Monday, April 26, 2010

A Chat with C.J. West

I'm delighted to have C.J. West here today for a brief interview. Welcome, C.J. Let's get started.
Your Randy Black Series is unconventional. Why did you choose to evolve Randy Black as a character?

When I wrote Sin &Vengeance, I wasn’t planning a series. It wasn’t until readers started telling me they wanted to kill Randy that I decided to write A Demon Awaits. I was really surprised by the strong reactions to Randy. I felt for him as a character and I wanted people to understand why he did the things he did. Most readers reacted strongly to the way he took revenge during Sin &Vengeance. I think that was primarily because Randy is a brilliant guy and when he took his revenge the way he did, I think it was eerily real to readers.

Did you feel writing A Demon Awaits from Randy’s perspective was a risk?

Absolutely. It was a risk and a challenge. I wanted to change people’s feelings about Randy and help them understand what I saw in him. It was also a risk because it requires readers to start with Sin & Vengeance and then move on to A Demon Awaits to really understand the story line. If they didn’t buy Randy as a sympathetic character, the series was shot for them. The great thing for me is that readers who really hated Randy after Sin &Vengeance came back to tell me how they warmed to him after A Demon Awaits.

How does Gretchen Greene fit? Will Randy continue to grow?

Gretchen Greene is the first of a series of adventures Randy will undertake on the run. The plan for the next several books is for Randy to continue his quest for redemption by finding souls in trouble and helping them. Gretchen Greene is a former ecoterrorist that has stolen a breakthrough solar technology and is running for her life. She desperately needs Randy’s help, but the two of them can’t agree on anything. It makes for some fun interchanges on their way across country. The next several books will occur in a short span of time. Randy will continue to grow, but much more slowly. My goal is for readers to be able to enjoy any of the remaining books whether they’ve read others in the series or not.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

Randy is on a journey to redeem himself, so that is a constant theme. I think all good fiction addresses a serious issue. For me the issues change from book to book. I also think that the tone of my books varies with the subject matter and the characters. Many readers have told me that my books are very different from one another and I really take pride in that. My latest book centers on environmental activism and asks where we should draw the line between protecting the environment and restricting people’s freedom.

What are your current projects?

I have just released Gretchen Greene, my latest Randy Black novel and my entire backlist on Kindle. I have a new standalone thriller, The End of Marking Time coming this summer. I also have a film adaptation of Sin &Vengeance currently in the fundraising stage with an independent film production company. The website for the film is

Wow! Congratulations on all the success!
Where can folks learn more about your books and events C.J?

I’m on tour right now and this year I’m hosting a series of events that promise to teach readers everything Randy Black does in my novels. I’m hosting a high performance driving demonstration, a firearms class, a winery tour, a newsroom tour and many Texas Hold ‘em lessons. I’ll be appearing throughout New England. Readers can find my books and my tour schedule at

C.J., I know how busy you are. Thanks for dropping by. We'll be expecting more great books and events from you.


CJ West said...

Thanks for having me today, Susan. I enjoyed our time together.


Susan Whitfield said...

My pleasure, CJ.