Fiction Fest gets the low-down on ‘A Nothing Named Silas’ author, Steve Westover (Q&A)

steve westoverWe love it when our authors submit themselves to the Fiction Fest Q&A hot seat, it’s always interesting to get to know the people behind the books.

Such was the case with “A Nothing Named Silas” author, Steve Westover, who is currently working on a sequel to this dystopian YA novel, which was released on Sept. 10, 2013, and is available in bookstores and from online retailers.

On to the interview:

How did you come up with “A Nothing Named Silas”? 

My wife and I were on an anniversary road trip and we were discussing a controversial story in the news. An infant had survived an abortion and the doctors were not permitted to save the baby’s life. Even though the child had been born, the parents’ initial desire for the baby to be aborted trumped the child’s right to live. Doctors were not permitted to give care to save the baby. It was an appalling story and gave me the idea about what a government could do if a child is born without any rights. Could the child be sentenced to death? Yes. Could the child be enslaved? Why not? What if children were born without rights as a class of slaves? What if the leadership came up with a way to hide the truth of these people under domed shields that could camouflage their very existence? And what if one of these slaves learned about who he was and where he came from and decided to escape the control of the Shields?

That is the essence of “A Nothing Named Silas.”

What’s your current work in progress? 

I’m currently working on the sequel to “A Nothing Named Silas.” I’m intending this to be a series of three books. I’m also working on Book 3 of my Crater Lake youth adventure series.

What’s the most challenging aspect of being a published author?

The thing I’m finding most challenging is keeping up with the books I want/need to write. Since I still work full time it can be challenging to find the time to work on these projects. Particularly when these books are part of a series and they need to come out pretty quickly. It’s all about finding the balance and the time.

What’s the most joy writing has brought to you?  A Nothing Named Silas_2x3

It’s always rewarding to hear from a reader who enjoys one of my books. Getting an email through my website or reading reviews can be a lot of fun. My novels are exciting, action packed reads some may consider to be “popcorn” reads, so when someone tells me they also learned a valuable life lesson, I find that very rewarding.

Who had the biggest influence on your writing style? 

Sadly, I don’t read much. I never have. I hated reading as a child, teen and young adult. Now as a slightly older adult I would say I enjoy reading but I don’t do it much. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s lack of patience because I read so dreadfully slow. I read at one speed whether reading out loud or silently. That speed is SLOW. I have good reading comprehension, I’m just slow. slow. slow. I do listen to a lot of books on CD since I commute for work.

What is your day job and how does it lend itself to your writing? 

I’m a bank manager by trade. It doesn’t really lend itself to my writing and depending on the hours I’m working it can be challenging to have the energy to write after a 14-hour day. This year has been particularly challenging and I haven’t been able to accomplish as much with my writing as I would like. Working in banking does aid me in one significant way. It’s boring. That drives me to find creative outlets in other areas, like my writing.

E-reader or hard copy and why? 

Books on CD. Again, I’m such a slow reader its painful, but I do drive quite a bit so audio books work great for me. I look forward to having my books on CD some day.

What is “must-see” TV in the Westover home? 

There is a lot of must see TV at my house. It’s good wind down, thoughtless time. I love good stories, especially ones that can fit into a one-hour show. I love shows like “Bones,” “Castle,” “The Walking Dead,” “Person of Interest” and even “Duck Dynasty.”

What about your life now would most surprise your high school buddies? 

I was always terrible in math and now I work in banking. I never read anything except for Cliffs Notes, but now I write novels. Pretty weird, really.

If you could have a writing/publishing “do over,” what would it be? 

This seems like a dangerous question but I’ll answer it anyway. First, if I could start over I think I would be more patient. My publisher has been very good for me but after I had my first book published at age 35, I set a goal to have my fifth novel published before I turn 40. I didn’t have any manuscripts sitting around in a pipeline. I was starting from scratch. My fifth novel, “Silas,” was published two weeks after I turned 39. It’s great that I published five books so quickly and have sequels in the works, but I was so eager to do it I don’t think I negotiated very well or was patient enough. For example, it may have been wise to finish my Crater Lake series before beginning my Silas series. I’d love to get my books onto CD and maybe that could have happened if I had been more patient. Maybe not.