Spotlight on Novelist CJ West
Over the past few years I have had the enormous pleasure of becoming friends with many great writers. People who share my love for the written word, and who are themselves producing some of the finest novels coming on the scene today, have not only included me in their circles but also are always willing to share of themselves so that their readers can get to know them better. One of the most popular to come along in recent memory is CJ West.
CJ and I became acquainted on My Space. I began reading his Randy Black novels, Sin and Vengeance, Taking Stock, etc, and I was hooked. Since then CJ and I have chatted a number of times and his books have continued to thrill fans with each successive release. Now taking a turn from his Black series, he has begun crafting new works of fiction that are broadening his fan base exponentially. CJ is always a pleasure to talk to and the warmth of his persona is undeniable. It’s undoubtedly one of the reasons his fans love him so much. Now readying a new novel for release, I couldn’t pass up the chance to interview CJ again.
CP: CJ, thanks for visiting with me again. It's been a while.
CJW: Too long. Thanks for having me back.
CP: You have a new book coming out soon.
CJW: I do. It's a little different from my past work, but aren't they all?
CP: Tell me about Addicted to Love.
CJW: You know that feeling you get when you meet someone new and they are all you can think about? Imagine a whole town where everyone feels that way all the time. Wes Holliday comes to town, falls in love with a hair stylist and struggles to understand how he is so captivated by this woman he just met. He begins to realize that there is something peculiar about Highland Falls. Before he can make sense of what is happening to him, he's enlisted to solve a bizarre series of murders that threaten the entire town.
CP: Is this a continuation of the series you began with Sin and Vengeance?
CJW: Nope. My last two books, The End of Marking Time and Addicted to Love are standalones that don't share any characters with my other books.
CP: Have you gotten any advanced buzz on new book yet?
CJW: The initial buzz is that everyone is really intrigued by the town and what is going on. My proofreader wrote to tell me she was so engrossed in the story she forgot she was supposed to be proofreading. That's a very good sign.
CP: Your work has been very popular in the last couple years. To what do you attribute the success you've found?
CJW: I don't do much advertising. I'm not available in bookstores and I'm not covered by any mainstream publications because I'm self-published, so ALL my success is thanks to readers who have discovered me through social media. I surveyed my readers recently to try and understand what they like about my books. More than anything they like the creative scenarios and twists in my stories. They expect to be surprised and intrigued by my work and that is the element of writing that I enjoy most. I think the best example of this was The End of Marking Time, which was a very thought-provoking book. I hope that readers feel the same way about Addicted to Love. I can't thank them enough for spreading the word the way they do!
CP: Have you another book in the works?
CJW: Five books actually. I have sketched out the framework of a five book series. Book one is almost plotted and I hope to deliver these five books within the next three years.
CP: What have you been doing in your "CJ" time lately?
CJW: This is a year of transition for me. I moved back to my hometown and I'm reconnecting with the people and places I grew up with. I've been fishing and hiking and planning for another move, hopefully by the end of this year.
CP: What are you reading?
CJW: I just finished a pre-pub manuscript called, The Sunder Breach, which is action-oriented and really creative. I started Shutter Island, which I've been meaning to read for about 3 years.
CP: How are you coping with the intense summer heat?
CJW: This heat is good prep for my planned move. I've been working outside landscaping on some of the hottest days this summer. So far, I lived.
CP: What advice or wisdom can you pass along here?
CJW: Even in the worst of times joy surrounds you. Seek it out.
CP: CJ, thanks for another great visit.
CJW: Always great to stop in. Thanks for having me!