What influenced you to want to become an author? Curiosity. I’ve always enjoyed writing and even took a creative writing class at BYU once, but I had never considered writing a novel. Then one morning a couple of years ago I woke up with three characters in my head and I thought, “That would be a cool book. I wonder if I could do it.” So I started writing as an experiment because I was curious to see if I could write a novel and Defensive Tactics was the result.
In “Defensive Tactics” you talk a lot about the FBI. Do you have any work-related experience with the FBI, or did you have to do any research?
I’m a boring banker so I can relate to Paul’s work in the FBI with financial analysis but that’s it. Wait…I also researched endless hours, watching X-Files, Numbers and thousands of other TV shows throughout my life. Does that count?
Are characters or elements of characters ever inspired by people you know? Is this a good idea?
My wife says she can see a little bit of me in all of my characters but I did not model any character after people I know. My characters are amalgams of characteristics and personalities. I think it’s dangerous to link fictional characters too closely to real people as offense could be taken. Besides, I want to give my character room to breath and grow without chaining him/her to someone I know.
What plans do you have for your writing future? Are there other genres you would like to write in?
Right now I am in the most frustrating part of the writing process—looking for a publisher/agent. I recently finished a youth Fantasy/Adventure called Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island. I think the story is a lot of fun, but now I’ve got to convince a publisher.
I’m also working on a second episode with some of the same characters from Defensive Tactics.
What was the hardest part for you of completing a novel?
I’m usually a huge planner. I create checklists and write goals but with Defensive Tactics I just figured out the plot and characters as I went, hoping that things would work out in the end. It was actually a great experience to see how characters come alive and direct the events and outcome of the story. But the hardest part is the patience that is required. Writing…editing…editing…editing…shopping for a publisher…waiting…rejection…resubmit…waiting…waiting…editing…waiting…editing…waiting…then finally it is released and then publicize…publicize…publicize and hope for the best.
What’s the nicest compliment you have ever received about your writing?
A couple of my siblings read the book and were amazed, “Wow, that was like a real book.” They know I’m not much of a reader so they were shocked that I could write. “Yes, it is like a real book.”
How do you combat discouragement when working on such a large project?
Fine, I’ll answer. I keep the discouragement, criticism and rejection in perspective. I know that some people won’t like my book. I expect that I will experience failure and I consider any success as a gift. If I can internalize these truths, I will be fine and the rejections and criticisms will motivate me to keep trying. I’m confident in who I am and recognize that my value as a person is not tied to my success in writing.
If you could meet any other author, living or dead, who would it be?
Honestly I don’t read much, therefore I don’t really have a favorite. Reading has always been a challenge for me because I read so slowly but I’m thrilled others can pick up my reading slack.
But if I could meet 1 author I think I would choose Hitler so I could smack him around a bit.
Is there anything you would like to say to your adoring fans?
Absolutely—Defensive Tactics makes a great Christmas gift. Its shameless I know, but true. Honestly, I am thrilled that people read my book and enjoy it. It is an amazing feeling. Thank you!
Thanks Steve! You can visit Steve online at http://stevewestover.com/Home.html. My book review of Defensive Tactics will be posted in a few days.