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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One week until Detox in Letters!

 

Detox in Letters, the second book of the Crowns & Ash series, comes out in ONE WEEK!

I didn’t expect to be as excited, if not more excited, about the second book as I was about Vanity in Dust. I thought the newness, the sense of finally reaching that dream of publishing, had made the experience of my first book particularly sweet. Turns out, it might be the same for every book!

Where Vanity in Dust introduced this indulgent, magical world and all the characters–Detox in Letters really gave me the room to explore. I try to write what I want read and hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Detox in Letters was incredibly fun to write and I am so happy to share it.

Comes out September 18th!

Please take a second to add it to your Goodreads.

Available for pre-order on Amazon and World Weaver Press!

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Author Goals

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My firsts goals in writing were to finish my books and be published. I’ll never be done finishing books, because there’s always another one waiting to be written, but this year my first book was published.

So, what do the rest of my author goals look like at the moment?

See my book on a store shelf. I get excited whenever I see Vanity in Dust anywhere. I’m sure I’ll have a full on giggle fit when I see it on a store shelf.

Finish the Crowns & Ash series. I can’t wait to get to that ending! I have the second and third written and the fourth and fifth outlined.

Science Fiction! I want to publish a scifi series. Space ships, high tech adventure, pirates, maddening viruses and androids! I have the roughest rough draft of the first book waiting in line to be revised and I am so excited that I dream about it.

Fanfiction! It would be a real “achievement unlocked” moment for me if anyone was ever so interested and invested in one of my worlds that they would write a fanfic for it. And the stranger the better.

Write enough books that I can start doing hilarious dedications. I love funny dedications! But I have a list of people I want to sincerely dedicate books to that I should probably get through first.

Publish horror novels. I like writing scary books and would love to see some of those published too.

I’m sure there’s more but maybe that’s enough for right now. We’ll see how many more I come up with in another year.

-Cheryl

 

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Vanity in Dust release date

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We’re excited to announce that Cheryl Low’s debut fantasy novel, VANITY IN DUST, will be available in ebook and paperback August 8, 2017. VANITY IN DUST is the first in the Crowns & Ash series,  set in a decadent dark fantasy world of hedonism, addiction, and political intrigue.

About the Book

In the Realm there are whispers. Whispers that the city used to be a different place. That before the Queen ruled there was a sky beyond the clouds and a world beyond their streets.
 
Vaun Dray Fen never knew that world. Born a prince without a purpose in a Realm ruled by lavish indulgence, unrelenting greed, and vicious hierarchy, he never knew a time before the Queen’s dust drugged the city. Everything is poisoned to distract and dull the senses, even the tea and pastries. And yet, after more than a century, his own magic is beginning to wake. The beautiful veneer of the Realm is cracking. Those who would defy the Queen turn their eyes to Vaun, and the dust saturating the Realm.
 
From the carnivorous pixies in the shadows to the wolves in the streets, Vaun thought he knew all the dangers of his city. But when whispers of treason bring down the fury of the Queen, he’ll have to race to save the lives and souls of those he loves.

About the Author

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Cheryl Low might be an Evil Queen, sipping tea and peeping on everyone from high up in her posh tower—a job she got only after being fired from her gig as Wicked Witch for eating half the gingerbread house.

…Or she might be a relatively mundane human with a love for all things sugary and soap opera slaps.Find out by following her on social media @cherylwlow or check her webpage, cheryllow.com. The answer might surprise you! But it probably won’t.



We’ll be revealing the cover for VANITY IN DUST on May 10th. If you have a book-related blog, join our cover reveal team so you can see it before anyone else, and also have the chance to receive an advance review copy.

While you wait for the cover, please add VANITY IN DUST to your Goodreads shelf, and follow Cheryl Low on Twitter.

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