Author Interview: Has Stuart R. West Presented One of the Most Original Takes on a Serial Killer Story? And what does Secret Society have to do with the West’s wife’s shopping?

I’ll take ‘Things I don’t know about authors for $200, Alex.”

Which author said: “I was in a “country-funk-alternative-comedy-improv” band. We actually achieved a bit of notoriety in Kansas City for our short shelf life. I took the stage in pajamas, ate cereal and kitty litter, wore a variety of hats, sung, and “tried” to play the saxophone”?

“Who is Stuart R. West!”

Secret Society cover2SR: What’s your new book/work in progress about?

SRW: Secret Society is about a nefarious shadow corporation that sponsors the activities of serial killers. And the serial killers are the good guys, particularly one accountant by day, killer by night, Leon Garber. Leon’s had a falling out with Like-Minded Individuals and is desperate to find out why. Not to mention continue living and avoiding the law.

SR: Was there a specific issue or incident that really motivated you to write this particular story? What was the prompt?

SRW: Actually, the idea came one day while I was camped out on the “Husband Bench.” Everyone knows the Husband Bench. It’s that place where significant others park their partners while they shop. So…there I was planted while my wife shopped. Bored. I started watching all of the other bored (mostly) men. And I started wondering…what would a young cocky man and a dapper middle-aged man (complete opposites) have to talk about on the fabled Husband Bench? That’s the opening chapter and from there a trilogy was born.

SR:  What conspiracy theory is your protagonist most likely to believe in? Roswell? JFK? Princess Diana? What about you? Any conspiracy theories that you think might have some truth to them?

SRW: As Leon is currently in the midst of a wide-ranging conspiracy involving notorious Big Business, I suspect (and although he’s usually pretty level headed for a serial killer) he’d now be open to any and all theories. Me? I want to believe in Bigfoot. He’s my tooth fairy.

SR:  Is your protagonist more likely to go insane or end up in prison?

SRW: I think if Leon ended up in prison (highly likely given his penchant for his line of “work”), he’d end up insane.

SR: What’s your protagonist’s greatest fear? Why?

SRW: Getting close to someone. It doesn’t end well for them.

SR:  If hell was watching one movie over and over and over again, or listening to one song over and over again, what would the movie or song be for you? For your protagonist?

SRW: For me (and please don’t hurl tomatoes, folks, I know it’s a minority opinion), it’d have to be Titanic. When I saw it in the theatre, I couldn’t wait for the ship to sink. Undoubtedly, Leon would be stuck in some kind of rap hell, more of a jazz and blues guy.

SR:  What’s the best thing about writing?

SRW: The pleasure of typing “The End.”

SR:  What’s the worst thing about writing?

SRW: Fear of a blank page.

SR: What detail in your writing do you obsess over the most? Character names? Locations? Description? Dialogue? Research?

SRW: I tend not to obsess. I like winging it. Only once did I do a lot of research for a book (a historical horror tale) and I’ll never do it again.

SR: Are you drawn to things that are really popular or wary of them? Do you find it helps you to market your work if you’re familiar with what’s currently selling or do you ignore all of that and focus on what you’re interested in?

SRW: I stay away from popular things. If I’m not interested in writing my tale, how in the world can I expect readers to latch onto it?

SR: Do you relate more to Sherlock Holmes or Professor Moriarty? Why?

SRW: Moriarty, of course. All my life I’ve been fascinated with the bad guys, particularly ones who are humanized and sketched out. In my mind, a tale’s only as good as the villain.

SR: What’s your personal life motto?

SRW: “Crap, I’m outta beer!”

We also talk to Stuart about his book, Ghosts of Gannaway, and his faithful four-legged author assistant.

_MG_0556 - Version 2Stuart R. West is a lifelong resident of Kansas, which he considers both a curse and a blessing. It’s a curse because…well, it’s Kansas. But it’s great because…well, it’s Kansas. Lots of cool, strange and creepy things happen in the Midwest, and Stuart takes advantage of them in his books. Call it “Kansas Noir.” Stuart writes thrillers, horror and mysteries usually tinged with humor, both for adult and young adult audiences.

If you’re still reading this, you may as well head on over to Stuart’s blog at: