Lit Chick Corner talks with multi-genre author Raven West
Welcome to ‘The Lit Chick Corner’ (LCC), a weekly column dedicated to all those hardworking, and often unrewarded, authors who are promoting their work. So be it fiction or non-fiction, my aim is to introduce the public to some of the writing available outside the traditional publishing arena.
This week on LCC, I meet with Raven West, a California-based author of two novels: Red Wine for Breakfast and First Class Male.
“Red Wine for Breakfast is a behind the scenes exposé of Los Angeles radio,” West tells LCC. “While First Class Male is a romantic mystery set in the majestic mountains of upstate New York and involving a rural postmaster, a writer and a district attorney.”
LCC asks West to expand a little on the storyline of her novels. “In a business drowning in testosterone, Red Wine for Breakfast is the story of a strong, determined New Yorker who has to shake off the laid-back attitude of LA in order to overcome the challenges of an industry that threatens to turn her off and a man who only wants to turn her on,” West explains. “And First Class Maleisset amid the splendour of the Catskill Mountains and the majestic skyline of Manhattan. The story delivers an intricate tale of a small town postmaster who triumphs over a ruthless D.A., a mysterious adversary, an unsympathetic public and finally his own heart.”
West has been writing since childhood and has up to forty books that are journals she has written from as early as the ninth grade. She wrote her first poem in the first grade and in her high school yearbook she stated that she was going to have a book published. West has realised that ambition and is currently working on other novels.
But what inspired West to become a writer? She tells LCC: “I’ve always found that writing was my emotional release when I was going through difficult times. The inspiration for Red Wine for Breakfast came as a result of the death of my best friend, Mary Ellen Grable, in 1985. I started writing the book as a way of working through my grief. In 1993, while visiting her grave, I heard her voice as if she were standing right next to me say: "Finish the book;I want to be remembered." Six months later, the book was finished.”
West adds, “My second book actually started out as a short story; a 3,000-word assignment for a romance novel. I entered it into a contest and the publisher suggested that it would make a very good book. The 3,000 words grew to nearly 90,000 and The Postman’s Secret Passion, as the original work was entitled, became First Class Male.”
So what’s next for West? “I have several other novels in the pipeline and they all deal with a different subject matter. Bourbon for Brunch is about politics. Then, there is Daiquiris for Dinner, although I’m not yet sure where this one is going as it may become part of a series featuring some of my characters in earlier novels. I also have a reincarnation story called Vashti’s Daughter and finally, a modern-day biblical plot that could get me into a great deal of trouble with some fundamentalist religious groups.”
It’s obvious that West is a talented, multi-genre author with some great plotlines and LCC looks forward to hearing more about her work. West will soon appear as one of the featured authors in The Lit Chick Show, where she will talk more in-depth about her work. To find out more about Raven, visit her website.