I just finished reading a fantastic novel and couldn’t wait to talk to the author.
Allow me to introduce you to Stuart R. West. He kindly agreed to pop over and say hello.
His new book is called Tex, The Witch Boy. It’s a YA Paranormal Thriller, but I think “dark comedy” should be added to that description. There are many laugh out loud moments. When I wasn’t laughing, I was sitting on the edge of my seat.
The heart of this story is bullying and you handled the topic brilliantly. I have to ask, how did you come up with the idea for your novel? Was it inspired by real life events?
Stuart: Hey, Tammy, thanks for letting me visit and blab about my book! You’re darn tootin’ it’s based on real events. Every one of the bullying incidents in the book happened to me or a friend of mine (but I’m not going to tell you when I was in high school!). And, sadly, bullying isn’t going away anytime soon. I thought if I could spread the word—give bullied teens hope that life gets better, and toss it into an entertaining package—well awesome! Um, of course the parts about witchcraft and a serial killer aren’t true! Oh, and I also set the tale in Kansas, a place I’m (unfortunately) very familiar with. Sigh. Write what you know, so I’ve heard.
Your characters were great. I enjoyed getting to know all of them. My personal favourite was Mickey.
Stuart: Mickey’s a fave of mine, too. She’s Tex’s witch mentor and she’s not your typical little, blue-haired, elderly lady! She expects Tex to pay for her wisdom by bringing her fried chicken. She loves her “Colonel.” Olivia, Tex’s close friend (and potential love interest, maybe?), is another favorite. She’s a scrappy, pseudo-punk gal with a mind of her own. All of these characters practically wrote themselves. When Olivia finds out she’s not a murder suspect, she blows a gasket. Thinks it’s sexist. That part wasn’t planned when I wrote it. She wrote it for me. The female characters are probably the strongest in the tale. Ain’t no damsels in distress here! You’ll notice I had Olivia handling most of the physical action in the book! And then there’s Tex—bright, awkward, unsure of himself and unable to hold his tongue at the worst of times—the way I like my high school protagonists! He’s no super-model, all-star quarterback (I kill off those guys!)!
When you were writing this book, were you a plotter or a fly-by the-seat-of-your pants-er?
Stuart: Tammy, I pantsed like the wind! Sure, I had some scenes set in my head…I knew how it’d end and who the killer was, but when the characters demand to tell their story, I get out of the way and channel them! Course since I’m channeling a teenage witch boy and feisty teen gal, I probably need to consult a psychic. Or a psychiatrist.
Can we look forward to more Tex and his friends in the future? Do you have a sequel in the works?
Stuart: Tex (and his surviving friends—cue ominous music) will be back. Tex, The Witch Boy is the first in a trilogy, the other two having already been written. Tex And The Gangs Of Suburbia is the second book and deals with suburban gangs and self-identity. Tex And The God Squad, the finale, is about religion, diversity and homosexuality. All three books are murder mysteries based on current social issues teens go through these days. Oh! And there’s a character I’m really jazzed about introduced in the second book. She threatened to hijack the entire series, so I had write a spin-off about her. Just had to. But more about her later. She’s sorta’ top-secret for now. Shhh.