of a true hero.
Where'd I find them? They found me, Janet! Plus the novel's based on true, sad events that took place in Picher, Oklahoma, a ghost town devastated by corruption, pollution and greed. Someone like Tommy Donnelly had to balance it out.
4. Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?
Okay, my heroine of Ghosts of Gannaway? Claire Donnelly, Tommy's wife. One of the most fun characters--and strongest heroes--in the book. I consider her one of the first feminists. She'll do anything to protect her husband, her family, a true lion. At one point, the mine's warning buzzer goes off, heard across town. Bucking the odds, she barrels through all the men at the mine, hops in a bucket and gets lowered into the mine, seeing if her husband's fine. Back then, a woman'd never set foot in a mine, let alone a (gasp!) red-headed woman (considered bad luck back in the day).
5. Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human?
Kyle Gannaway, the bad guy in Ghosts of Gannaway, considers himself a hero. In many ways he is; he created the town of Gannaway, single-handedly responsible for the mining boom taking place there, supplying the greater percentage of jobs. It's just his methods of "taking care" of his town sometimes leave a lot to be desired. He'll kill, if necessary, for the "good of his town."
6. What are you working on now?
Killers Incorporated. It's a thriller about a corporation that funds serial killers. My "hero", Leon, is a killer who only takes out abusers. He has his reasons. But the company, Like-Minded Individuals, has put a target on his back. And he doesn't know why.
Yeah, I know, right? Crazy premise, a challenge, but a lot of fun to write (even given the dark subject matter). Hope readers will find it fun as well. I always try and incorporate some humor in my books, mostly through character.
7. How can people find you?
Just holler and I'll be over to anyone's house for dinner and an extended stay-over.
No, how about my blog: http://stuartrwest.blogspot.com/
My twitter account: @StuartRWest
And my books are all over the place. Start with my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Stuart-R.-West/e/B00B419X5C/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1