Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Giveaway and Interview: James A. West, author of The God King

About the Author:
When James was thirteen years old he read The Talisman, by Stephen King, and a seed of an idea was planted that someday he, too, wanted to create different worlds and realities. After a stint in the US Army, a year as a long-haul truck driver, and a couple as a log home builder, he enrolled at the University of Montana. There, he majored in Psychology and, by chance, took a creative writing course that allowed him to revisit that idea of writing. Words started to flow, and worlds were born. After college, he started a small woodworking business with the express purpose of using it to fund his writing journey. James lives in Montana with his wife and his bodyguard, a Mini-Schnauzer named Jonesy.

My Tower of Books: I am excited to have the author of The God King, James West here on my blog today! I'm only about halfway through his book right now (review to come, of course), but I can already tell you it's amazing. He is a great writer, and I will be looking for more of his books in the future.
Moving on :-) James has been so kind as to answer a few questions. So, here we go!
First off, how many story ideas do you have bouncing around in your head right now?
James West: Let me start by saying that I am extremely grateful to you for setting up this interview, and that your questions are awesome!

Now, as for number of story ideas in my head, the short answer is too many. For as long as I can remember, “what if” ideas just pop into my head without any conscious effort. When I begin a new project, I have to force myself to disregard most ideas, which keeps my writing from jumping
all over the place. When a given project is done, I let the ideas flow again. Luckily, they always do. I guess you could say I listen to the voices inside my head!
My Tower of Books: What sort of things inspire you? Music, nature, reading, life in general?
James West: Life, historical or present, is my go-to motivation. One thing I have learned through studying history and observing present life is that humanity, given enough time, always seems to come back around to the same kind of actions. The technology might change, but our motivations really don’t seem to. Music is an interesting choice, as well, because I use it as both a tool and inspiration. It allows me to capture a given mood, which I then transfer to my writing.

MToB: Is Fantasy the genre you read most often? What are you reading right now?
James: While I predominately write fantasy, I rarely read it. When I first started writing in earnest—and I suppose it probably holds true even now—one bit of advice was to read the genre in which you wrote. In following that, I felt that my creativity was stifled, and I inevitably ended up with a variation on a theme.

As to what I am reading now, suffice it to say with the advent of the eReader, I have started reading genres I never would have considered before. While I still enjoy a lot of my favorite bestsellers, I really like indie authors, because in them I feel that the reader has a better chance of being exposed to unique perspectives.
MToB: When did you realize that writing was not just something you wanted to do, but something you were good at?
James: That is a tough one. The short answer is when I took a creative writing class in college. To me I was just a face in the crowd, but then my wife, who specializes in a completely different field, told me about a work-study student in her lab who literally freaked out when he found out she was married to me. Apparently he was extremely excited by just about everything I wrote. Now, having said that, I have never considered myself a good writer, only adequate. That is as high as I will ever consider myself, because after I finish a story, I still see all the warts and blemishes, and I know where I failed to put into words what I saw in my head and felt in my heart. Besides that, if I doubt my skill, then it forces me to strive to do better the next time. If I ever get to where I think I am a great writer, I am pretty sure that will be when my writing goes downhill.
MToB: Are you an outlining kind of author? Or do you just go with the flow?
James: I would say it is a mixed bag. I usually do a rough outline, with the bullet points serving as guideposts. This may sound clich├ęd, but for me the story always ends up taking over. Past experience has taught me to keep a light but steady hand on the reins. If I give the story its head, it will gallop off, and those separate bullet points have the potential of becoming stories all by themselves. If I am too firm, my writing loses vitality, color, becomes formulaic.
MToB: What can somebody expect when they read your book, The God King?
James: When I started this project, I was looking into the dark ages which, I discovered, tends to be dark in the sense that there is little known about them. Simply put, when a dark age falls, survival becomes key, trumping all else—when you need food and shelter, there is little time or effort spent chronicling day to day experiences.
In The God King, the end of the world starts unfolding from the outset, when a power never meant for mortal hands is unleashed upon the world of men. In this, you could actually consider The God King a prequel. My intention is to let the effects of this power, coupled with human motivations and the need to survive another day, flavor everything else that I write in this world.
With all that said, I don’t know about expectations, but I definitely hope readers discover a new, gripping, and fast-paced fantasy realm. Naturally there are fantasy elements in The God King, but I purposefully veered away from elves, dwarves, wizards, and unlikely/reluctant heroes that save the day at the last possible moment. Neither is my novel set in mediaeval Europe, but rather moves between vast swamps and expansive deserts, all of which are being torn apart by celestial and terrestrial forces. Without question, The God King sets up a world falling into darkness, but in that gloom there is and always will be points of light and hope.
MToB: Do you have fun writing the villains in your stories?
James: I try not to, but I really do.
MToB: What are your hobbies, besides writing?
James: I like studying history, because it gives me an idea where we are going. I know it has been said before, but there is nothing new under the sun, and history really does repeat itself. Depending on where a given society is at the moment, and of course your personal outlook, that can be scary or exciting. As for traditional hobbies, I have lived the majority of my life in a rural setting, so I enjoy all the usual outdoorsy stuff. My wife and I like to fly-fish together, and we like to take Jonesy, our Mini-Schnauzer, with us. He is so funny. He likes to dig up the spiders that hide under the rocks on the river bank. I also have a woodshop, from which I used to make my
living. I have since decided that it serves me better as a hobby, rather than a business. My wife likes it because she gets a houseful of furniture for free!
MToB: James, thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions!
To connect with James A. West check him out on his
Now for the Giveaway!

James West has been so gracious and has given me ten (TEN) eBook copies of The God King to give away to my wonderful readers! I can vouch that this is a great find and will make a lovely addition to your digital library.

The Rules:

This is an easy one! The first 10 people to comment on this post will receive a copy of The God King in the eBook format of their choice. Don't forget to leave your e-mail address in your comment. See, very simple :-)

Alright, comment away, everyone!


Stephanie Perryman said...

This sounds like a very interesting book! I like your interview questions and James seems like a really nice guy! I would love the eBook for my Kindle. :)

Malvina Beatrice said...

Wonderful,I would like to read this book (kindle).
thank you & Happy Holidays.


Jessi E. (The Elliott Review) said...

I'm excited about this book based on what you've told me! Also, great interview! :)

jlelliott08 at gmail dot com

Janiera said...

Great interview! I would really like a copy of this book. I would love a Kindle copy.
prettyhaydengurl at yahoo dot com

roro said...

Great interview! I would really like a copy of this book. I would love a Kindle copy.


Kate said...

Nice interview! I read your review and it sounds like an interesting book. I'd love a Kindle copy!