Stuart R. West – Author Interview

I recently read Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley by Stuart R. West and reached out to get an interview.

You can find my review of the collection of stories on Goodreads as well as Amazon

Now on to some intrusive author questions!


I know it’s nosy, but I just love seeing where people do their art. Can you describe your writing space for us, Stuart?

Hey, Cheryl, thanks for letting me stink up the joint. Well…I used to write in a very comfy recliner in front of a bay window. Very pleasant, relaxing and inspiring. Now, my daughter’s moved back into the house. That’s not a problem. But she brought two dogs with her. That’s a problem. She describes them as “shredders,” a very apt description. They’ve never met anything they don’t like to rend. So, I have to now sit on them 24-7. What little writing I’m getting done these days is in the fenced off room with the ferocious furry terrorists. Here…look…

 

 

What does your writing process look like? Do you listen to music? Have a special mug? Do you do three chair swivels before starting?

Nothing special. As a matter of fact, plotting’s always the biggest chore (that and revisions. Ugh). Suffering from insomnia as I do, I work out my plot points in a sorta pseudo-half-conscious state at three in the morning, hence some of the craziness in my work. I like to back my characters into a corner and see how they work their way out of it.

Coffee, tea or something else?

Caffeine’s my friend! I tried beer, but the writing ended up like this: “Sally walked up the stairs, hatchet in hand. Hand on the knob, she twisted it and ppppppppppppppppppppppp,kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkknnnnnnnnnn…” It goes on a while like that. And I woke up with a keyboard imprint on my cheek.

Favorite font?

I refuse to answer this question because I don’t want to be called anti-fontist.

Now that the standard questions are out of the way, you have a lot of published works under your belt—how did you get started?

I got burned out in the corporate world. This horrible company I worked for for the last 27 years or so folded due to mis-management. I couldn’t stand to face another 20 years or whatever in a similar situation. My loving wife said, “what do you want to do?” I thought about it, remembered my life-long dream of writing, and ta-dahhhhhhhh! (Unfortunately, there’s a bittersweet ending. Due to economics, I have to go back to a “real” job. Dunno what I’ll do. But I’d rather drive an ice cream truck than enter another soul-stealing office job.)

I recently had the pleasure of reading Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley and am so excited to toss a few questions your way. This collection of scary stories covered so many genres of horror! Do you have a personal favorite yourself? Creature features, monster stories, psychological thrillers…

I don’t think I have a favorite. Just love horror. Love all facets of it and have since I was a child. I consider the golden years of horror films the schlock from the 60’s to mid-80’s. I’ve seen ‘em all. My wife just doesn’t get it.

Along those same lines, were any of your own fears reflected in these stories? The dentist story, for example, really gave me the heebie jeebies despite there being SO MANY scary monsters in the other stories, because it was something that makes me, personally, so uncomfortable.

Oh, yeah, a lot of my fears are in this book. First of all, this book was written after the last recent American presidential election. I was pissed off and scared at how divided and angry the country had become. I think this book represents a microcosm of what the attitude of America is right now with characters displaying ugly traits and stuck in awful situations. So, yes, overall the state of the world terrifies me right now. More specifically, things underground terrify me (“The Underdwellers.”). Just being in a dark, terrifying, grotesque, underground environment where you don’t know what’s around the corner is absolutely nightmarish to me. Nature (more specifically weird bugs) creep me out. I mean, everyone knows sticks shouldn’t walk, right? Anyway, this is reflected in “Bagworms.” Racism is a concern (“Husk”). Lots of other phobias to be uncovered, but, hey, go read the book folks!

A lot of your stories have a twist of humor to them. Is that something you would consider a signature of your writing style or was it particular to this collection?

No. Sigh. Good or bad, most of my 21 novels have humor in them. Frankly, I wasn’t even aware of it until my wife pointed it out to me. She said, “All of your books have comical elements.” Oddly enough, my wife finds me painfully unfunny most of the time. SO, yeah, I guess it’s my style.

With Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley being a collection, I have to ask, did you have a favorite piece and why?

Probably the closing novella, “The Underdwellers.” It’s not particularly a signature piece of my style or content, but it’s one of the most intense, frightening things I’ve written in my (un)humble opinion. So says my wife again, my harshest critic. It scares me and I like how it turned out (not always the case).

And last, what are you working on now? Tell us about what you have coming out next or anything else you want to put a little extra focus on. And thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.

I’ve nearly completed my next novel, “Corporate Wolf.” It’s a horror novel with a lot of dark humor and satire based on my ghastly years in the corporate sector. Oh, and it’s about a werewolf. I’m having a lotta fun writing it (until I got into the revisions, a writer’s enemy!).

Hey, thanks for having me here, Cheryl.

Readers, check me out at:

*Stuart R. West’s brand-spanking new website!

*Amazon author page.

*Stuart R. West’s (totally inconsequential) blog: Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley

*And the rest (like on Gilligan’s Island): Facebook, Twitter

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Escaping Exile with Sara Dobie Bauer

Sara Dobie Bauer is one of my favorite romance writers and we’re all in luck because her novella, Escaping Exile, is available now! The first in a trilogy, Escaping Exile introduces us to a vampire trapped on an island for his crimes where the last thing he expects to find is the love of his very long life.

