Stab me with money
There’s a horror writer you need to know about. If you read books in the horror genre, chances are you’ve heard of him. Maybe while browsing your favorite horror convention, you’ve walked past him. His name is Terry M. West. He’s been in the business for decades, and there is no question once you read one of his books, you’ll be hooked.
West’s titles have a consistent rating between 4 and 5 stars on his Amazon author page, but don’t let that be your only advice. His library of work is touted in blurbs by American horror novel writer and Bram Stoker Award winner Lucy Taylor, and hordes of horror sources like Digital Macabre, Diabolique Magazine, Geekdom of Gore, and Creepercast among others. Author Charie D. LaMarr called him, “a master of the genre and a true wordsmith.” She may have offered the most accurate descriptor.
Terry West made a deal with the Devil. Either that, or he took the masters writing course in Hell. He’s easy to read because his words flow like blood from a jugular. His composition is crafted with a precision only available to writers with experience. West has made his mistakes, and now it seems like every short story, novella, novel, and series he creates becomes his new masterpiece.
I scheduled an interview with him to get to know what’s in his head besides the typical gray matter we all share. Allotting an hour, I expected to overstay my welcome. Instead, we chatted for three hours, needing to reschedule for the follow-up two-hour conversation. We talked about monsters, nostalgic and contemporary; we talked about writing schedules, refinement, and editing; but mostly we talked about the myriad books he’s written! West is a well-oiled machine who produces work so effortlessly, you’d expect a dud along the way. It’s just not the case. His story-telling is so addictive that he had one reader pan a book of his, only to read another, and another, and another before he found one he liked. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t like something, I move on. Terry West is the jalapeño popper of horror writers. Consumption is delicious, but it burns. The only way to make the burning stop is to continue eating them until you’ve passed out or exploded.
Something I never mentioned in the review for Terry West’s The Devil’s List is that he toyed with the story for years before finalizing and publishing it. “I never existed until four or five years ago,” he told me, referring to the time, effort, and persistence it takes to become a known author. West is so full of thoughts, you’d expect him to drop ideas that teased him in his younger life. Instead, he stays true to his roots, and gives life to his early work by passing it through his experience filter, and making stories that hold you in a death grip. His forthcoming book, The Plumbers, was an idea he had when he was nineteen years old. With well over a hundred listings on his Amazon Author page, you might guess his age. I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you, and he would have to kill me.
Imagine what the zombie apocalypse would be like in the early days as experienced and told by maintenance people. Terry comes from a family of plumbers, and this was a teenage West’s idea. Due out later this year, I expect The Plumbers will be another opus, a stock that keeps rising.
West unapologetically self-publishes, and you’ll appreciate him for that. He has a bevy of respectable beta readers who help hone his manuscripts. He designs all his own covers, and does most of his own promotions. His wife, Regina, gives him real-time critique that he can respect because she doesn’t pull punches or shallowly approve of everything he puts to paper. He knows who’s reading his work better than anyone, and getting messy with a publisher who might not hit the pavement to promote his efforts the way he can would mean less content. From his Gate 4 series, to his Car Nex demon series, to his Night Things series, you’ll find compelling tales that pay homage to the great influences and classic monsters.
Something West does well is research. These stories don’t come from thin air without an understanding of the environment, characters, and era. In Servant of the Red Quill, he’s in 1920’s New York, while in The Devil’s List, he’s in 1985 Texas with inspiration from actual events. His forthcoming release takes place in an alternate reality 1980s England. Expect a comedic combination of era correct slang mixed with a bit of West’s trademark fictional vernacular. His dialogue is so believable and natural, you’ll wonder if his muse is getting kickbacks.
• Creative influences: George Romero and Rod Serling.
• Favorite book YOU’VE written: Servant of the Red Quill
• Favorite book EVER: I am Legend by Richard Matheson
• Favorite Horror or Monster Movie: Night of the Living Dead
• Favorite Geek Movie: Repo Man
• Favorite Monster of all time: Frankenstein’s Monster
You can find Terry’s work in audiobook form or hard copy if you prefer the tactile reading experience. Contact him directly through terrymwest.com for a signed copy of the book you want. You can also follow his work at his goodreads author page.
Stab me with money