Monday, September 6, 2010

Interview with Adventure Author David J. West

David West is an Award winning writer, family man, sword collector, and rogue of all trades. He enjoys writing historical action-adventure and fantasy. He collects swords, truths, and other artifacts of bygone eras. He claims to be "the father of three barbaric children and the husband of a wonderful woman.”

Heroes of the Fallen: “An epic tale of valor and degeneracy where heroes are beset on every side by wicked schemers whose plots, like a flood, threaten to drown them all.” —Daron D. Fraley

Stand alongside daring heroes with swords bared against sinister villains, never knowing which will fall. Witness the plans of mighty kings and lowly thieves. See the dreams of Bethia, a prophet's daughter, as she runs away from home seeking independence, only to find confusion and wickedness in a land at war. Heroes of the Fallen is full of tragedy and triumph on the American Continent. It echoes universal themes of mankind: fear and courage, faith versus doubt, hunger for power and love, and sacrifice for the greater good.

Hello David. Well… this is my first time to interview a “rogue of all trades.” Tell us about your new book, Heroes of the Fallen.

Heroes of the Fallen came from me wanting to write an action-packed adventure story set in an ancient American setting. I wanted to merge a number of cultural LDS things with the fantasy stories I like and the tale grew in the telling. What at first was going to be a "buddy adventure yarn" grew as I became engrossed in the world and kept wanting to tell more of what came to me. I think of it as an epic rather than a swashbuckling tale now. It is the first in a series, the sequel Blood of Our Fathers is due out next April.

Oh my gosh! This novel sounds so intriguing. Where did you get your inspiration for your novel? Do you ever include real life experiences?

I have always loved telling stories and I love fantasy (Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, King Arthur) and history… the older the better. So pondering some LDS historical events I thought- "How come no one has ever told that story before?" That story being the bones of an eight-foot tall man named Zelph. That became the bones for my first adventure story, which I will be working into book 3 of this series. Things got a little out of order when I started figuring out how big it would be.

I take a lot of things from real life. My adventures as a boy scout, camping trips, rumbles, and I have been to 75% of the places I imagine the novel took place at, so I know the territory…usually. I do throw in a few dramatic (imaginary) changes. For an example of real life inspiration, when I was 11, I got into a knife fight with another kid who was from Chicago. (We were in my small hometown in Montana, the sticks out toward Custer Battlefield. I think this was commonplace for him-not me.) I took that experience almost exactly and transferred it to a main character's memory of growing up in the city of Zarahemla. What happened? Heh. Read the book.

Now you’ve really got my interest. Bruce H. Porter wrote, “David J. West has created a story line filled with excitement, archaeology, treasure and real history.” I love stories about treasure and archaeology. It’s one of my favorite subjects, as you can tell with my new mystery series. So tell me your thoughts about this review. He said, “This is a must-read not only for entertainment but also to open new doors and vistas of possibility for the mind.”

I met Prof. Porter about 4 years ago. He is an Egyptologist and was very close to Hugh Nibley, another reason I enjoyed talking with him. I was hammering out the rough drafts for Heroes of the Fallen back then and he was the kind of man I easily remembered years later. I was, after all, using a lot of Hugh Nibley's books for research.

Turned out that in late 2009, Porter published a book entitled Prophecies & Promises, and we both spoke at a Book of Mormon conference in October and I gave him an ARC of Heroes to hopefully give me a back-cover endorsement. He kindly agreed and I received that quote a month or so later.

Wow! That’s impressive that you were able to get an endorsement from an Egyptologist. What does your family think about your writing?

They are fans and very proud, especially my wife and 3 kids. The extended family is very excited as well. My 10 year old niece recently read the book and is now probably reading a horrible first draft of book 2 that was at my mothers. My mom is especially getting after me to finish my award winning first chapter of a Porter Rockwell yarn ~ Dance the Ghost with Me. (LDStorymakers first chapter contest 2009 gen fiction) I do need to finish it. I have too many starts to projects and not enough ends.

Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Besides being a pre-teen knife fighter? I read to my kids everyday and they delight in tales of monsters and spiders and other creepy crawlies. I have a library of over five thousand books and I look forward to the day that they will be as excited about that as I am.

Wow! 5,000 books?! Now that’s what I call a voracious reader. With a knife in one hand and a pen in the other, we have David J. West: The Rogue Of All Trades.


Charles Gramlich said...

Great interview. Rogue of all Trades. I like that. Wish I'd thought of it. I've got around that number of books in my house as well, though I haven't counted them all.

Don't enter me in the drawing however, since I already have a copy of David's book.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

What a fun interview! My 8-year-old son would love it that you're a sword collector, David. The book sounds awesome. I look forward to reading it and the sequels that follow. :-)

barbjan10 said...

Not usually a fan of swashbuckling pirate stories, David's book lends appeal to my reading appetite because I have an interest in Egyptology and the research required to lend to the writer's imagination. The knife fight as a youngster would have led to much traumatic thinking about the "what if's" of the situation. I have changed my mind about this adventurous kind of story and would like to read David's book. Thank you for offering it for giveaway. I appreciate the chance to win...hope I do.

Shring Christ's Love,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Sounds like you have a lot of experiences to pull from! Holy catfish--a knife fight at 11? You are definitely an adventure man ;) Congrats on your endorsement as well. Your book sounds like a remarkable adventure. Great interview!

Lisa said...

Wow, 5,000 books! And I'm guessing you've read most of them?

Congrats on all your success David. I can't wait to read your book.

blturner162 at yahoo dot com

David J. West said...

Thanks Linda for having me and everyones comments as well.

Moridin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book!

Lost_Star_99 (at) yahoo (dot) ca

Inspired Kathy said...

How awesome to have been close to Hugh Nibley!
bkhabel AT gmail DOT com
I Am A Reader, Not a Writer

Mozi Esme said...

I think my library is similar in size! :)

We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings:

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Serena C said...

This book sounds fascinating! I love books about ancient America. I look forward to reading this series.

Mr. Deadman said...

Sweet interview and awesome book collection.

apple blossom said...

Interesting interview. thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Aik said...

I'd love to enter!

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Okie said...

Great interview. Thanks for posting.

I'd love to be in the contest as well.

okelberry (dot) chris (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks. :)

LMM831 said...

Great interview and what an interesting book. I would love to be entered.

wmmahaney said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. I would love to be entered.

hendy said...

The books sounds fun, I'm sure his three kids enjoy having a dad with such a great imagination.

Anonymous said...

The first thing that drew my attention was David's sword collection and being a "rogue of all trades." I love rogues. This sounds like a fascinating book and I would like to read it. I love reading about B of M times and how the author brings the story to life. Thanks for sharing your talent with us.

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Thank you David, for the wonderful interview. It was fun getting to know you. I would love to read your book and all your future ones, too. Congratulations!

David J. West said...

Thanks again Linda, and now drumroll please....
the winner is Lisa!
Congrats, I'll be in touch with you for your book.

Lisa said...

Yeah! This is the first contest I've won, ever.

Thanks Linda. Thanks David.