This week I am interviewing David J. West, the author of Heroes of the Fallen, published by WiDo Publishing. David's first book signing will be at Borders in Murray Utah, from 6-8.
K: David, thanks for being here, and by here, I mean in the ancient woods of North America. I figured you would feel most comfortable here. Do you like the shade of the towering pines? Or would you prefer the riverbank?
D: Thank you for inviting me Krista. I like both, the wind whispering through the pines and the river rushing out of the mountains. I love this country.
K: Me, too. Here, have some mosquito spray. I’m declaring it summer. Tell us a few things about yourself.
D: I love music and poetry so that contributes to my prose. I have traveled quite a bit and love to see new places. I enjoy sword-fighting with my kids—they are getting better every day, and if I am not writing I like to be reading.
K: I know you collect swords, but I'm guessing you use the duller ones when you fight with your kids. When did you start writing seriously?
D: I have always written, lots of fan-fiction type stories when I was a kid and then hundreds of poems/songs when I was a teen. I wanted to be a rock star. Once into my twenties I still always considered writing some big epic scoped stories but thought that would have to come when I was older. But some things had to come out and I started writing them sooner than planned. I came to the conclusion that I may as well work toward turning what I love to do into my career and getting published.
K: I don’t see any point in putting off what we are compelled to do if it can only add to the quality of this life. What is your favorite part of the writing process? What was a surprise?
D: Probably when a story has me so fully captured that I myself am enamored of where it is going and I as the writer can't wait to see what happens next. I don't outline, I do think about ideas beforehand and where some things are going but often enough I am surprised myself.
I used to think I didn't want to edit, just finish a project and move on to the next one—but now I really enjoy editing and going back and refining things.
K: It’s true, I think the more you see what editing can do for a piece you thought was “perfect” the more you can embrace it as, like you said, a refining, which is good for everybody. Oh look, a golden eagle.
I know you really enjoy your research, and you‘re already getting a reputation for your eye for realism. What is your inspiration?
D: So many things, what I've done or wanted to do, things friends have done or things I have overheard. You never know where you will pick up a great little nugget for your work. I twist a lot of things I have personally done to fit into ancient times. Wild reckless youth can make for great inspiration when it comes to action adventure stories.
K: Ha ha, now we know even more about you. Your first novel, Heroes of the Fallen, is coming out soon. I hear it’s epic. It’s already in my shopping cart at Amazon. The reviewers have been raving! Tell us about the story.
D: I wanted to write something I wanted to read. I don't believe anyone has ever presented an epic Ancient American story the way I have, lots of sword swinging action, sinister intrigues, barbarism versus civilization, a little romance that has unexpected twists, and personal faith as a catalyst for multiple character viewpoints and motivations.
The story explores the events of the beginning of the end of a once great civilization—the Heroes of that Fallen nation. Of course I can't leave out the villains; they can be the most fun to write—they make things happen more than heroes do.
K: Stories would be pretty blah without them. What is your favorite part about Heroes?
D: Being able to share with other people how I view the world and ancient history, exposing my thoughts and opinions through fiction in an entertaining way. Writers should have something to say and I am a big mouth.
K: I agree. I mean, about having something to say. When I was writing Remnant, also a Book of Mormon spec, I felt a tremendous responsibility I hadn’t felt in my modern fiction. Did you experience anything like that?
D: Not at first, when I started this series in early 2004, I just wanted to do heroic fiction within this somewhat familiar setting. But then I wanted to understand the geography better, the plants, the rivers, the animals, the food, the people, the belief structures etc. Granted some things I take license with but in general I stuck with what I think could be possible or even likely. I have become rather opinionated on the subject and have had to stick to my guns on that.
K: Which is why I asked you to read through Remnant for me! It shows in your writing. Are you currently working on something new?
D: I just finished a novel about a Spartan warrior set during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (lots of Greeks were mercenaries back then) it is titled Bless the Child. I am working on some revisions for the sequel to Heroes, Blood of Our Fathers, it will be released a year from now. I also have several short fantasy stories I have sold to some smaller publishing house for collected tales. But the big thing my Mother won't stop pestering me for, is to finish my Porter Rockwell novel—Dance the Ghost with Me. I'm shooting to finish that this year too.
K: Ah, the blessed pestering mother. Speaking of pestering, hand me some more bug spray.
(With a swish of a blade, David silences the bothersome hum of the mosquito.) Umm, where and when can we find your book?
D: My first book signing will be at the Borders in Murray, Utah 6-8 the The book should be available everywhere.
K: Everywhere. I like the sound of that. We met through our friend M. Gray’s blog. Has blogging and social networking (Twitter, Facebook) influenced you as a new author?
D: It has because networking has helped me with craft and I have made a lot of friends who have been a great help too. There was a time I labored with the writer’s arrogant desperation that no matter how great everything I wrote was—no one else would like it. The networking has shown me that there are quite a few who do like it. It's how I found WiDo, my publishers, after all.
K: Any advice for aspiring authors?
D: Write what you have a passion for, no one can write your story the same way you can. Always remember to write down your ideas in a little notebook for use later—you think you will remember them all, but you won't. Always use the sensory details and know your characters better than they do—You are their supreme being. Write a story that pulls you, the writer, along so strongly that it will have to pull all of your readers too.
K: Final question: If you could be a character in any book, who would you be?
D: The main character in Hour of the Dragon by
K: That looks right up your alley. David the Barbarian. Thank you for joining me in these magnificent surroundings. You’ve been a most gracious rogue.
D: Thank you, Krista for having me. Plus, though I'm not finished with it, Remnant is great.
K: You're welcome! And there's more, because we're giving away a brand new beautiful hardcover signed copy of Heroes of the Fallen right here! Tell'em what they have to do, David.
D: Just leave a comment here on Krista's blog and share something you learned about Heroes from this link. For an extra entry, post a link to this interview on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook and come back and let us know.
K: And for another entry, become a follower here and at David's blog, Nephite Bood, Spartan Heart. The winner will be randomly selected on Monday, April 5th, at 8 a.m.
You can find David J. West here: