C. J. West, Author of The End of Marking Time, Talks About His Latest Book Tour and His Plans For the Future

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who Wants to be a Hero?
Kickoff Event With Advanced Driving & Security
April 10, 2010
Your wife has never taken you to a book signing like this!

I would very much like to welcome C. J. West, author of The End of Marking Time as well as six other books to Emeraldfire's BookmarkI had the pleasure of emailing Mr. West several weeks ago because I wanted to interview him and he was kind enough to answer some questions from me about his recent plans for a previous book being brought to the Big Screen, his family, the plot of The End of Marking Time, his Who Wants to be a Hero? book tour and his potential future plans. Thank you for stopping by Emeraldfire's Bookmark, Mr. West, and I wish you all the best now and in the future! 

Meet C. J. West   

C. J. was raised in a tiny town in Massachusetts where his family has lived for four generations. When C. J. was a boy, the family had a variety of animals and boasted a poultry incubator large enough to hatch a chick for every resident of the town – all at one time. Although it was never a professional enterprise, the family continued to raise animals for many years and C. J. developed a love for the outdoors and wildlife. 

C. J. wrote his first book in 1979 while bored during school hours, but at that time writing was second to golf. C. J. practiced hard daily and eventually entertained hopes of playing professionally. In 1985 he chose Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMASS Dartmouth) over golf and studied Business Management which advanced his career in computer technology. 

C. J. spent twenty years helping companies solve computer networking and information management problems with firms including Arthur Andersen. In 1999, he began writing thrillers and several years later transitioned to writing fulltime. 

Sin and Vengeance, the first book in C. J.’s Randy Black Series, was optioned for film by a screenwriting firm in early 2008. The screenplay, written by Marla Cukor, is complete and in development with Beantown Productions, LLC. A Demon Awaits, the second book in the series offers a major twist in the storyline and challenges readers to forgive Randy Black’s mistakes and follow his journey in future novels. Gretchen Greene, the third Randy Black novel is the first in a series of characters Randy will be tasked with saving. C. J.’s latest standalone thriller, The End of Marking Time, was published in 2010.

C. J. hosts a Blog Talk Radio show called The Thriller-30 each month where he interviews contemporary thriller and suspense writers. C. J. embraces his fans with contests, promotions and innovative events. He has hosted firearms training, winery tours, an advanced driving course, visits to settings from his books, and he also writes, directs and acts in live murder mystery events throughout New England. If you're outside New England, you can usually find him at Bouchercon each fall. 

Synopsis of The End of Marking Time:

Michael O’Connor has spent years perfecting his craft. Unfortunately, his craft is breaking and entering. He’s so good, he can stand in a shadowy corner of your home and wait until you fall asleep before he begins bagging your valuables. With his skills it was unlikely he’d ever be caught, but one supremely unlucky day his credit card fence turned him in. Just when you think the world is safe from Michael, the supreme court rules long term incarceration is cruel and unusual punishment and releases 2,000,000 felons.

Criminals rampage on the outside. Citizens barricade themselves in. Police departments take extreme measures to end the crime spree. Corrections departments have a flood of new offenders, but no way to deal with them until Wendell Cummings develops reeducation. The system is a brutal violation of privacy and human rights, but citizens don’t care anymore. They want protection at any cost and the government has no choice but to give it to them. For the first time, felons fear the system. 

The End of Marking Time opens with Michael trapped in a hallway before a one-way mirror. He tells you his story because he believes you are his jury and if you press the green button, he will be given another chance. Michael doesn't understand what is happening to him because he was the last felon released. He was unconscious while reeducation was introduced and he doesn't believe he can be punished in a world without prison. The mystery of this book is not who Michael thinks you are, but who is sitting in the thirteen chairs behind the window and what fate they will choose for Michael. 

Coming to Amazon on May 22, 2010!

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: Did you have any say in casting or producing your book (Sin and Vengeance) for the Big Screen as well as writing it? 

C. J. West: Like most authors, I didn't have any say in casting once I signed my contract. Fortunately I did specify two cast members. I will be making a cameo and my daughter will appear in the movie as an extra. I'm not sure where we will appear, but I will post this to my Facebook fan page and my website when the movie is released. I was also fortunate to have a screenwriter who wanted my input. We talked many times on the phone and I read several iterations of the screenplay and provided feedback. Marla, the screenwriter for Sin and Vengeance the movie, attended a book group with me by phone to listen to what the members wanted to see in the movie. When the screenplay was nearly finished, we assembled a group of dedicated Sin and Vengeance fans and gave them the screenplay. They read it and then we got together. Marla listened in on a focus group discussion that lasted for hours. When we were done she had some great ideas to help her capture the essence of the book in her screenplay. I was amazed at how seriously everyone took the project. Several readers came with notes, one person had over ten pages of handwritten suggestions. 

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: Is your family involved with you as regards your writing, such as promoting your books at all? 

C. J. West: My family isn't officially involved in the company. My wife reads my books along with several other beta readers before they go to press. My mother is my best saleswoman by far. She loves talking about my work and uses my press clippings to sell lots of books around my hometown. She outsells every bookstore except Amazon. 

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: Are your two children interested in writing at all? 

C. J. West: I'm delighted that both of my children are avid readers. My youngest daughter thinks she wants to be a NYT Bestselling author. I haven't had the heart to tell her I don't think the New York Times will be around when she's old enough to write novels, but I do think she has the talent. For Mother's Day she wrote a poem shaped like a woman, with colored text that looked like a picture from a distance. She has amazing talent for her age. My oldest daughter shows her talent in songwriting. She writes lyrics that are far beyond her years and posts her work on Youtube. I'm very proud of them both. 

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: Where did the plot of The End of Marking Time come from? 

C. J. West: I had been thinking about the plot for The End of Marking Time for about 3 years before I began writing. Michael O'Connor is a gifted housebreaker. I knew I wanted to tell the story of how Michael got off track and the massive undertaking that would be required to repair his life, but I hadn't figured out how to tell it. The idea for a reeducation program came to me in a eureka moment. When I decided to have Michael tell the story directly to readers as if they were his jury, I knew I had a hit. I finished the first draft in six weeks (about 1/4 the time it normally takes me). The reaction from everyone who has touched the book since has been electric. 

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: Tell me all about the Who Wants to be a Hero? book tour, is it as exciting as it looks? 

C. J. West: Who Wants To Be A Hero? was another one of those eureka moments. I was planning my tour and trying to think of ways to make it fun when I realized that the things my character Randy Black does are very exciting. I decided to teach these things to readers one event at a time. The kickoff was an advanced driving class that my readers just could not believe. There is a video on my website (http://www.22wb.com/) of me being driven by professional driver Anthony Ricci. He takes me through the obstacle course at 40 mph - backwards! To bring excitement to bookstores, I'm giving Texas Hold 'em lessons. One store is even running a tournament where readers can play against me. I'm also hosting a winery tour, a newsroom tour, a firearms training day and a murder mystery night. All the events promise to be fun and this format allows readers to get to know me on a personal level. A side benefit is that I've enjoyed myself on this tour more than any other. 

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: How would you cast The End of Marking Time if it were optioned for a movie as well? 

C. J. West: If I had my choice for Michael O'Connor it would be Charlie from LOST. I think he really fits my image of Michael. I'd like to fit Kate, Claire, and Shannon in there somewhere too, but I won't be greedy. Thanks for having me Mareena. I welcome your readers to come and visit me on launch day (June 10th) or anytime at www.facebook.com/cjwestfans. 

May you read well and often