Monday, September 6, 2010
Interview with Adventure Author David J. West
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
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.