I can’t recommend Sara Dobie Bauer’s work enough! Her characters are deep and complicated, making their love stories the same.

My review is available on Goodreads and below is my interview with the author, all the links you might need, and an excerpt from Escaping Exile!

 

I started off this interview by nosily asking for a picture of Sara Dobie Bauer’s work space and a description because I can’t be the only one that loves to see where people write. Can I? No. No? No!

I overlook King Street in Small Town Ohio, so I’m basically like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window watching and judging all my neighbors, although I haven’t witnessed a murder yet. Passerby probably think I’m the neighborhood maniac; people who’ve met me know I’m the neighborhood maniac.

What does your writing process look like? Do you listen to music? Have a special cup?

It’s a lot of me typing, deleting, and staring at walls. Honestly, as a full time writer, my entire life is just weird. I wake up at seven and start work at eight. The morning is reserved for creative endeavors—either the novel I’m currently writing or maybe a short story or editing. The afternoons are for marketing work and journalism. I work in utter silence. The only sound is me talking to my dogs. I have three special coffee cups, and they’re all huge. One is of the Harry Potter Marauder’s Map; the other is Jack Skellington’s huge head; and the third says “Resting Witch Face.”

Coffee, tea or something else?

Coffee with honey. I wish I was one of those writers who could artfully sip whiskey while writing, but I have to be stone sober.

If you were stranded on an island and could only choose one book to have with you, which one would it be?

No fair! I protest this question! If I could have my Kindle and miraculously plug into a wireless network, I would be quite content on Archive of Our Own. I’ve been reading so much Call Me By Your Name fan fiction lately because I want the movie to have a happy ending—and its doesn’t, okay? If I had to choose a single book … nope, I can’t. Something by Rainbow Rowell or KJ Charles or!!! What about the entire Harry Potter series? I might be able to live with that.

How long do you think you’d survive being shipwrecked?

Is there rum? If there’s rum, I could last awhile. Are Andrew and Edmund there? If I could watch them have sex (and hopefully join), I could last a lot longer.

This isn’t the first of your books I’ve read, and I can’t help but notice a certain toothy theme. What do you think draws you to vampires? When did the bloody love affair start?

The bloody love affair started when I read Interview with the Vampire in sixth grade. Probably a bit young for that, but … anyway. Vampires are usually beautiful, charming, ageless, sexually fluid, and a bit androgynous. (I love androgyny.) I can get down on all those things. There’s also something super erotic about being bitten. TMI?

 

About the author:

Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is author of the paranormal rom-com Bite Somebody series, among other sexy things. Learn more at http://SaraDobieBauer.com.

(Photo by Steph Gentry)

About Escaping Exile:

Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.

Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream—but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.

As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?

Links:

Amazon

NineStar Press

Goodreads

Escaping Exile excerpt:

I barely notice the falling of night, but here we are in the dark again. My fingers have mapped almost every inch of him by now as his bruises continue to spread. I’ve just about resigned myself to never hearing him sigh when he gasps awake.

He sits up and sucks air into his lungs as if he’s spent the past two days drowning. I keep my hands on his shoulders and see that his eyes are light—some shade of gray or bright blue like the sea.

“You’re all right,” I say.

“Bollocks,” he gasps. Then he chokes, and I hurry to get him water from the large rain bucket outside. He gulps down a cup before wiping the back of his hand over his mouth and staring up at me. “Where…” His eyes glaze over. “The ship!” He tosses the blankets back and stands with no concern for his nudity. I’m there to catch him when he almost falls over.

“You need to sit.” I push him back down to the edge of my bed and sit in the chair nearby.

He winces and bends forward. “Christ, I hurt everywhere. I…” He squeezes his eyes shut.

I now know not only the color of those eyes but also the sound of his voice: velvet with a touch of smoke. I want to hear that voice calling my name. Also, he’s English, which truly does make me wonder where the hell Michelle found this ridiculous island for my exile. Where in God’s name are we? My sailor will probably be just as confused as I when he realizes I’m American, but he seems too confused by other things at the moment to care.

“Where am I?”

I want to laugh but don’t. “Your ship crashed on the reef last night. I found you on the beach.”

“I was on deck,” he says without looking at me. “Mapping the stars.” His tongue pokes out to lick his lips. “There was a noise, and then… My head, I think…” He reaches for his forehead, but I grab his wrist to stop him.

“Don’t. You have an open wound.”

“Oh. That would explain the hammering in my skull. The rest of the crew?”

I shake my head. “I didn’t find anyone else.”

He covers his face with his hands and says with vehemence, “Fuck.”

The word from his mouth makes me smile. I’ve always found the British to be a charming, self-deprecating people, but of their propriety, I have been less than enthused. My sailor seems on the more colorful spectrum. And his comfort with nudity is a welcome relief. If I had my way, the man would never wear clothes.

He lifts his head. “We must go to the beach.”

“It’s not a good idea.”

“Why not? I might be able to find—” He shrugs. “—anything.”

“I fear the natives might be too fond of you.”

He groans. “Not cannibals again!”

 

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