Name Paul W. West
Age Too old
Where are you from
Originally I’m from a small town in Northern California called Port Costa. I attended the small, 3-room, grammar school there until the ninth grade, when I went to the much larger high school (John Swett High School) in the neighbouring town of Crockett.
After graduation, I attended Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California until the Vietnam war made me enlist with the U.S. Air Force. I served in the AF for nearly 4 years and spent most of that time in Germany.
After discharge, I attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where I met and married my wife.
I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Range Science and a minor in Wildlife Biology. I worked in Oregon for a short time, but now we make Taylorsville, Utah. We have four children, two and two, and 14 grandchildren.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news is the birth of my 14th grandchild. We are very excited for that arrival.
Going back a little, my next most important news is the release of my novel, Bridgetown High, on October 6, 2015, published by Limitless Publishing.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Even as a youth, the rustic San Francisco Bay Area countryside, the quaint small town in which I grew up, and the colorful people who once lived in my home town, all teamed to fertilize my ever-churning mind with fictional stories that are yearning to be told.
From my earliest days in high school, my English teachers saw some raw writing ability in me, both for fiction and non-fiction, and urged me to pursue my dream of being a writer. In college, I had creative writing professors who also encouraged me to mold my ability into a talent.
I got serious about being published several years ago when the idea for Bridgetown High wouldn’t let me go. So, several years ago, I realized I could write during my lunch breaks and began penning some of the earliest scenes that did not become a part of my novel any longer. Over the years, I’ve kept up with my writing regimen of writing for a half-hour a day until I finally finished and published BridgeTown High.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That probably came a bit later when I formed a critique group called “The Writers’ Pen.” We had some great writers, some of whom went on to be published authors. Unfortunately the “Pen” has folded up, but I still went on to become a published author in spite of it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
As a youth I read Jack London’s novels and fell in love with literature. I also read his biography “Sailor on Horseback.” Since then, I have had story ideas swimming around in my head. Once I found a way to begin putting them down on paper, then in a word processor, I found the freedom I needed.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not sure what you mean by style. I think everyone has a distinct or specific style. If you mean genre, then I would say my “style,” or genre, would be young adult and historic fiction. But that doesn’t really describe my style either. I have a second book in the works, “GERTA!” that would be more targeted toward middle-grade, and a third one swimming around in my mind, “Johnny Sweeting’s Story” (until I can come up with a better title), that would be more for new adult readers. All of them are historical and set in my hometown.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
That’s a great question. I struggled with that for years, and frankly, I thought my publisher would change it anyway, but she didn’t. The title is representative of the setting for this novel.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That’s a hard question to answer. I don’t want people (potential readers) to think I’m being preachy. The story comes first. But, yes, if I had to admit to having a message, it would be revenge versus forgiveness. There are also messages about drinking and drugs, and jealousy versus love, bullying, etc.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
All of it. I write in a realistic style as much as I can. Everything from the internal thoughts of the characters, to the pain of being beat up by bullies. I learned some of that from reading Jack London’s novels. His style could be said to be “realistic” and I tried to be as realistic as possible.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No. I tried NOT to let that happen.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Like I said, Jack London was probably my first mentor. I could name off numerous other authors I’ve tried to emulate including John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Richard Paul Evans, Dean Hughes, James Mitchner, and many others.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a series called “Come to Zion,” by Dean Hughes
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Not really. Most new authors write fantasy or science fiction, or a combination of both. I’m not interested in those genres. I prefer realistic, historic, personal struggle type books. I did read and enjoyed “What I Saw and How I Lied,” by Judy Blundell.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m trying to find time to finish GERTA! But, before I can do that, I need to do the marketing necessary to make sure Bridgetown High sells.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
That’s easy. My critique group. The members of the “PEN” never gave up on me even though I figuratively threw Bridgetown High in the proverbial garbage can several times. I give great thanks to them for their support and help.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Maybe, once I retire from my current job.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
While nothing is perfect, I don’t think so. I’ve gone over so many times I can’t see making any more changes.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think I already answered that one.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s the preface of GERTA!
“She stood five-foot-eleven, had to be all of 450 pounds, and smelled worse than a sewer. Her dull beady eyes looked out from a mass of tangled, dishwater blonde hair. Her twisted and puffy face was pocked with oozing acne. “IT’S GERTA! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!” we’d all scream in our best blood-curdling cries whenever we saw her. Everyone knew she was cooties of the deadliest kind and we would probably die if she ever touched us. But I loved her.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes. It’s my passion, but I have a hard time making time for it.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I would say it’s a combination of the ones I mentioned above: Jack London, John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Richard Paul Evans, Dean Hughes, James Mitchner, and many others. I think what I appreciate about their writing is their true to life realism and the personal struggles of their characters.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No. I know my settings from memory or research.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher, “Limitless Publishing.”
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Being true to life. I want my books to be as realistic as possible. And, as I said before, I also have a hard time finding time to write.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot of how to craft a compelling story. There’s a lot that goes into making the plot lines track and making sure the incidents have some meaning that comes together in the end.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes. Get a good book on the craft of writing and/or novel writing. Read it thoroughly, then read it again. Next, join a good critique group. Once you have a first draft available, start talking it up on social media. Don’t get discouraged when you are rejected by agents. I must have gotten at least 200 agent rejections, but thanks to the help of a published author friend, I was accepted by her publisher almost immediately.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Writing is a passion. If you are passionate about your writing it doesn’t matter whether-or-not you get published. Writing alone is its own reward.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
“Call of the Wild” by Jack London, followed close by “White Fang,” then “Sailor on Horseback.”
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Seeing my children and grandchildren succeed.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would like to meet and why?
Other than Jesus Christ, I don’t have any special desires, though I’m sure there are many great men and women that I would like to meet if I could.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I’ve never thought of it. Probably nothing special other than when I was born and when I died.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any other hobbies?
I love family history research, gardening, travelling, and getting together with my family.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like a good WWII movie. I also love drama if it’s not over done. Even though the current TV shows are largely police, detective, etc., and are totally fake, I enjoy the personal dramas depicted anyway.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love almost any Italian dish. My favorite color is kelly green and apple red. My favorite music is between the 50’s and 60’ contemporary music, and some rock-n-roll, and 40’s big band and WWII music.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Raise a good family. I have 4 wonderful children and 14 wonderful grandchildren. They are my greatest desire and love.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?